Re: Age

1

Now I'm sort of curious about when you stopped being able to dunk, and whether it bothered you. Nice post, by the way.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:13 PM
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Preach it Brother Ogged. Oh, and all that crap about kids keeping one young is just that, crap. The differential in the amount of energy required to even think about doing things I used to do makes the budget deficit look tame. And stay off my lawn.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:18 PM
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SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP I'M NOT LISTENING


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:22 PM
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imperceptibly small increments

I've had knee pain since I was my early teens. Slowly it has gotten worse. All of the chronic stuff isn't new to me, it has just gotten worse with age.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:23 PM
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3 was my exact reaction


Posted by: 56 and Sunny | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:23 PM
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^in


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:23 PM
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Just drink heavily and it won't bother you so much.


Posted by: froz gobo | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:24 PM
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I would be not listening, but my hearing isn't what it used to be.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:26 PM
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Kids and a wife, my friend. You'll still be getting older at the same rate, it'll just seem longer.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:27 PM
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I've been absent-mindedly thinking that maybe I should go and take some ballet classes at the Mark Morris center nearby. Now I am thinking twice: my poor knees, my ankles that snap with every step, my fragile lower back!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:29 PM
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I'm younger than you, but I know the feeling. Cases in point:

1) When I was seventeen, and a dance routine called for a split, even though I rarely trained splits (because why would I need to?), I could leap joyfully into the air and land a very nice split.

2) When I was twenty-one, I could train at fencing for three hours, on the first day back after a break, and feel nothing the next day.

3) When I was twenty-two and felt the need to get in shape, I began by tearing into a nice three-mile run.

Now.
1) When the yoga instructor says, 'some bodies are meant to do splits, and some not, each body to its own ability', she's saying that to make me feel better.

2) I last bouted about three years ago, against a friend, to fifteen points, and the only thing that made him feel better about limping the next day was confirming that I was limping, too.

3) I began to try to work up to three miles a couple days ago. Started off on one of the internet's own couch-to-5K plan. Figured running 60 secs and then walking 90 would be child's play. And it is! But, oh, how I ain't a child.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:29 PM
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I'm older than I am wise, so I have not made peace with this. And TLL's right; raising kids is pretty much the most wearying thing I've ever done. I don't think I'd feel my age quite so keenly otherwise. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:31 PM
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raising kids is pretty much the most wearying thing I've ever done

Indeed. It's just so constant.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:38 PM
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14

Anyone want a prune?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:39 PM
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and all that crap about kids keeping one young is just that, crap

Oh, you thought they meant physically young? Why?


Posted by: Pasota | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 5:48 PM
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This started frighteningly early for me. I ground my knee into bits by starting to train for a marathon from scratch, too quickly, while 30 lbs above what seems to be my setpoint. I was... 23?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:01 PM
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the only thing i'm afraid physically is what if my kid if one is to be born will be born, like, abnormal
b/c of my now advanced age for the childbearing
otherwise my body by itself is, like, very durable and i don't sometimes even know whether i'm hungry or not


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:02 PM
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ROTFL

I got twenty years on ya, and I feel fucking gre

No, really my dream now is go in my sleep while I am still feeling good. Any time now is ok fine. But I have been saying that for a decade, and still, here I am.

Did 20 miles with the dogs in four hours a few weeks back. The lady was pissed. The dogs just laid out for three days.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:10 PM
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The sense is that the one body I have is being slowly scraped away

Well phrased.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:15 PM
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Well, not the "The sense is" part, but otherwise.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:15 PM
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It's especially evident if you are trying to race against statistics. For instance, the qualifying times for the Boston Marathon increase every 5 years after your 30th birthday. But you think "come on, you can't really have lost 5 minutes in the last 5 years". So you train especially hard just to prove that, yep, those age-adjusted scores are that way for a reason, and you really do lose about 0.5% per year, every year after age 33.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:16 PM
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I should probably start running or something. A couple months ago, my advisor and some of my colleagues said that I had passed the point of the "youthful metabolism" and needed to start being more purposeful about exercise. Since then, nothing has changed, but neither has my weight, at least as far as I can tell.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:18 PM
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23

Next- Ogged, facing his mortality, discovers that "true believers" will have an afterlife. Prosthelytizing to begin in three.. two..


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:19 PM
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I'm 23 years old and have tendinitis in both hands (office work), a torn ACL in my right knee (basketball), a tweaked IT Band in my left leg/knee (mountain biking), low grade chronic neck pain (office work), and damaged ligaments in my right shoulder (biking again) that make certain movements of my arm above my head feel tight and sore. This has all happened within the last few years as well.

None of it really bothers me except the tendinitis. I do think I have the right to complain about getting old however.


Posted by: Pitiful Young Cripple | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:23 PM
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Since then, nothing has changed, but neither has my weight, at least as far as I can tell.

My method of measuring change in my body---do my jeans still fit?---does not seem to be especially helpful.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:25 PM
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"urgent", "a little bit terrifying" -- yes. Deeply saddening. And makes me angry at times. The cult of youth in our society doesn't help, promoting ideals that are impossible to live up to for very long at all, given our expected lifespans.

I find myself working rather hard to adjust my standard for what I expect of myself -- in terms of physical ability, energy level, and (especially for women) looks -- to roughly the age I am now. And always, now, with an eye toward the fact that those expectations will have to be revised in perpetuity. I seem to look more and more toward people older than myself for clues on how to manage this amazing feat peacefully and gracefully.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:35 PM
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Suck it up, guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:41 PM
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I am here to endorse what everyone above says about kids and aging.

Also: Because mental agility is tougher to benchmark, it's not as obvious when your brain begins to rot. But it does. Wisdom/experience really does make up for it in most things, though. For awhile.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:42 PM
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I'm terrified of having less energy, since I haven't had a ton of energy on a consistent basis, since I was six. I'm not kidding.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:42 PM
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Heh, 27 to 28, but I understood ogged's post as an invitation to whine, and we're just taking him up on it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:47 PM
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Ha, my last in 26 reminds me of a great song by The Tiger Lillies on The Brothel to the Cemetery with the line "You won't grow old gracefully". Makes me laugh each and every time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:49 PM
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time passing behind your back, in imperceptibly small increments, it's a little bit terrifying.

What's scary to me is that time passes ever faster even if it's unpleasant time like visits to the dentist and such. The fact that it's running out is quite obvious to me now.

Parsimon, if you find out how to handle aging peacefully and gracefully, please let me know the secret. So far it just makes me alternately depressed or angry. I don't think I'm particularly afraid of dying but the gradual loss of capabilities is maddening.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:53 PM
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33

This is why mountain biking is a better long term investment than short-course swimming. The technology takes care of more, abd you're sitting down a lot of the time.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 6:55 PM
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34

The wisdom of Ivor Cutler.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:04 PM
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35

More wisdom:

If your breasts are too large
You will fall over
Unless you wear a rucksack.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:06 PM
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36

33: until you start breaking bones when you spill.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:09 PM
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Swimming is probably a good sport to learn as you age because not only is it low impact, but there is a competitive structure in place for older athletes, and it's a sport at which one can be reasonably good at starting as an adult. (Contrast with, say, trying to learn gymnastics. Even if you excel you'll be being pwned by six year olds.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:17 PM
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Also, the wife and kids wear you out, but are more likely to give a shit about you when you're no longer in youth's first bloom.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:17 PM
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The cult of youth in our society doesn't help, promoting ideals that are impossible to live up to for very long at all, given our expected lifespans.

What's funny (funny in the sense of 'odd,' I mean, but maybe also funny in that 'ha ha' way) is that we've never lived longer (taking "we" in the aggregate, as a demographic abstraction, more or less) but we've never been more obsessed with youth. I sometimes think our culture is doing away with the concept of a meaningful and dignified adulthood as that lengthy (indeed, increasingly lengthy) in-between phase that falls between old age and youth. If you're no longer young, you must be old...

But I'm sure I've said this before, so I'll stop now.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:18 PM
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29: low thyroid?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:22 PM
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I felt this way when I was recovering from an injury a while ago. I had always healed so fast before, bounced back from cracked ribs in a few days and all that. Why was I hobbled a month after?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:23 PM
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About a year ago I was running on the treadmill, thinking to myself, "For a guy coming up on 40, I can still pretty much do the stuff I did ten years ago." Not more than five minutes later, still running along at the same gentlemanly pace, I pulled a hamstring.


Posted by: That One Guy | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:24 PM
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43

when you're no longer in youth's first bloom.

What voice more sweet than his, when Gonerill once rode to harriers?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:24 PM
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37: With gymnastics, you probably aren't going to make it close to your 30s.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:24 PM
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39: I'm finding in the case of my parents, they're not quite sure what to do with themselves now that they're in their fifties and their daughters keep moving out. It's like they've reached the fourth act, and someone stole the script.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:25 PM
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41: That part really, really sucks.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:25 PM
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39. OTOH, there is the disturbing "Just for Men" ad for the new product that allows one to keep a "touch" of gray. So, as Boomers can no longer pretend to be young, being older is OK. Not old mind you, but older.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:26 PM
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45: Here they're superfluous until they reach the age to be marketed an `active living community' condo. Maybe they're expected to piss off and travel for a while, I dunno.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:29 PM
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allows one to keep a "touch" of gray

Will will buy it by the caseload.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:31 PM
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(On preview, I've gotta get out of this slightly maudlin mood, but this is written and goes a bit toward Cala's note about her parents, so.)

