Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: exercise

Heart Health

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Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, health authorities have been telling us that elderly people are most in danger from the virus. Mortality counts appear to bear that out. However, studies of the data are refining that message, showing that heart health is the critical factor in whether or not one survives an attack of the virus. To be sure, the elderly are far more likely to have heart problems, but younger people with heart problems are just as apt to succumb to the disease, and the elderly with healthy hearts are likely to be survivors.

The heart is just a pump, but when the health of that pump is impaired the cells of the whole body no longer receive sufficient oxygen to function effectively. In some cases the heart is weakened by genetic defects or by disease, but most commonly it is harmed by poor nutrition and lack of exercise.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us there is a close parallel in our spiritual life: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. No MRI will detect the heart spoken of here, yet the similarities between physical health and spiritual health are very striking.

  • Comfort food may taste good, but if that is all our diet consists of our health will suffer. We can subsist for years on familiar Bible stories and spiritual platitudes, but our health will go steadily downhill.
    For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
    And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (Luke 21:34)
  • Exercise is essential to our health
    But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
  • God supplies the “oxygen” to purify our hearts.
    Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:7-8)
  • A healthy heart can resist invasion by a virus, or temptation
    But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (1 Timothy 6:6-9)

Spring musings

Spring is coming, even here in the Great White North country.  Nothing is green yet, but there’s a lot less of the white stuff. No song birds yet, either, but our bird feeder isn’t emptying quite so quickly, which means the birds must be finding something  else now that the snow is receding.

Our cats have spring fever. They love these sunny days. So do we, the time from sunup to sundown is increasing at the rate of four minutes a day. That’s pretty much half an hour every week. I’ve been exercising on  my rebounder every day in the winter months; as the temperature climbs I will start going out more often for a walk.

I think I bought the last container of hand sanitizer in the town of Outlook  yesterday. Our small senior’s home needed more, but that was all I could find after visiting three stores. I’m sure there will be more on the shelves soon. Kudos for kijiji for refusing to carry any ads for COVID-19 supplies, in order not to be an enabler for those trying to profit from the current situation. (Kijiji is the major online classified service in Canada.)

Malls have been posting signs in their washrooms saying how many tons of paper are diverted from landfills by using blow driers. They may have to rethink that message. Hot air driers are great at blowing germs onto your hands. Paper towels are far more sanitary.

Our country may be more open to rethink globalism after this crisis. Maybe not everything needs to be manufactured in some far away place across the ocean. Having a local source would give us a little greater sense of security.

François Légault, Prime Minister of Quebec, is recording daily message for the people of Quebec. There is something reassuring about his calm demeanour; things are being taken care of and he is giving good advice about protecting each other, especially the aged and infirm.  Those people are the main reason all these restrictions are being put in place. Children and young people are not in much danger, but they should be concerned about the grandpas and grandmas.

Things to do to maintain a peaceful heart in a time of trouble

 

Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27 

  • Jesus is the source of our peace.
  • Speak with Him often,
  • Listen to what He says,
  • Read the Word of God,
  • Trust that He cares for us ,
  • Take all our cares to Him,
  • Leave them there.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you,
do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Matthew 5:44 

  • Those who are trying to profit from others fears are not happy people,
  • Pray for them.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 

  • Ignore negative comments about what others are doing.
  • Rejoice for every story of unselfish caring.
  • Keep in contact with family and friends.
  • Do our best to encourage others.
  • Pray for our governments,
  • Thank God for what they are doing.
  • Get some exercise, it is good for the mind as well as the body.
  • Take a walk in the fresh air.

I’m back

Thank you to all those who kept checking this blog over the past two weeks, looking for some sign of life. I did give some small signs that I was sill around, but not as much as I wished to do.

In the beginning I was bogged down with fiscal year end catch up work for my bookkeeping clients. Then I was hit by a cold and sinus ailment. It wasn’t so bad, but it seems that one loses enthusiasm for doing all he wants to do when breathing becomes even a little more difficult.

Image associéeI am feeling much better now and back to daily sessions on my Needak rebounder, identical to the one shown at the left. (But I don’t look quite like the gentleman in the photo.)

