The ABC’S of
By Dr. Jo Gjelsten
Teddy Bear Picnic
“If You Go Out In The Woods Today, You Better Not Go Alone”
So I bought an Empire Pass this year because I knew I’d be taking my bike up to Minnewaska State Park in New Paltz at least a few times, not to mention, which I just did, going to Rockland State Park and of course the Hook to ride as well. I’ve used it with impunity; cavalierly driving up into Tallman State Park just to sit up on the hill with Paula for the great view of Piermont, the bridge and the Hudson, downing our iced coffees before getting back to the office. While chronic NYS budget problems prevent the pool at Tallman from being open, I’m thrilled that we were alone with our view until two women in sneakers and no water huffed up the steep trail to our perch in 99 degree weather. People amaze me. I once got all geared up with a trail rat friend who’s climbed Mt. Rainer, to hike New York’s second highest mountain, fourteen miles round trip, dear God. “Gear R Us” hit the trail early after no sleep in a lean-to, hauled our water, food, emergency equipment, our packs and our backs straight up a path that your gym would charge you extra for; all that stair stepping. We had goop which I used to replenish electrolytes and glucose, hiking boots with special socks, and hiking sticks; of course. About the time that we were about to summit this behemoth, we heard noise behind us and “pulled over” to what little space was available so that those behind us could pass. Those behind us turned out to be a gang of kids in sneakers and dresses, merrily hopping from stone to stone; no water, no snacks, no problem. No kidding. Not recommended, but we had to laugh. So with their barking dogs they shot past us, not even seeing the dumbfounded looks on our faces. Of course we didn’t see them on the way down so they’re probably in Canada by now. So today, Sunday, I’m back from Minnewaska, having been there last on a weekday and deciding it’s just too isolated during the week; just me and the bear, who didn’t even say hello, so I decided that Sundays are safer because of more people showing up, which there were. Lots of them. Many folks. More every hour. People who stand right in your way, when you want to skyrocket down a hill so you can make it up another. You wonder if you would get a strike or a spare if you let up on the brakes and let it rip. But it’s a small price to pay for safety. If you get to the parks early, like I do, that only happens on the way out, and you’re so high on endorphins by then you could kiss everyone goodbye as you roll down the hill. Instead you smile at all the poor fools slogging their way up in the heat of the day. And your point is, Dr. Jo?
Well, two things. Don’t go out in the woods alone as you don’t want to picnic with the Teddy Bears. But DO go out somewhere and move your tush to the point where you’re out of breath and can’t talk so we don’t have to listen to you. Or if we do, we can’t understand you, which is good. It’s good because you’d be out of breath, a good thing Martha in little spurts. When you do such things, you make HgH (human growth hormone) and stay young-ish, or you feel it anyway. You may not look it, but you don’t care, and neither does anyone else, Elsa. This remarkable effect is even more profound the older you are, because you’re a quart low on growth hormone anyway, but it has to be aerobic in order to work. Exercise, a word I hate, let’s call it “fun going uphill” or “fun going fast” is great for preventing and lessening depression symptoms too, poopy. Why? Because it was found by people who find things, that aerobic spurt “fun” increases cells in your hippocampus, a part of your brain having nothing to do with hippos, and depressed people have fewer of those cells. You can actually change the way your brain forms! The new exercise (fun) paradigm is that you do a little half minute spurts after a five minute warm up, then a little recovery walk for a minute and a half, then a spurt again. Seven times is good. Thirty minutes, five times a week is nice, not only for the obvious health benefits of cardiovascular and immune system enhancement, but you may lessen depression by 50%! I like biking because the short bursts of energy required to get up the hills in-between the flat sections satisfy the new paradigm of exercise, getting my heart rate up, and increasing my HgH. At this rate I expect to be 25 any day now. I would find that “fun”. But you can walk fast, swim fast, or drive your car fast but that doesn’t qualify. Now some of you may say, and you do, “I can’t exercise because I don’t have the energy Dr. Jo”, which you don’t or you would, I see that. In that case we need to do some detective work and find out why, how, when, and where, including what time of day, you don’t have energy. I’ve seen patients with undiagnosed thyroid problems, Lyme disease, hypoglycemia, and diabetes, and occult infections, just to name a few, who turn around dramatically when the reason for fatigue is finally found and treated. Other reasons include the fact that you may have pain, and it may even be in your body, that keeps you off your bike, or hike, or wife, or hubby, wubby, whatever. This too must be figured out and fixed, so you can get back to being that great lover of life you once were. “Maintainence Extends Life” some smarty pants once said and it’s true Tilda. That includes oiling up those joints, revving up your motor and getting on the road, Rhoda. Use it or lose it very quickly. A
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NOTE: Nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice. It is informational in purpose only and taken from numerous readily available articles written by physicians and researchers. For medical advice consult with an informed physician.