32: Biohazard, I got nothing much but the standard platitudes. For loss of capabilities, substitute other things: can't do X sports-like thing any more? Learn to cook. And so on. But that doesn't help very much if it's question of things like vision loss (learn an instrument?), restricted mobility (read more, write more?) ....

I think it's fairly well-known that many people assume that there's an optimal period of learning various things, whether sports or instruments or languages, what have you, and past that period, maybe sometime in the 30s, people tend to assume they've got what they've got. Not so!

That's all terribly cliched, isn't it? Well. I'm finding as well that avoiding being inundated by the culture of youth helps with the peace angle. How much TV can I watch without walking away depressed or angry?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:36 PM
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38: Also, the wife and kids wear you out, but are more likely to give a shit about you when you're no longer in youth's first bloom.

Certainly. Reminds me of one of our "great moments in marriage"; during a fight over some health-related thing I was or wasn't doing I exasperated my wife to the point that she let loose with, "Personally, I could give a shit whether you choose to live or die, but don't forget you have financial responsibilities!"

And the 30 thing resonates, I have a spreadsheet of my weight collected every year or so*, clearly that is about when the metabolism quit keeping up.

*I pull it out to look at when I feel the need for something more depressing than say, Last Exit to Brooklyn.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:37 PM
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OTOH, there is the disturbing "Just for Men" ad for the new product that allows one to keep a "touch" of gray.

"I'm Cy Sperling, President of Hair Club for Men, with some new, important, free information for men with thinning hair." We used to watch this on the American channel (from Buffalo, I think), and laugh with the callous cruelty of callow youth.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:37 PM
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Golden girls and boys all must, like chimney-sweepers, come to disturbing dreams about Hillary Clinton.

(Everyone here probably knows it, but Ive always liked the meaning of "chimney sweepers" in that bit.)


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:41 PM
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I still greet each new limitation with astonishment and rage. How dare my back ache when I wake up? I'm sure I could read 8pt type in a dim light if I could just focus. Three years ago I started studying violin. The plan is by the time I'm too blind to paint, I'll be able to play. In the meantime I annoy my annoying neighbor. (But I never even thought about, oh, arthritis. Could be a problem.)

I get some hope from watching my 75-year-old tai chi teacher do a one-legged squat. He does amazing stuff. He just does it slowly.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 7:59 PM
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you guys are exaggerating. I've gone downhill but that's the smoking thing and the laziness. When I went skiing this spring it was normal, two days of agony and then things were fine. And my non-smoking sixty-five year old mom does 50k uphill x-country races in four hours, runs, rock climbs, mountain climbs at a pretty high level. Sure she started complaining about arthritis a decade ago, but other than that she's in better shape than I was at twenty and doing 100 mile bike rides. You guys just don't want to admit you've grown lazy in your old age.


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:02 PM
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Was it Becks who had the post about hitting an age at which you were never again going to be precocious?

I'm lucky on the physical aging front, though -- I've never been a real athlete (my crew days were a joke) or particularly attached to any physical skills, but I'm generally durable and healthy. At thirty-six, I've never really been close enough to the limits of my physical capacities that I notice myself having lost anything.

The only real change I notice since my early twenties is my weight, and that changed discontinuously when I had kids, rather than creeping on as an aging process. And I get a little stiff now if I sit in a chair working for a couple of hours without getting up; I never used to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:07 PM
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There's a standard joke in the used book trade regarding descriptions of the condition of books: The highest grade is "fine". This doesn't mean fine as in "okay, good enough," but rather indicates the best you can expect to see in a volume of its kind. For a book printed in the last 30 years, say, that'll be essentially "As new", bright & crisp.

For an older book, however, and certainly for a 19th or 18th century book, "fine" might mean the thing shows the obvious signs of age you would expect, but is otherwise, well, a fine specimen.

The joke, if you will, is that you do not, if you're a true bookman (sic), say "Fine for its age." For, people: "for its age" goes without saying. The trade operates with an eye properly cast over centuries, and a volume with a bit of mere toning, a bit of rubbing, slightly dimmed gilt edges is lovingly handled. To be disappointed that it's not quite as it was in its youth would be demented.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:14 PM
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As I get older, I get more impervious to pain, so even if I don't actually have greater muscle endurance than I used to, it feels like I do. Plus: better slow-twitch muscles, even if my fast-twitch are poor. Whatever that means, I think it's supposed to be true. I never had much in the way of fast-twitch muscles.

The first two softball games of this summer, I injured myself by ripping up some muscles unpleasantly. I still played, and then it took four days each time for me to stop hobbling, but I'm glad I got the exercise, because the last game I played was totally smooth. Played for four straight hours, two games, no errors, still sprinting full-out at the end of it. Felt great.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:14 PM
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You people missed the point of the post.

Ogged was trying to imply that swimming a 50 breast was a difficult or impressive feat. Since you are mostly non-swimmers, he thought he might pull it off.

Every swimmer knows that breaststroke is for the weak and fragile.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:16 PM
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Just drink heavily and it won't bother you so much.

But the hangovers are so much worse now than in my youth!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:17 PM
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I thought the highest grade was "very fine"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:17 PM
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This is why I spent my youth cultivating a love of sedentary pursuits. I can still sit on my ass just like when I was a teenager.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:18 PM
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Even sedentary pursuits might let you down, which is why I cultivated a love of simply being seated.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:20 PM
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the best way to meditate on aging is with an unfiltered smoke and a bourbon. Memory is the one that bothers me. I used to be able to play chess without a board, now I can't get past the opening.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:23 PM
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Other terms from the book trade:

"Good" = "Not Very Good"

"Very Good" = "Good"

"Acceptable" = "As Is"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:24 PM
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Then comes not being able to climb into one's armchair.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:25 PM
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Help! I'm sitting in my chair and I can't get up!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:27 PM
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59: Ogged was trying to imply that swimming a 50 breast was a difficult or impressive feat

Good point, Will. Also you can do a decent 50 between the time you die and rigor mortis sets in.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:27 PM
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65: "reading copy" = "piece of trash"


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:32 PM
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This is why I spent my youth cultivating a love of sedentary pursuits.

My maternal grandmother cultivated that love of sedentary pursuits, and lived to the ripe old age of 97. She never left her chair for the last ten years or so of her life, and she lived on tea and toast quite nicely. You 'type A' personalities, pretending to live a more real, or is it a more simple? life, with your panic-stricken health-inducing exercises, and your longevity-increasing diets, and your body-and-soul-cleansing colonic irrigations, not to mention your vitamin plans, are just increasing your heart rates unnecessarily.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:33 PM
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With the exception of flying animals, the number of heartbeats in a typical lifespan doesn't vary much, so that's something else that people can share with their pets.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:35 PM
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But the hangovers are so much worse now than in my youth!

So painfully true. The best one can hope for is that with age comes higher earning power, allowing for better-quality, less hangover-inducing spirits.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:35 PM
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I thought the highest grade was "very fine"?

Nah. For use by charlatans. Fine is fine, period. "Very fine" means you're being weird. If you need to say the thing is really really really fine, and I mean it, you abandon the terminology altogether and use other descriptive terms. "Very fine" is technically endorsed by some organizations, but I've never seen a serious high-end bookdealer use it. (I can be proven wrong; and actually it occurs to me that it could be of use in the world of modern first editions, but you'd still explain why it's beyond simply Fine.)

65: Those formulae come from somebody or other -- I've seen that somewhere.* Yeah, in lay language, sure, I guess, if you subscribe to the view that bright and shiny should be the standard.

"Acceptable" = "As Is" There is no such thing in bookman's terms as "Acceptable". That's an Amazon term. Charlatan.

* Actually, there's a hysterically funny alternative set of terms written by a friend that's around somewhere. Maybe I find it and send it to you; you might be amused. I have no idea where it is now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 8:48 PM
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That "touch of gray" phrase has been around since the early seventies, when one of the first dyes mass-marketed to men, Gr/ci/n F/rm/la 16, used it.

In the last few years, I've gotten into the best shape I've been in for thirty years. It's given me back a lot of strength, resilience and energy I'd have thought gone for good. And small changes in weight seem to have huge impacts on how energetic I feel. It also has an enormous impact on mood, and exercising can be a very effective antidepressant.

I have to pay a lot more attention to light to be able to see as well, despite at least three focus lengths in my lenses. And while I hear just fine so far, I can't separate sounds and hear simultaneous different things. I'm told that's a brain function more than hearing effect of age.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:01 PM
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You guys just don't want to admit you've grown lazy in your old age.

No, I am entirely comfortable admitting this. It's absolutely true that laziness is a huge factor in aging - I'm still in better shape than I was 20 years ago, but in way worse shape than I was 10 years ago.

Odd that folks are saying that the hangovers have gotten worse. Mine have all-but disappeared.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:01 PM
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56: I was never a particularly talented athlete, but I tended not to run into my limits easily. Now the damn limits are all over the place so's I trip on them. I suspect part of this is that I'm surrounded by undergraduates, and that this is only going to get worse.