This is the best investment I have ever made in fitness equipment. I have been using it for two years now and my stamina has increased, my abdominal muscles have strengthened, my balance has improved and I have lost 24 pounds. I think that increased blood flow has had good effects on my thinking, too, but the evaluation of that may vary depending on whom you ask.

The photo is copyright, I hope Needak will forgive me for using it.

Meanwhile, Chris has been having her own headaches helping someone in England edit a manuscript and prepare it for for publication. I believe that she is almost to the point of having it ready to publish as a paperback and as an e-book on Amazon. But it’s been a long hard slog. She has learned a lot about publishing via kdp (Kindle Direct Publishing) and a whole lot more about all the corollaries to Murphy’s Law.

The book is a Christian allegory based on a dream this man had. We’ll let you know more when it is available (hopefully the beginning of next week).

Don’t take your vision for granted

I wasn’t seeing quite as clearly as I thought I should, but it was difficult to discern just what the problem was. My glasses, perhaps? At the end of last week, when part of a line of text would drop down on the line below, I knew what was happening. Macular degeneration had come again to my left eye.

I have received many treatments for this problem over the past 11 years. I had seen the eye specialist six weeks earlier and all was stable at that point, but now it was changing again. What happens is that tiny capillaries develop behind the macula, the central part of the retina, and cause it to bulge, distorting vision. T This can lead to permanent vision loss and  blindness. At least to the point where I would no longer been able to drive a car, read or use a computer.

I called Saskatoon Retina Consultants Monday morning and a day later I was there to have tests done once again, including a scan of the back of the eye. The doctor looked at the results and saw just the tiniest beginning of swelling. In a few minutes he had injected Lucentis into the eye and I was able to go home, with my wife doing the driving.

Lucentis acts to dry up those tiny capillaries, it has to be placed as close to the action as possible so as to be effective where it is needed and not to affect capillaries elsewhere in the body. Thus it is injected by needle directly into the eye. Sounds gruesome, but the doctor is smooth and quick and the eye feels no more effects by the next day.

This morning my vision was more distorted than it had been yesterday morning, but now by evening I can tell that the medicine is working, the swelling in the macula must be going down as lines of type stay more or less straight. By tomorrow I expect to be able to put in a day’s work of bookkeeping. I will need two more injections, at one month intervals, to maintain the effect. I have had 12 or 15 needles in each eye over the past years and they are the reason I am still able to function. It was eight years since the last episode in my left eye.

It’s wonderful that there is a treatment for macular degeneration. It would be better to avoid having it if possible. Here are some tips for doing that:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Include green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange fruit, fish and whole grains in your diet
  3. Don’t smoke.
  4. Check your blood pressure regularly, high blood pressure is a contributing factor.
  5. Exercise regularly.
  6. Don’t spend time in bright sunlight without sunglasses.

Good-bye Coke Zero, hello Dr Pepper.

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I read today in the online version of Le Point, a French newsmagazine, that yet another study has established a link between diet pop and increased belly fat along with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Apparently, pop with real sugar is better for your health.

I think I have discovered why I like Dr Pepper. They aren’t saying what 23 flavours are used to create its unique taste, but the consensus seems to be that amaretto is number one. Amaretto is derived from apricot pits, among other things, and has a taste somewhat like almond, yet different. My absolute favourite form of coffee is cappuccino with a shot of amaretto syrup, so I’m getting something akin to that in Dr Pepper.

Also in Le Point, I read that Robert Marchand just rode his bicycle around a velodrome for an hour, travelling a total of 22.5 km. Monsieur Marchand is 105 years old. When he was 81 he biked from Paris to Moscow.

I did 15 minutes on my rebounder today. I hope that counts for something.

Scrambled thoughts on a Monday morning

I woke up some time after 7:00 am and found I was alone in bed. I wondered how long that had been. Through the closed bedroom door I could hear the muffled sound of the washing machine. What was that about? I thought she did all the laundry on Saturday.

After stumbling around groggily for a few minutes, I made my way to the computer and chequed our bank account. Since this is the third last banking day of the month I expected to find that our pensions had been deposited, and yes, they were. I took the next few minutes to spend half the money on bill payments.

