Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 26th, 2018

“Aerobics” revisited and my current Aerobics score

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I first read Ken Cooper’s book Aerobics when it was published in mass-market paperback format in 1968. I recall working to achieve the amount of exercise he recommended to trigger the “training effect,” in which the body responds by increasing lung capacity, strengthening the heart to pump more blood on demand, expanding the capillary network to deliver more oxygen to muscles, increasing the volume of blood in the body, etc.. As he points out, the training effect requires cardio (aerobic) exercise—exercise that pushes one to consume more oxygen for an extended period of time. He found that an exercise that increases your heart rate to an average of 150 beats per minute and maintains that for 5 minutes, the training effect will begin and will continue as you continue exercising. If the exercise doesn’t raise your pulse rate to that level, then it takes longer for the training effect to begin.

To determine your current level of fitness, you can use Cooper’s 12-minute test. This test is particularly useful if you have been, say, lifting weights and believe that strength implies fitness. You can take the 12-minute test to see how fit you are. The test itself is simply to determine how much distance you can cover in 12 minutes, so it’s best to do it on a track where the measurements are known (one lap being 440 yards). More at the link, including how to interpret test results.

To make it easier to figure out how long you must do an exercise, he assigned point values to different exercises, and he recommended a minimum of 35 points a week for men, 27 points per week for women, attained, for example, by jogging two miles in 20 minutes four times a week or bicycling seven miles in 28 minutes four times a week on a three-speed bicycle. He specifically recommends exercising at least 4 days a week and at most 6 days a week: that ensures that you exercise with adequate frequency and provides at least one rest day a week.

Fortunately, Ken Cooper’s exercise tables are on-line and easily found in a search, and I discovered this entry for walking 4.1 miles (which, according to, is the length of my current route).

Since my time is currently around 1:10:00 to 1:15:00, I’m getting 7.2 points of aerobic exercise each day I walk. In reading Cooper’s most recent book, I decided to heed his admonition not to exercise 7 days a week, so I’m cutting back to 6 days a week: 43.2 points per week. (See also this interview with Cooper, in which he advises not overdoing it.)

So I’m getting 8.2 points more than the minimum for men, every week. That’s good, but it gets even better. The 43.2 points per week is a significant underestimate because I am doing Nordic walking, which burns about 20% more calories than regular walking (according to tests done by the Cooper Institute) “without significantly affecting the rate of perceived exertion by the participants.”

Cooper’s points are derived directly from calories burned, and burning 20% more calories doing Nordic walking means that Nordic walking provides 20% more points than regular walking.

20% more than 43.2 points is 1.2 * 43.2 = 51.8 points, and that many points per week is comfortably more than my minimum requirement of 35 points per week (the minimum required to get the benefits of the training effect). And I have indeed noticed evidence of the training effect — for example, the time it takes me to complete the route has steadily dropped.

I think I can safely say that I no longer am sedentary. However, I should point out the health risks of abruptly stopping a walking program.

BTW, the book still reads quite well and the the Cooper Institute is still a going thing. It’s worth looking into. You can get secondhand copies of Cooper’s books cheaply.

And I do highly recommend Nordic walking. My slogan is “Make any repeated task enjoyable!Nordic walking poles made “getting sufficient weekly exercise points” enjoyable.

If you must do some task repeatedly, it’s important to make the task something you enjoy. I had to shave every day, so I figured out a way to make shaving enjoyable (see the Guide). I must eat healthful foods, so I found a way to make healthful foods enjoyable (i.e., tasty). Those food must be prepared right to be tasty, so I found a way to make cooking enjoyable. I must exercise so I looked for a way to make exercise enjoyable. And so on. It you must do some task repeatedly, it’s worth your effort to make doing it enjoyable. If you get pleasure from doing it, you are drawn to doing it.

If you don’t make the task enjoyable, then doing it requires willpower, either active willpower or willpower congealed into habit. In either case, each time you do the task, you decide whether to do it or not, measuring benefit against effort, always with the temptation to skip it “this time.” That problem does not arise if you actively enjoy doing the task.

Update: One occasionally sees a recommendation of 2000 calories of exercise per week. Gretchen Reynolds reports in the NY Times in May 2014:

The idea that we should burn at least 2,000 calories a week during exercise seems to have originated in data gathered decades ago as part of the Harvard Alumni Study. That study followed male Harvard graduates for as long as 50 years, tracking how they lived and died. One of the first publications based on the data, appearing in 1978, showed that the older alumni who expended less than 2,000 calories a week in exercise were at 64 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack than those who burned 2,000 calories a week or more during exercise. It’s worth noting that the researchers’ definition of exercise in this study was generous, including climbing stairs and walking around the block, as well as playing sports or jogging.