70: Only when we do the coffee colonics.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:15 PM
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You guys just don't want to admit you've grown lazy in your old age.

A friend of mine and I once mused that the literary and filmic depiction of all those vigorous ancient vampires was quite off, because really, you'd get to the point where you mostly just stared at the wall for decades at a time. "Eh, I'll get to it later."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:21 PM
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77: Surely the energy and desire in one so old increases the horror and monstrousness.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:27 PM
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Only when we do the coffee colonics.

My Nana never drank coffee, and never did anything with that beverage (or with any other beverage, in all honesty) colonic-wise. She loved to go shopping at Syracuse every five years or so in upstate New York (the cross-border bargains!), but 'sure, you'd get tired of their lingo.' Tea and toast is what kept her going for about twenty years, more or less. If you want to live to 97, you probably need to calm the fuck down is all I'm saying.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:29 PM
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"I only shop at stores that bear our flag...."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:33 PM
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The joke, if you will, is that you do not, if you're a true bookman (sic), say "Fine for its age." "otherwise fine."

you can't do the things you used to do, or can't do them quite as well, and you have new aches and pains.

20--no, 10!--years ago I could drink a bottle and a half of wine in the evening, then get up the next morning and bike 25 miles. Now I'm lucky if I can finish a bottle. I can still do 25 miles if I push myself, but I've become much better at coming up with reasons not to. However, I've never felt compelled to try to recapture "former glory." Possibly that's because I never much glory to start with; possibly because I've never lost what I had. I do have a bit of a spare tire I'd love to get rid of, but I'm otherwise fine.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:33 PM
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40: No. My thyroid's been tested many times. My TSH is usually around 2.5 or a bit lower.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:44 PM
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the case of my parents, they're not quite sure what to do with themselves now that they're in their fifties and their daughters keep moving out

My folks are in a similar spot. Last time I was home, I was noticing it, especially my dad sweeping the whole driveway fastidiously after mowing the lawn. Sweeping for like an hour.

When I asked why so much sweeping, my dad paused, smiled serenely, and said something like, "Oh, I dunno. It's nice."

Kind of adorable; kind of weird to watch.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:50 PM
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I've always been quite prone to minor joint injuries picked up doing sport -- even in my teens -- but I've had a knee injury now for about two years that just fucking refuses to go away. Lots of days involve chronic pain as a result and I seem to pick up new injuries more easily than I did.

The metabolism shift also seemed to happen at about 30. I know I ate way more crap when I was 25 but then I never put any weight on.

Other than that, I feel pretty good. I don't superficially look as fit but I'm definitely more rather than less flexible than I was at 25, and probably have better CV fitness. I can keep up with people a lot younger and fitter looking than me in my sport.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-08 9:58 PM
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83 is why I invest in books, not children.

I'm actually slowly getting to be in the best shape of my life, but it helps I've been a fat fuck for most of it.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 12:26 AM
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But when do I start to get Old Man Strength?


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 1:01 AM
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Mmmm, my metabolism changed at 30 too. At least, that's my excuse. After the first two kids, the weight disappeared without doing anything about it. After no.3 (two months before my 30th), it just stayed. Eventually, after no.4, I did something about it.

But like LB, I was never athletic or particularly active when I was younger. I probably get more exercise now than I ever have, but none of it's very energetic.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 1:49 AM
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But when do I start to get Old Man Strength?

Start lifting now, it'll come. Weightlifting's kind of nice in that it seems like it's a bit more age friendly than things like long distance running.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 2:53 AM
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In my days in the book trade the top category was Mint ("Cooling and good for the breath"), but I agree that "Very Fine" is spurious. Our guidelines used to be:

Fine: Good
Very good: Not very good
Good: Intact
Fair: Falling apart but all the pieces are there
Reading Copy: Written all over


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:04 AM
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Re Old Man Strength - my grandad had arms of steel well into his 80s, due to his dodgy legs. His arms were what got him out of chairs.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:19 AM
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88: I actually just started lifting about 3 months ago (I moved into a sublet with a pull-up bar), and you're right, i'm taking to it better than the impactful stuff that is starting to fade me. If only it wasn't so BORING, god. I can only manage like 15 minutes at a time. So I try to do it twice a day, whatever.

I'll bet my dad can still lift his half of the couch way easier than I can, though.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:51 AM
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re: 91

The usual way to weight train would be a couple of times a week, rather than a couple of times a day. If you're training with anything approximating a decent level of effort, twice a day is likely to be counter-productive. Unless you're doing completely different things in each session [I suppose].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:36 AM
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Read this. Summary: you're all a bunch of fucking pansies.

Now, seriously. I have given some consideration to the issues that trouble the Ogged man. For him I expect it is just a simple case of overtraining -- too much load without a sufficient period for adaptation. In general though, as the responsibilities of life grow heavier, finding the time for exercise seems to be harder. I'm lucky being a student, but I don't know what I'm going to do when my first kid arrives in a few months. I sure hope I can drag the little fella down to the park in a few years, but in the meantime I'll have to find other ways to fight entropy while keeping my responsibilities to my family.

That said, aging hasn't been a problem for me, yet. I'm 31, and in every way I can measure I'm fitter than I have ever been, and for all of my adult life I've had some form of exercise about 5 times a week. I've learned how to work out more efficiently and effectively (Crossfit is a great place to learn if you can ignore the politics) and it makes a big difference. One neat trick is picking up a new sport. I used to play a lot of basketball, and now I can't play as often it kinda sucks to have a game and not be able to do what I used to. In a new sport there is no weight of former glory so I'm happy to learn new stuff and do what I can do.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:21 AM
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92: I was taught every other day (3-4 times a week).

You definitely need the recovery periods. That's one reason why people in the old days who did constant physical labor didn't become super strong. Weight training tears down your muscles and then during the rest period the body restores them and enlarges them. A lot of lifelong laborers ended up weak and broken down.

Inadequate diet would be a second reason for this.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:22 AM
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I was at my peak of fitness at age 34. A series of injuries, schedule changes, and relocations interrupted my exercising during the next two years, and when I tried to start up again I was slow, overweight and susceptible to injury, and it just wasn't fun any more. About 15-20 years later I started again on low-impact exercising. I lost weight but still couldn't run without injury, and I also found that my body didn't respond to weightlifting. I gained strength very slowly even though I worked hard.

I care less than most of you guys do, though. I'm still able to be active, though I'm not competitive any more, even age-group-wise.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:28 AM
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People who complain in their mid-30s, late 20s even, sound kind of funny to people in or nearing their 50s. Or beyond.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:41 AM
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Brit Politics:

But this is pretty cool -

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/2116367/David-Davis-to-resign-as-shadow-home-secretary.html

His public statement [video]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7450728.stm


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:45 AM
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I, unlike ttaM, have some nostalgic Tory sympathies. I'm not proud of them, but they're there. However, I hate the authoritarian, moral crusading tough-on-crime right, so I'm glad to see Davis go.

I'm really sorry that Parliament just voted to extend the time that terrorist suspects can be detained without trial.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:51 AM
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re: 98

I'm not sure if you understand. Davis is resigning to fight against the right-wing turn in law and order legislation. He's opposing the Parliamentary vote.

It's a nice move on his part. Even if he is a Tory, it's still a courageous thing to do.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:52 AM
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I hadn't read the article before I commented. Wow, David Davis did something I approve of. I don't like his views on drugs and much prefer someone like Peter Oborne.

I just read that Oborne is working for the Daily Mail, so I may have to retract that statement.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:54 AM
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99 posted before I could post my retraction.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:55 AM
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96. What you said.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:56 AM
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102/96 - yes

I love it when Ogged bears his soul.
I was never particularly sporty in my younger years, but have always exercised moderately and been in fine shape until.....
my metabolism sinisterly deserted me in my late 30's, the two kids (never regained the old figure after #2) and hitting forty two years ago. What has been most painful for me about aging is the slow transition into middle aged invisibility. The moments of "I've still got it" get fewer and farther between. The defense is to pretend you don't care, and focus on the children's happiness.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:16 AM
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i can feel my running ability slipping away year by year. i was never very fast, but on average, i'm losing a minute each year in my 5K time; and the days when i feel strong and competitive are fewer and farther-between. plus, after twenty years of running, i got my first strained hamstring last weekend. add in the intermittent plantar fasciitis, and the constant low-level pain in my right hip... i'm falling apart, and i'm only 37.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:18 AM
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You guys just don't want to admit you've grown lazy in your old age.

I was lazy in my young age. Having not really exercised since high school, I perhaps feel less sense of loss than the rest of you.

But the hangovers are so much worse now than in my youth!

Ain't it the truth. I've cut way down on the alcohol intake as a result.

If you want to live to 97, you probably need to calm the fuck down is all I'm saying.

You probably need to be born with the genes to make it to 97.