Then my wife explained the reason for using the washing machine. She had been washing last night’s dishes at the kitchen sink when she discovered water running out of the cabinet on to the floor. It took a lot of towels to sop up the water and clean up. Then the towels had to be washed. The kitchen tap has a pull out faucet and the connection to the flexible hose had worked loose. It was no big deal to tighten it up again and stop it from leaking. The effects of the loose connection had been a big deal.

Then I weighed myself and found that I had gained five pounds. When I stepped off the scale, though, it did not return to zero. I adjusted the scale back to zero with nothing on it and then I was back to my normal weight. That was better, but still a long way from being good news – my normal weight is 50 pounds, or 25 kg, more than it should be. I feel it in my knees. Yes I’m getting older, but that’s not the whole problem; I’m sure my knees would complain less if they didn’t have to lift that extra weight.

A few years ago I took our badly overweight Panda to the vet for her annual shots. The vet explained to me that dry cat food is far from ideal for cats. Canned cat food contains all the essential nutrients for a cat, is easier to digest, and contains more liquid, causing a cat to feel full sooner than with dry cat food. Since then we have been feeding our cats canned cat food twice a day, plus making dry cat food available to them. Panda has lost 2 kg and is more active and agile at the age of fourteen than she was a few years ago. I’m not going to try her diet, but I have noticed that most weight loss plans ask you to drink lots of water. Maybe there is something in that for me.

I tend to put on weight in the winter when I don’t get outside much. For years I have experimented with different exercise devices and none of them seemed to offer what I needed, nor were they very appealing to use. Then someone suggested a rebounder (mini-trampoline). My daughter has one and she wasn’t using it, so I borrowed it to try out before I decided to spend any money. I have been using it daily, aiming to increase my time to fifteen minutes a day. I have a hiatus hernia and have to be careful not to do anything that would make it flare up and cause me pain in ordinary activities. Last night I came across a recommendation to bounce on the rebounder three times a day, five minutes at a time. That sounds like something I can do.

So now I have done my morning five minutes, cleared the cobwebs from my brain and it’s time to start work.

I’ve got to Start Somewhere

A few years ago I picked up a book entitled Start Somewhere: Losing What’s Weighing You Down Fom The Inside Out*. Written by Calvin Nowell, a Christian songwriter and recording artist, it is the story of how he got to be a young guy weighing 450 pounds, with a 60 inch waist, and how he found a way to  lose 215 of those pounds. I found the book inspiring, but not inspiring enough to follow his lead.

Last Sunday I decided that time had come. I wasn’t feeling twinges in my heart like Calvin felt, but I seem to get out of breath too easily,  it is difficult to bend in the middle or to get up from a kneeling position. I am much shorter than Calvin’s six feet and four inches, but 210 pounds is way to much for my frame. I weighed 150 when I was married almost 44 years ago. Is it unreasonable to think that I might eventually get back to that size?

Calvin does not offer a marvelous nutrition plan or exercise advice. His advice is simply to move more and eat less. That basically comes down to self-denial. And self-denial is the missing ingredient in about every other weight loss book on the market. Simply because denying our appetites, which have become powerful habits, is so difficult.

Here is one little quote from the book:

“If you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see what amazing new miracle weight-loss fad I followed, you’re going to be disappointed. I lost my weight through old-fashioned diet and exercise. I made small changes in my behaviour that became habits (my emphasis).

I believe that last sentence is the key, Many weight loss plans will help you take off weight, but the loss is temporary, because you have not formed new habits that will last longer than the time it takes to lose the weight. Old habits have to be broken, new habits formed that will become just as much a part of your character as the old ones. That is where self denial comes in.

Anyway, I have begun by cutting out snacks between meals and dessert at supper. That has been a shock to my system and I was feeling it yesterday. Summer is coming and it won’t be hard to be more physically active. The test of my desire to keep up that level of physical activity will come next winter.

My goal is to lose ten pounds in the first thirty days, another ten in the following sixty days. I know the first few pounds will come off more quickly and it will take a dedication to my goal to keep going until the new habits are deeply ingrained.

Wish me well. Pray for me.

* Start Somewhere: Losing What’s Weighing You Down Fom The Inside Out, © 2009 by Calvin Nowell, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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