That said, aging hasn't been a problem for me, yet. I'm 31

Dude, nobody has aging problems at 31. For all intents and purposes, you're still in your 20s.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:26 AM
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105: Yeah, that is why the qualifier "yet". However you'll find some bitching about their decrepitude who are much younger than me. Why indeed, there are some in this very same thread!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:29 AM
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My hangovers didn't start getting worse until I was almost sixty.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:33 AM
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On a brighter note, when you finally give in and let go of all the attachments to the youthful body, you realize that you can still cultivate a youthful mind- with the severe memory loss every thing that's old is new again. Also, wisdom is hot.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:35 AM
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Man goes to doctor and says he's worried about mortality, wants to live to be 97.

Dr: Well, first off, not smoking, no drinking, no dope. Ever
Man: Ever?
Dr: Ever. And you have to eat really bland, plain food. Highly seasoned stuff is bad for you. And no fats. Bacon is right out.
Man: Er... OK
Dr: And no sex. Saps your energy.
Man: And if I sign up to all that, will I live to be 97?
Dr: No, but it'll feel like forever.

Suck it up, kids.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:35 AM
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Apostropher's 105 pretty well gets it right. Nothing like never having been in shape to preserve the option of someday getting into the best shape of your life.

Also, switching to sports that require different, more age-tolerant skills is a fine way to keep beating stupid kids.

Also also, I find that age related physical changes are kind of small potatoes compared to going to college in your thirties and realizing everybody there is twelve and thinks you're ninety. Yes, you can't beat them in a sprint. You also can't talk to them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:39 AM
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If you want to live to 97, you probably need to calm the fuck down is all I'm saying.

If the last twenty years consist of tea, toast, and sitting, I'm okay with checking out at age 77 having had an aneurysm while berating some young philosopher giving a talk (waving my cane all the while), or having been able to play soccer with my grandkids at 70.

If anyone knows of a good resource for beginning male exercisers in their 50s, I'd appreciate a pointer. Somewhat surprisingly, it's been easier for my mother to try to get in shape in middle age than it is for my dad, because there is so much geared towards 'getting your figure back'* and not as much geared towards the guy who isn't trying to beat his times from twenty years ago, but for the guy who is slowly realizing that he is heading towards frailty twenty years too early.

*Not that this in and of itself isn't very sexist, but it did mean that my mom found it very easy to find an exercise program that was tailored to someone who had never worked out beyond a few ill-fated aerobics classes in the 80s.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:43 AM
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110: Your last point is interesting. I'm a PhD student and I'm involved in some student activities which means I have to get down with the kids. One of the most noticeable differences to me is the stupid fucking txt spch they write all their emails in. Some of them I just can't hold a conversation with in a social situation. Others I get on with fine. Age doesn't seem to be the determining factor. More attitude, and in particular how much they are maintaining one.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:44 AM
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I suspect that it's the being surrounded by athletic undergrads that makes me feel creaky, come to think of it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:47 AM
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Anyone who thinks that 30-somethings can't have age related shit happening to their bodies should walk a few miles [up hill, preferably] with a moderately-fucked meniscus in one knee. Admittedly, the initial damage wasn't age-related but I'm 90% sure the slow healing is.

Plus side of being older, I'm pretty sure that 15 years ago I'd have wimped out at some of the punishment during sparring that I barely bat an eyelid at nowadays. That feeling of 'solidity' -- feel your pathetic blows bounce off me, young'uns -- is quite nice.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:47 AM
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If you guys were sexual predators who only cared about physical appearance, your lives would be a lot more fun. Just sayin'.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:48 AM
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re: 111

I played soccer with my grandfather when he was in his late 80s. He was shuffling about at walking pace, but still able to unleash some silky skills.

He could flat out beat me (easily) at tennis when he was in his 70s.

He's 94 now and can still walk for miles.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:49 AM
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going to college in your thirties and realizing everybody there is twelve and thinks you're ninety. Yes, you can't beat them in a sprint. You also can't talk to them.

The oldest student in one of my classes last semester was starting out college in her 30s. She was also the best looking woman in the class, and developed a crush on me over the course of the semester. Maybe it was because she was starved for conversation.


Posted by: John Tyler | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:49 AM
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If the last twenty years consist of tea, toast, and sitting

That sounds lovely.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:49 AM
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110: A big part of that is just having lived and worked on your own for a bit, though. I'm barely older than undergrad age these days, but when I go to the occasional party thrown by the undergrads on my university frisbee team, I'm freaked out by how they're all kids. The grad students who went straight from school to PhD programs don't seem as affected, so I really do chalk it up to having worked a day-to-day and kept an apartment for 3 years.

Still irresponsible and stupid, but a totally different kind of irresponsible and stupid.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:49 AM
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Tennis is a great sport to get old playing, because you can beat people who are much, much more athletic than you if you're relatively skilled. So, keep at tennis, and then whip your grandchildren's butts when they're 14.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:51 AM
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116: My dad has a great story about his dad, aged 70, playing soccer (or run around and kick-the-ball, really) with me when I was five. He kept up with me. Apparently we played for about two hours straight, until I gave up and fell asleep on the porch swing. 'He'd barely broken a sweat, and then pulled out his pipe and sat on the swing.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:53 AM
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Cala,
Tai Chi could work well for your Dad. It has equal appeal to both male and female practitioners.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:56 AM
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111: My dad started weight training in his early 60s: he'd always been an athlete, but hadn't ever lifted weights at all. (I actually pushed him into it; he was having some creakiness issue, I can't remember what, and I thought it would do him some good; it did, and he's kept it up.) That's pretty forgiving, because there's so much literature on "do exactly this, in this form". Get him one of those giant Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding or whatever type books, with the horrifying-looking overly tan and bulging pictures, and explain that everyone starts lifting small weights, but you're doing the same stuff as the scary-looking bodybuilders. Any book like that will have starter workout programs, and so on, and will be advising him to do some sort of cardio (bike, elliptical) as well, and he's on his way.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 7:59 AM
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If you want to live to 97, you probably need to calm the fuck down is all I'm saying.

My grandmother lived to 97. During the last five or six years, whenever I was alone with her she'd either say "Don't live into your nineties," or "I'm ready to die." Sometimes she'd say both. I never knew quite how to respond ("Tough it out, grandma.")

Today marks one month since my body pretty much failed me (or perhaps I failed it) and I ended up staying in the hospital for the first time since I was an infant. This happened as I'm counting down the few remaining months until turning 40, making it an especially unwelcome event. I'm feeling much better now, though coming to grips with it all has been a little tough.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:02 AM
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120: I know, right! I just joined a Gay Tennis league here, and I keep getting destroyed by the beer gut-toting 40-year-olds who are way better at precision than I am. Must be the limp wrists.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:02 AM
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And does anyone know of any scientific basis for this 'resting periods between lifting weights days' thing? I always assume that Men's Health-style advice only *really* applies to proper athletes, and that normal schlubs like us should just take what we can get...


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:04 AM
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I think that the intrinsic aging process is less than people think. You have people competing in pro sports well into their 40s, and Gordie Howe into his 50s though that may have been a stunt.

The field events (shot and discus) seem especially hospitable to 40-somethings, though the top ten performances are from guys with an average age of about 28 (24 to 36).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:04 AM
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This Christmas I realised that my 60 year-old mom is fitter than I've ever seen her. She isn't skinny with it, just solid and firm-looking. She's walking every day (often five+ miles), and doing water aerobics two or three times a week. She and my dad go out for ten to twenty miles hikes regularly. It's pretty awesome to see because when I was in the formative early teens, my mother was overweight tending a bit droopy. She's like a shapely barrel now, and will probably live forever.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:05 AM
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The alternate days training applies to people who want to increase strength. I imagine that if you just want to tone up and lose weight every day is fine.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:05 AM
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My ninety year-old grandmother went rock-climbing last summer. The pictures are humbling.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:06 AM
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JM, do your parents kill waterbuffalos with their bare hands? I'm taking a survey.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:07 AM
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I'll just remind everyone of my late mother's ex-beau, Mohr Keet, who did the world's highest bungee jump at age 93 or so.

His daughter says that he's slowing down a bit, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:10 AM
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No, but my Yukon granddad used to tell tales about when he wrassled grizzlies.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:11 AM
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129: 'Toning' (ugh) is a matter of losing body fat. Not to harp on this, but 'toning' in 'women's health magazines' often means 'lift a one-pound soup can 500 times so you don't bulk up like the boys' and it's a word that annoys me.

RiD, as far as I know, alternating days to give the muscles time to recover is pretty standard training advice. If you wanted to lift every day, you could do lower body one day and upper body the next.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:11 AM
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I hear that the grizzlies still speak of your grampa in terrified voices.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:12 AM
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'toning' in 'women's health magazines' often means 'lift a one-pound soup can 500 times so you don't bulk up like the boys' and it's a word that annoys me.

What if it meant something different in other places? Would it still annoy you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:13 AM
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At age (gulp!) 50 I am in the best shape of my life. Despite engaging in heavy exercise several times a week I have very few aches and pains. The reason, I believe, has to do with the concept of "training age." Having been a near-complete couch potato until age 45, I've only been physically active for five years. If I had been physically active since childhood, it might be a different story, as all the years might be starting to take a toll on my muscles and joints.


Posted by: Peter | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:13 AM
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Nothing like never having been in shape to preserve the option of someday getting into the best shape of your life.

I've been going to the gym more-or-less regularly for the last year, which is the most exercise by far that I've ever done, and I think I really am in the best shape of my life. This is both kind of great and kind of sad.

I am getting creaky, though -- just little things, but I can see them becoming really annoying in 20 years or so. And I don't recover as quickly from the drinking.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:13 AM
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i recall a study where the size of animal was correlated with its longevity
like how long elephants live and how long for example ants
and they tried to see whether it's true in humans and also found that the taller you are the longer you live something (but it was not the overall largeness)


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:14 AM
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136: If we're talking muscle-building, yes, probably. Because there's really no such thing as 'just toning.' Muscles get stronger; toning is just whether they're visible, and that's mostly fat loss.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:16 AM
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That grandad aged poorly, in a way that was a lesson to all of us. He had been so proud of his independance and strength that he utterly refused help towards the end, even when he was really unable to take care of himself. He'd worked as a longshoreman to put himself through college and used to be prodigiously strong for his size (5'7"). He'd jerry-rigged built his house and his cabin by hand, by himself mostly, and cussed when tasks were taking longer than he thought they should. And, oh god, he kept driving that enormous 1960s, no-power-anything truck at 100mph down the Alaska Highway after his eyesight and concentration were shot.

There were seriously discussions about having him declared incompetent, but everyone knew he'd never forgive it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:16 AM
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re: 126

Nah, the process of making muscles bigger and stronger is a process where you're basically stressing the crap out of all the muscle fibres then giving the body a day or so to begin rebuilding them. Rinse, repeat. It's during the rest periods that the body is doing the work of building muscle.

There is a genuine basis for resting. Also, what Cala says in 134. Toning == more muscle, less fat.*

* says the man who is the opposite of 'toned'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:17 AM
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I'm going to die at 28.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:17 AM
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Lermontov died at 28


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:19 AM
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they tried to see whether it's true in humans and also found that the taller you are the longer you live something (but it was not the overall largeness)

I bet it this result was just due to the correlation between height and childhood health/nutrition, which has been shown to correlate with a lot of healthiness measures later in life.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:19 AM
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144: Because he worked out every day, and was hella short?


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:20 AM
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140: well, but there's different kind of muscle fibers that respond to different kinds of exercise, right? Being able to do something 500 times in a row is not purely a matter of strength, it's also a matter of flexibility, the extra weight you're carrying, and cardiovascular fitness. If your goals are to (a) have more endurance, (b) have less fat, and not (c) lift large things or do sprints or whatever, why isn't "toning" a useful (if shallowly constructed) shorthand for those sorts of workouts, or at least as useful as "bulking up" is a shorthand for low-rep high-weight bodybuilding type things?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:21 AM
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re: 146

Duelling and being a bad-ass Russian in Chechnya in the early 19th century, I think.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:21 AM
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i mean i'll never die at 28, alas


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:22 AM
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re: 147

The consensus seems to be that the relatively low-rep high-weight stuff accomplishes the 'less fat, more visible muscle tone' goal more quickly than the other kind.

But yeah, there are clearly different kinds of exercise, and muscular endurance is useful for lots of tasks, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:23 AM
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147: I've always wondered about that toning thing too. In my experience, body type determines tone more than anything else. Some people work out and get dense, ropy little mussels, while others get big and thick.

My goal is pure vanity, so I'm going for tone. I'm weak as hell whenever have to actually lift anything or play sports, so it definitely isn't translating into performance. I went rock climbing yesterday, and I was like one of those Dobermans in the electrified-floor study...


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:27 AM
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147: I've always wondered about that toning thing too. In my experience, body type determines tone more than anything else. Some people work out and get dense, ropy little mussels, while others get big and thick.

My goal is pure vanity, so I'm going for tone. I'm weak as hell whenever have to actually lift anything or play sports, so it definitely isn't translating into performance. I went rock climbing yesterday, and I was like one of those Dobermans in the electrified-floor study...


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:27 AM
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He'd worked as a longshoreman to put himself through college and used to be prodigiously strong for his size (5'7").

I am still amazed by what people used to do back when they had to do heavy labor for the daily bread. The father of an ex of mine used to be a dockhand during the Cultural Revolution, so he was lifting enormous loads and carrying them around the docks all day back in his 20s. Given that he's a very nice, unassuming, rotund man of about 5'6", it amazed the hell out of me to hear this.

'Course, as Emerson said, those people tended to be beat the hell up by 40, if that. My ex's dad was lucky they eventually reopened the universities (and so was I, that ex was awesome).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:27 AM
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147: I don't think 'bulking up' is useful, either, for what it's worth. But mostly the problem is that if endurance and fat loss (or getting 'toned') is your goal, you'd be better off lifting heavy weights (whatever's heavy for you) on some days and getting some cardiovascular exercise on others than you would be lifting a really light weight many, many times.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:28 AM
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124: JL, sorry to hear it--what's up (if you feel like telling)?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:28 AM
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154: isn't cardiovascular exercise, on some level, lifting a really tiny weight many, many times?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:33 AM
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Lermontov is Yglesias's favorite author. He was perhaps the first nihilist in European literature, or the first nihilist character in a book, anyway. His life-expectancy was reduced by violent acting-out, gunplay, etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:36 AM
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I am still amazed by what people used to do back when they had to do heavy labor for the daily bread.

Of course there was a downside.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:37 AM
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156: Yeah, I view some "toning" stuff as exercises for one's upper body and core that do for them what cardio does for one's legs. Pilates and related floor exercises can be really nice for this, since good exercises with low weights will use a lot of different muscle groups and require using them together in unusual ways. It really does help one's balance and general feeling of "I can make my body do cool shit!" more than weight-lifting or cardio alone.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:39 AM
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What're you into, Sifu? Running? Lifting?


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:40 AM
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156: I guess what I'm harping on is a distinction between the activity, the results, and the marketing. If you want muscle definition, the fat has to come off. If you want to get stronger, you have to lift heavier weights; if the one-pound weight doesn't stress your muscles at all, then lifting it a lot won't really matter.

How that translates into what your body will look like is a matter mostly of body type, and gender. It is going to be very, very hard for most women to bulk up because the testosterone just isn't there. Somebody with a body type like mine is not going to be long and lean.

(And cardiovascular exercise is different from 'toning' lifting, in that it actually gets your heart rate up.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:41 AM
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His life-expectancy was reduced by violent acting-out
and by that his only true love died shortly before him, Varvara Lopukhina iirc
she was somebody else's wife and died abroad in 1840
so he was actually seeking death and found it as he described in Pechorin


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:42 AM
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My ex's father had pick-and-shovel railway workers in his family and neighborhood, and he said that they were all broken down in their old age.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:43 AM
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159: Pilates is cool because it seems to focus on little muscles that get ignored, and finds ways to stress them. My sister's had a lot of fun with it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:43 AM
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Daniil Kharms died at 36. His life-expectancy was reduced by Stalin.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:44 AM
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you'd be better off lifting heavy weights (whatever's heavy for you)

You pretty much have to be doing this for your activity to be properly considered weight lifting, right? But 'heavy weights' here is going to be a weight that causes muscle fatigue at whatever the number of reps you're doing.

But granted, fifty reps with the soup can is probably not the most efficient way.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:46 AM
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160: I enjoy sitting. I also walk, in order to get places!

I used to do martial arts, but it's been a while. I used to bike a a lot, but do that less at the moment. Really all my theories about this are based on a speculative exercise plan somewhere in the future.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:47 AM
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Metaphor?

Here's a metaphor for you. We all die and many of us get old first. Even so, we must fight the good fight on the way there.

Societies do the same thing. Our response should be the same.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:48 AM
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(And cardiovascular exercise is different from 'toning' lifting, in that it actually gets your heart rate up.)

Not only gets your heart rate up, but maintains it at a highish rate for a while (say 80% for >= 15 min) to have any real effect.
Unless you are really out of shape, this means using your legs.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:48 AM
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166: Exactly. Look, if the one-pound soup can is hard for someone to lift, then they should lift that to get stronger. But lifting a weight that is very light for twelve reps out of a fear that one will bulk up or the belief that doing that will make you thin is just not going to work.

This is mostly kneejerk reaction (and a little unfair to Emerson's comment that triggered the whole thing), but so many women's magazines say 'get toned for summer 2008', and the exercises show a young woman lifting a little pink weight that probably weighs less than the laptop in her shoulder bag. Three sets of twelve isn't going to do anything, not cardiovascularly, not strength-building. And because it doesn't do the latter two, it isn't going to 'tone' anything.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:56 AM
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I've been able to soak up a lot of sport's medicine over the ages so I think I know a few things now.

The best training includes these three elements: Cardio, strength, flexibility.

Proper training does not lead to overall breakdown. In the case of people who wore out their bodies they were essentially overtraining for a long period of time. I'm not blaming those people - they needed to do that to put food on the table and I respect that.

Fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers. Google it.

DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness). It happens. They know some about it but not all.

Recovery time - generally increases as we age. Important to get this right for proper training.

Strength training - with a proper regime you will be at your strongest two weeks after you stop lifting. Then the decline begins. Train on six week cycles, high weight/low rep one cycle, low weight/high rep the next. Pause training two weeks before competition.

There is tons more but I think that covers the basics.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:56 AM
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What're you into, Sifu? Running? Lifting?

Dancing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:58 AM
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170: You may be underestimating how weak the upper body of a lot of women is. I helped a friend start an exercise program (for the first time ever, in her mid twenties) and she was having trouble with 2.5 lb weights so we started her on lower ones....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 8:59 AM
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Cala is oppressing me because I'm a man.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:00 AM
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172: oh, well, yeah. There's that.

170: so the issue is not the word "toning", then, but "women's magazines" and the horrible body image issues they inculcate? 100% there with you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:00 AM
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Perhaps the exercise you will enjoy doing and get comfortable with, so that you will actually do it regularly, is the one to recommend; actually doing it outweighs all other factors.

However, it seems to me that people often take up forms of exercise that don't address their deficiences optimally. The skinny person runs, the beefy guy lifts weights, the inactive do yoga. They get positive feedback, but it's a conundrum.

I'm fortunate in that cycling, which I enjoy doing, counteracts my size and weight, so moves me in the right direction.


Posted by: I Don't Pay | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:00 AM
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175: Well, more the idea that 'toning' and 'building muscle and losing fat' are two separate, unrelated exercises, with the latter being for athletes and the former being for girlz. To the extent that lifting light weights works, it's because it's heavy for that person.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:02 AM
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170:

Cala, so true.

Muscle tone usually means the ability of the muscle to stay firm when not, well, stimulated. (Cue John, easy jokes here.)

Strength training does that. Especially high weight/low rep. And as we all know muscle tissue burns calories even when at rest, probably from maintaining its tone. So muscle mass helps lower body fat.

It takes testosterone to bulk muscles up so women don't have to worry about that. Sure healthy women have some testosterone but not enough to bulk up. Those body-building women with the low voices are taking steroids, plain and simple.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:03 AM
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a young woman lifting a little pink weight

Heh. I always use free weights at the gym (because the "fully adjustable" machines in the Nautilus circuit are too big for me), and the dumbbells below eight pounds are all brightly colored. Lucky for me, I'm all strong! with my iron-colored! ten-pounders!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:07 AM
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I use free weights because I like how they force all the little muscles to help stabilize you. The difference between doing a leg press and doing a squat is pretty impressive. Plus, the machines never seem to fit right.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:11 AM
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176:

However, it seems to me that people often take up forms of exercise that don't address their deficiences optimally.

I respectfully disagree. Google "fast slow twitch muscles."

The idea that the skinny marathoner and the muscleman have deficiencies is incorrect.

We all need cardio, strength, and flexibility and that's it. There are many possible ways to get these, and we all need to find what works best for our personal body.

We need to stop trying to make ourselves look like the "other guy" and do what works best with our own bodies.

The idea, for example, that Kenyan marathoners need to cut back on running and try to bulk up is silly. The same for the weight lifters. Cover the basics and then do what works best for yourself.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:11 AM
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The idea, for example, that Kenyan marathoners need to cut back on running and try to bulk up is silly.

The idea that what elite athletes do to themselves is "healthy" in any traditional sense of the word is also a bit silly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:14 AM
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I use free weights because I like how they force all the little muscles to help stabilize you. The difference between doing a leg press and doing a squat is pretty impressive.

Funny you should mention that. In my new gym I just couldn't get comfortable using the squat contraption and I didn't want to ask for a spot from anyone so I used the leg press machine.

I was really feeling full of myself squatting 450 (ten 45 lb plates) until I realized that in a 'real' squat I am also squatting my body weight. Oh. Suddenly 450 was not that much.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:16 AM
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I'm getting a weird flashback to Ron Burgundy doing arm curls in his office: "One thousand one ... one thousand two ... oh, it's the deep burn! I can barely lift my arm, because I did so many...."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:19 AM
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The idea that what elite athletes do to themselves is "healthy" in any traditional sense of the word is also a bit silly.

Well, that depends. Obviously steroids are unhealthy and certain athletes such as professional lineman and sumo wrestlers have too much fat. Professional quarterbacks also allow themselves to be hit by said lineman and that is not healthy. But many elite athletes live very healthy lives. That is one reason why some of them are able to pursue their careers into their forties.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:22 AM
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183: Plus, most leg lift machines are on something like a 45 degree angle (or lower), so at most you're only lifting the equivalent of 1/1.414 times that weight in a vertical plane. But it really is best not to think of all this.

180: Cala, are you referring to the squat machines, or just like holding two dumbbells of whatever weight works best and then doing squat-thrusts? I've never felt a huge difference between leg lifts and the former except that I'm not as freaked about what could happen to my back when doing leg lifts, but the latter certainly uses a lot more small muscles and develops more balance and finesse.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:23 AM
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You may be underestimating how weak the upper body of a lot of women is. I helped a friend start an exercise program (for the first time ever, in her mid twenties) and she was having trouble with 2.5 lb weights so we started her on lower ones....

I consider myself pretty weak in terms of upper body strength -- and then, of course, do mostly leg work on the rare occasions that I go to the gym, because working on my arms makes me feel all weak and depressed. But struggling with 2.5 pound weights? I think you may be underestimating most women if you think that's approximating a norm. My 9 year old uses 5-pounders when I bring her to the gym with me, and she's a stick who doesn't care all that much for hard work.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:25 AM
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eh, if you never reach a point of fatigue with the weights you're using, that's no good, but unless someone points to a source, I'm skeptical that 50 quick reps of three pounds of three, or whichever, if you do break a sweat and do experience muscle fatigue, isn't doing anything. Hell, just holding your body in some strenuous position still for a long time with no weight but the weight of your body builds strength. I've been in cardio weight lifting classes that became very tiring with three pound weights and other cardio weight lifting classes in which I needed eight pounds; it depended on the speed and number of repetitions. If you do the motion fast, you need to be sure you have a weight at which you can maintain form. I felt cardiovascular exertion and muscle fatigue in all these classes (classes in which I lift three pounds and classes in which I lift eight), and I do get a lot stronger fast. I further have no objection to colored vinyl coated weights. I think they are more comfortable, and easier to sort in classes where people put weights away quickly, and the men in my classes use them happily too. Everyone always slags on them, so I thought I'd speak up.


Posted by: wee strength trainer | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:25 AM
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185: until they drop dead of a heart attack.

Seriously I think Kenyan marathoners are probably fine. But you have a long road to convince me that what e.g. triathletes and ultramarathoners do to themselves is remotely good for you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:26 AM
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Heh. I always use free weights at the gym (because the "fully adjustable" machines in the Nautilus circuit are too big for me), and the dumbbells below eight pounds are all brightly colored.

I thought they were brightly colored because they were for kids, not because they were for ladies.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:27 AM
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That said, aging hasn't been a problem for me, yet. I'm 31

HA HA HA. Commenting privileges on age-related threads begin at 36 for the physically active, 50 for the sedentary.

the one body I have is being slowly scraped away

True, and so sad.

I think you have to get more strategic about exercise as you get older. I'm having big problems because I relied so heavily on running for many years, and my body just can't handle it any more. I need to learn to swim, to get the self-discipline to go to gym-based classes like yoga, and ideally move someplace where great hiking is right nearby.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:27 AM
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But many elite athletes live very healthy lives. That is one reason why some of them are able to pursue their careers into their forties.

Like Bill Romanowski?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:27 AM
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186: The machines.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:28 AM
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191 was me.

I wonder if it might help men in particular if medicine was more hospitable to experimenting with (very) small doses of male hormones as you got older. Women have this with estrogen.

As I understand it, steroids help recuperation from injury, which is really the first thing to go.

I'm not talking about those crazy athletic/bodybuilder doses, just something that keeps you at something like your 35 year old levels. It might not even be a good idea, but it seems like the whole thing is so demonized that there aren't even good clinical trilas of the possibility.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:30 AM
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"many elite athletes" =/= "all elite athletes, even Bill Romanowski"


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:31 AM
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On the subject of the thread, I'm in my late twenties and I recently experienced knee trouble for the first time. Oh noes! I thought. I am going to die. The knee trouble persisted regularly for about two months, throbbing even at rest. This was in a period of not getting much exercise. As soon as I started getting strenuous exercise again, it stopped. I'm sitting right now with my knee bent under me--nary a complaint. So I'm not going to die after all. I don't know if more exercise would work for everyone who's complaining of joint trouble, but it appeared to work for me.


Posted by: wee strength trainer | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:31 AM
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Much like "getting a medical checkup", I don't know what the first step would be in the process known as "doing Pilates". Although I hear it's good for preventing some of the inevitable lower back pain which is associated with aging and has somehow not been mentioned in this thread yet.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:33 AM
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197: "walk through door of Pilates studio" is I think the generally accepted method. Before that you might try "find Pilates studio near you via google maps". None of the complicated scheduling related problems of medical checkups, which I agree are nigh-insurmountable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:38 AM
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I don't know if more exercise would work for everyone who's complaining of joint trouble, but it appeared to work for me.

My current, wholly ascientific theory on "bad knees" (based on a NYT article, I believe) is that they don't exist, and if my knees hurt I should use them more. We'll see how this works out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:39 AM
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See, I never would have thought the word "studio" would be involved.

Also, the nanny-state-like existence of a gym that I can go to for free, as a student, as well as basic preventive health care also being free, leads me to believe that in an ideal world this "Pilates" thing should also be free, making me irrationally loath to spend any money for it.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:40 AM
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PGD is losing his sex machine capability. Yes, testosterone might help. Though James Brown doesn't need it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:41 AM
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My mother says that chondroitin has made a world of difference with her achey joints.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:42 AM
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re: 199

My experience -- having a tear in the meniscus on one knee -- is that bad knees very definitely do exist, and can really bloody hurt. I go through phases where the knees feel great, and other phases where I wake up in the morning feeling like I might cry.

That said, I try to just keep doing the sport that I do anyway rather than give up due to bad knees. The physio I saw for a while reckoned that the knee would gradually heal and that the martial arts -- which place quite a bit of stress on the knees -- were probably helping rather than hindering. The physio also pretty much went along with the idea that I should gradually start working back into weight training and see how the knees go.

re: 202

When I remember to take it, it does seem to help with the knees, but I am the worlds worst person at taking medication. It's just as well I don't have any real illness.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:50 AM
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199: My father has had arthritis in his knees since his early 30s.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:50 AM
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203.1.2: yeah that's probably a more nuanced way of expressing my approximate thoughts on the subject.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:51 AM
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I thought they were brightly colored because they were for kids, not because they were for ladies.

(reaching for low hanging fruit)

Well, what is . . .

(pulling hand backward)

Not going to do it. Never be rude to women.

About joints and exercise. Again, it depends on what the problem is.

Many joint 'problems' are due to loose joints. Proper exercise can strengthen the surrounding muscles to tighten the joints. Stretched ligaments will also tend to tighten up, a little, over time.

BUT if you do what I did you will have trouble. I "got in shape" for softball with about a month of exercise. The problem was that my big muscles got in better shape than my small muscles. In my very first game I pushed sideways to get a ground ball and actually sprained not my ankle but the side of my foot! I was out for two weeks.

So if you are having joint problems then condition yourself, but start slowly and ease into it.

Another common "unbalanced muscles" problem is a pulled muscle. For example, the hamstring must be at least 50% as strong as the quads, otherwise it will fatigue sooner.

Imagine a sprinter with a fatigued hamstring. The powerful quad pulls the foot forward but the fatigued hamstring cannot relax correctly and both muscles pull at the same time. The quad 'wins' and the hamstring is 'pulled.' Ouch.

Proper muscle balance is important.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:53 AM
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I just learned that an ex-girlfriend (#2 in importance, I guess) is in town with her new husband and baby. I'm going to sneak out of the office and go to the gym and beat the shit out of something, possibly myself.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:55 AM
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so from what i read in the thread i think people complain about health problems young b/c of the exercise induced injuries
if you don't exercise you don't have injuries and stay pain and complaints free, like me
i'll be fit until 50 i guess, then i'll age rapidly and if won't die around 55 b/c of MS, then around 97 b/c of natural aging depending on what genes will prevail in me maternal or paternal
with exercise sure i can modify my maternal genes maybe gaining a longer life-span
but if i'll gain the injuries alongside i'd shorten my inherited longevity from my father's side, what a dilemma


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:56 AM
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207 i sympathize
stay the injuries free though


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 9:57 AM
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re: 205

The physio was also pretty clear that there are definitely things people with particular joint problems shouldn't do*, or should work towards with proper strength training, etc. Bad joints are definitely real.

But yeah, a lot of people use joint problems as a cop-out.

* our usual coach was away this week, and her 'deputy' was making us do a lot of plyometric training for jumping/mobility and I've woken up twice this week since in total fucking agony, so I'm pretty sure I can forget doing any plyometric work for a while ..


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:02 AM
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207: I feel for you. I was commenting to a friend last night that I figured UNG will be engaged to his new GF by the end of the year and was feeling pretty pleased at how okay I was with that and with the fact that the new GF is now part of Rory's life, too. And then my friend asked, "So, do you think they'll have kids?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:03 AM
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My current, wholly ascientific theory on "bad knees" (based on a NYT article, I believe) is that they don't exist, and if my knees hurt I should use them more.

Yeah, that's what I thought too. Then I had 80cc of fluid drawn from my knee and discovered I had arthritis. (The PA and doctor who drained my knee were so impressed by the amount of fluid in they were almost rooting for me to hit 100cc.)

Then again, I have risk factors for arthritis you probably don't.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:07 AM
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"Work through the pain", "Walk it off" etc. sometimes work and sometimes absolutely don't. Cartilagedoesn't regenerate, for one thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:09 AM
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The article Tweety linked in 189 has good bit of advice about getting a stress test before taking up training if you're over 40. 70s running guru Jim Fixx (whom, you may recall, my mom knew in a way no one else ever did) likely would have avoided having a fatal heart attack while running if he'd done so.

This thread has reminded me that I used to be able to do 100 pushups. I weep for my lost youth.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:10 AM
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re: 213

Actually, apparently, in a limited way, cartilage can. My physio explained to me that (with knee cartilage) the area around the edge of the meniscus has a pretty good blood supply and tears or damage there can heal. The area in the centre of the meniscus does not, and can't regenerate or heal.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:12 AM
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Fixx, Rodale, and Adele Davis all died inappropriately. That's a big challenge for coincidence theorists.

Qui bono?, I ask.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:13 AM
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A sport that I found worked very well as a late takeup (especially if you're on the heavy side) is crew. Non-impact and smallest weight penalty evah for a cardio sport (up to a point of course).

Raquetball also has some of the features of tennis. There is a well-established and generally effective old fart style once you have the shots. Doubles racquetball among us proto-elderly can approach ping pong in terms of the amount of running involved.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:15 AM
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Tripp has convinced me the wisest course of action is to lie down and wait for the end.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 10:54 AM
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218: Don't listen to him. It's a trick! I think he is operating as a Manchurian Commenter.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 12:02 PM
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I wonder if it might help men in particular if medicine was more hospitable to experimenting with (very) small doses of male hormones as you got older. Women have this with estrogen.

Not any more they don't. Supposedly bad for the heart, so forget pills; now you're lucky if they'll give you a patch.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 12:48 PM
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Qui bono?, I ask.

He hit a tree while skiing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 12:55 PM
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As I've mentioned before, if you're interested in weight training, ignore the bodybuilders and get a proper book like Zatsiorsky's Science and Practice of Strength Training.

Also, machines are largely shit, and to be avoided, especially for the big movements like bench, squat, etc. Leg press machines can be helpful, but as a supplement, not as a primary lift. Don't avoid the big lifts that incorporate multiple muscle groups. A large part of athletic strength is coordination of those muscle groups to accomplish a task.

If squats bother your knees, try deadlifts. IME they're nicer on the knees.

When you bench, lower the bar to your nipples, and push straight up. If the bar is unding up over your face, your're adding rotator cuff movement into that lift, and will likely live to regret it.

Try focusing individual workouts on a specific movement and the accessory muscles. i.e., stat the workout with bench, working up to several sets of 1-3 reps at the highest weight you can do, and then do work on triceps, shoulders, etc.

Similarly, do the same for legs by starting with heavy squat or deadlift, and then working lower back, quads, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 1:52 PM
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He hit a tree while skiing.

Like Michael Kennedy.

Coincidence? I think not. No one has ever been able to identify the "tree".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 1:55 PM
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Walt,

Tripp has convinced me the wisest course of action is to lie down and wait for the end.

"Start slow and then taper off" is what I always say.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:15 PM
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He hit a tree while skiing

Maybe meditating on that oft-repeated Charles Addams cartoon. First thing I thought of when I heard the news.

I was taught how to ski by the Ottawa Park District at Hogsback Road. I had cable bindings which could be clipped down for downhill and unclipped for cross-country techniques. We did a lot of ski skating. I was afraid of hitting trees but never did.

MC: Do teenagers still go to Camp Fortune?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:28 PM
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What I envy is that it seems like the post, at least, focuses on aging in terms of bodily strength and fitness, rather than looks. I'm trying *really hard* (and mostly succeeding) in making my own "omg I'm getting older" thing be about strength and fitness as well, but I have to confess that I've realized that I used to be slender enough that my shitty posture didn't make me look dumpy, and now, well, I'm not. And that *looking* dumpy bugs me a lot.

I also sent Ogged a panicked email a while back saying "omg my boobies are starting to look kind of saggy AHHHHHHHH!" Now, of course, I'm telling all of you.

When my ass starts to go I'm killing myself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:41 PM
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I also sent Ogged a panicked email a while back saying "omg my boobies are starting to look kind of saggy AHHHHHHHH!"

Heh. As a youth, I lamented the fact that I am not terribly well-endowed. ("Aerodynamic!") Turns out, this is a blessing in middle age. If the girls are sagging, well, the difference is miniscule.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:51 PM
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226: B, I know you mentioned doing yoga, and I've found personally that yoga has been a boon for my posture.

222: Also, have a spotter for bench press. I plateaued largely because I didn't feel comfortable enough with the weight I needed to be lifting to improve.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 3:58 PM
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re: 226

You can't really avoid the cosmetic aspect, though. Fit but fat is a real possibility -- I'd probably end up classed that way -- but what people see is the fat [and not the low blood pressure, near-zero cholesterol, good VO2 max, excellent liver/kidney/white-cell function, etc.].

Of course it's healthy not to fixate on cosmetics, but they're sort of unavoidable [unfortunately or not].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:01 PM
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Right, well, if I can stop slumping I'd still look pretty good. I don't mind being a li'l curvy.

Basically I'm having a crisis about this b/c I'm visiting the boyfriend, who is "shallow" by his own admission, and all the tall nordic women in Minneapolis make me feel dumpy.

Anyhoo, what I've been doing is biking a few times a week, plus weights once a week at the Y and yoga once or twice and I keep meaning to go to a pilates class even though they're scheduled at inconvenient times (early am or dinner hour). *Eventually* it'll be okay. Since I'm not highly motivated though, it's going to take a while. Unless I get a wild hare this summer and start doing shit every day.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:09 PM
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wild hare

wild hair


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:13 PM
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re: 230

Basically I'm having a crisis about this b/c I'm visiting the boyfriend, who is "shallow" by his own admission

Well, ditto (ish). I've been 'told' I need to lose weight for cosmetic reasons by, er, someone close to me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:13 PM
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230: d00d if u have new exersize plan w/ rabbits u need to share.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:27 PM
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what people see is the fat [and not the low blood pressure, near-zero cholesterol, good VO2 max, excellent liver/kidney/white-cell function, etc.].

I see a market for vanity medical tags.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:39 PM
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231: "Wild hair" makes no sense.

232: Ouch. At least the bf doesn't *say* anything. I can tell myself I'm just being paranoid....


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:43 PM
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231: That's because you left off the trailing "up my ass" that completes the traditional phrase, unless you are planning on doing weird things with rodents...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:44 PM
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Wild hare vs. wild hair.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:45 PM
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"wild hair up" returns 20x more pages than "wild hare up".


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:46 PM
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But rabbits aren't rodents.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:46 PM
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Pfft. Next you'll be telling me bats aren't bugs.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:47 PM
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237: Q.E.D.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:49 PM
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Plus anyway, how the fuck would one get a hair up one's ass? I will continue to maintain that "wild hair up one's ass" is senseless.

Whereas a "wild hare" running about--or even running up one's ass, since rabbits do like holes--is a nice visual metaphor. And in the latter case, even comically so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:51 PM
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running up one's ass, since rabbits do like holes--is a nice visual metaphor

[shudder]


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:52 PM
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Hands up anyone who's managed more than a ferret. Anyone?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:53 PM
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Someone please take our wholesome friend aside and tell her how one gets a hair up one's ass.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:55 PM
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239: Au contraire

A guide to former Eastern US Deciduous Forest wildlife.
Deer -> Rats with hooves
Squirrels -> Rats with bushy tails
Chipmunks -> Cute little rats until the cat gets them
Rabbits -> Rats with floppy ears
Raccoons -> Big smart rats
Groundhogs -> Big dumb rats
Bats -> Rats that fly (actually I rather like bats).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:56 PM
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And ask her to explain how the hare got there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:56 PM
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237: Q.E.D.

Except that 237 says you're wrong. Don't let that stop you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:57 PM
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Armadilloes -> armored rats
Possums -> undead partially decomposed rats


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:57 PM
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246: Rats are quite nice and cute.

245: I'm going to go way out on a limb here, John, and wager that I've had more things up my ass than you have. And yet, nary a hair among them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:58 PM
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In Chinese "squirrel" is songshu (pine rat). In Oregon we did have a bushy-tailed wood rat (= "pack rat") take over our cabin and start stealing and hiding little trinkets.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:58 PM
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I screamed like a little girl the first time I saw a possum in town, I thought it was a rat.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:59 PM
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I'm going to go way out on a limb here, John, and wager that I've had more things up my ass than you have.

Well, that joke just writes itself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:59 PM
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Some things are not really to brag about, B. A hare?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:59 PM
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248: As I read it, it says one can use either, and "wild hare" is more the kind of thing I meant. As is clear from context, if the reader is not determined to be dumb.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 4:59 PM
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Anyone here ever had a carp up their ass?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:00 PM
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Anyone here ever carpet their ass?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:02 PM
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"is a wild hare" is the sample usage, not "get a wild hare". Wrong, wrong, wrong, it'll improve posture to admit it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:02 PM
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249: Armadilloes -> armored Flat rats


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:02 PM
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You're all wrong, it's actually "wild Herr". It originally referred to Klaus Kinski.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:04 PM
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Nastassja, NSFW jailbait, is now 47. Boy, does that make me feel old.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:08 PM
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She has two goddamn adult kids.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:09 PM
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Whereas it makes me feel young! Yay.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:10 PM
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I'll always think of you as jailbait, B.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:18 PM
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Um.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:23 PM
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I'm 30, tall and skinny with a hummingbird metabolism and a massive prejudice towards slow-twitch muscle fibers - the kind of guy who didn't have any "explosiveness" to lose in the first place.

Aging has been way cool for me so far. I spent hours in the weight room in HS and college trying to build muscle - I wish someone had just been honest with me and said "buddy, wait ten years - it's just not happening." My basketball coach at least had the heart to tell me I'd be better at 40 than at 17.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:26 PM
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246:

Flying squirrels: Kawaii rats
Bears: things that scare the cat
Foxes: things that damage the cat
Skunks: things that spray the cat
Fishers: mythical arch-fiends


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:28 PM
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Whereas it makes me feel young! Yay

I don't think that Ms. Kinski is 47 in the linked picture, B. I'll bet she is hott, nonetheless.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:28 PM
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Hi Tom. Thanks for commenting, but there's already a Tom here, so you'll have to find a way to disambiguate.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:30 PM
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Flying squirrels: Kawaii rats
Bears: things that scare the cat
Foxes: things that damage the cat
Skunks: things that spray the cat
Fishers: mythical arch-fiends

Tires: things on your car that make contact with the road.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:34 PM
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btw, regarding fitness, I don't know a single person who runs 30 miles a week and isn't both slim and fit. It's about 4-5 hours a week, simple, and if you run slowly on soft surfaces (dirt, grass, track) you won't get hurt.

Of course, now here comes the comment from the person who disproves (legitimately) my pithy little advice.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:35 PM
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Crap. I'll be Tom 2. And that last post was from Tom 2...


Posted by: Tom 2 | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:36 PM
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btw, regarding fitness, I don't know a single person who runs 30 miles a week and isn't both slim and fit.

Do the words "selection bias" mean anything to you?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:44 PM
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You can be Tom 2refic. Unless you don't like the Mets.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:44 PM
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I've been working my way back into shape, and yeah, it's harder than it used to be when I was 20 years younger and 30 pounds lighter, but it's not THAT hard. But I'm another who was never much of a jock in the first place, so in some ways I'm more athletic now than I was at 18. I'm a lot slower now than I was then, but athletic stuff is more part of my life.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 5:47 PM
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Be 'Disambiguated Tom.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:00 PM
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Be "Matt Weiner".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:10 PM
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How about "Little Tom-Tit", in honor of your slender figure, and Gilbert&Sullivan.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:11 PM
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Or Tom-Tom.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:13 PM
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Tom 2, 273 is right about the anectdata problem there.

As for the putting on weight thing, you never really know. I knew a guy who went from 125lb to 190lb or so in college doing the same thing....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:13 PM
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"SomeCallMeTom"


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:16 PM
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'Bon Mot"


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:20 PM
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tom nob, read?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:24 PM
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Bon Tom


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:29 PM
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or Tom bon if it sounds better
well, my shuttle is coming


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:31 PM
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B, you might want to consider strength training, too, if you're not averse to gyms and weights.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:34 PM
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well, my shuttle is coming
Read's in space!


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 06-12-08 6:42 PM
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I don't know a single person who runs 30 miles a week and isn't both slim and fit. It's about 4-5 hours a week, simple, and if you run slowly on soft surfaces (dirt, grass, track) you won't get hurt.

It's not that simple. And I can guarantee that I'd get hurt. On the other hand, I already do about 3 - 5 hours of exercise a week and much of that at a significantly higher level of intensity than jogging and, without dietary changes, that level of exercise alone doesn't really cut it as a weight loss system.

The selection bias comment about is right.

As for the putting on weight thing, you never really know. I knew a guy who went from 125lb to 190lb or so in college doing the same thing....

Yeah, I did something similar. 125/130 to about 175/180 in about 2 years. Largely muscle though, I went from a 28 inch waist to a 30, I think, in the same period.

Then, about 10 years later,* 175/180 to about 220 -- largely all flab. Grr.

* thanks graduate school!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-13-08 12:43 AM
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I've had more things up my ass than you have. And yet, nary a hair among them.

If your list includes what springs to most people's minds first, then chances are you have, actually.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-13-08 12:56 AM
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Is there a Godwin-type law regarding the probability of any e-conversation turning to anal sex?


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-13-08 2:15 AM
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I can't be the only one who's changed a nappy and found a hair coming out of the baby's bottom? (Bottom is the only appropriate word for a baby.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-13-08 10:21 AM
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It's your own fault for feeding him those chest hairs along with the breast milk.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06-13-08 10:32 AM
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