Widely reported at the time, the 2,000-calorie guideline still gets bandied about today. But the current exercise guidelines from the federal government, based on a large body of recent scientific evidence, emphasize time, not calories, and recommend that healthy adults engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking [3mph or faster – LG] or cycling.

Adhering to these guidelines means that most of us would burn about 1,000 calories per week in planned exercise, said Michael J. Joyner, an exercise researcher at the Mayo Clinic. And with the stairs we climb and chores we do, we come closer to that 2,000 calorie a week number, he said.

But we don’t have to fret about actually reaching it. Meeting the current guidelines for 150 minutes or five brisk 30-minute walks per week is enough, he concluded. “The added health benefits start to level off after that.”

My moderate-intensity exercise is Nordic walking, and I do that 390 minutes per week rather than 150. Moreover, a “brisk walk” is 3 mph, and my current speed is 3.8 mph (thus more intensity), and in addition I’m Nordic walking rather than regular walking, and that also increases the intensity. So by this measure as well I’m getting sufficient exercise.

Update 2: The 10,000-steps-per-day goal, as most people probably know, is arbitrary and was created as a marketing idea to get people to buy pedometers (since only with a pedometer can you determine whether you are taking that many steps or not). Knowing that 10,000 steps/day is arbitrary, I ignored it. My initial goal was time, not steps, and I started with 20 minutes a day. As I worked out a good route, that went to 25 minutes and then 30 minutes. Around then I got my Nordic walking poles and started to really enjoy my walk, and also a pedometer app. So I set a daily goal of 5000 steps.

But because I enjoyed walking so much, my walks became longer, and now I walk 66 minutes a day, and I easily meet my new goal of 8000 steps/day. And I find I walk at a cadence of 109-110 steps/minute.

Written by Leisureguy

26 August 2018 at 3:34 pm

When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers

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Gustavo Arellano reports at NPR:

Randy Carter is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and has notched some significant credits during his Hollywood career. Administrative assistant on The Conversation. Part of the casting department for Apocalypse Now. Longtime first assistant director on Seinfeld. Work on The Blues BrothersThe Godfather II and more.

But the one project that Carter regrets never working on is a script he wrote that got optioned twice but was never produced. It’s about the summer a then-17-year-old Carter and thousands of American teenage boys heeded the call of the federal government … to work on farms.

The year was 1965. On Cinco de Mayo, newspapers across the country reported that Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz wanted to recruit 20,000 high schoolers to replace the hundreds of thousands of Mexican agricultural workers who had labored in the United States under the so-called Bracero Program. Started in World War II, the program was an agreement between the American and Mexican governments that brought Mexican men to pick harvests across the U.S. It ended in 1964, after years of accusations by civil rights activists like Cesar Chavez that migrants suffered wage theft and terrible working and living conditions.

But farmers complained — in words that echo today’s headlines — that Mexican laborers did the jobs that Americans didn’t want to do, and that the end of the Bracero Program meant that crops would rot in the fields.

Wirtz cited this labor shortage and a lack of summer jobs for high schoolers as reason enough for the program. But he didn’t want just any band geek or nerd — he wanted jocks.

“They can do the work,” Wirtz said at a press conference in Washington, D.C., announcing the creation of the project, called A-TEAM — Athletes in Temporary Employment as Agricultural Manpower. “They are entitled to a chance at it.” Standing beside him to lend gravitas were future Baseball Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Warren Spahn and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown.

Over the ensuing weeks, the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture, and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness bought ads on radio and in magazines to try to lure lettermen. “Farm Work Builds Men!” screamed one such promotion, which featured 1964 Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte.

The migrant labor barracks where Randy Carter and his high school classmates lived during the summer of 1965 were still standing in 1992, when Carter took this photo. Carter says the barracks had no insulation and no air conditioning, with “nighttime temperatures in the 90s.”

Local newspapers across the country showcased their local A-TEAM with pride as they left for the summer. The Courier of Waterloo, Iowa, for instance, ran a photo of beaming, bespectacled but scrawny boys boarding a bus for Salinas, where strawberries and asparagus awaited their smooth hands. “A teacher-coach from [the nearby town of] Cresco will serve as adviser to all 31,” students, the Courier reassured its readers.

But the national press was immediately skeptical. “Dealing with crops which grow close to the ground requires a good deal stronger motive” than money or the prospects of a good workout, argued a Detroit Free Press editorial. “Like, for instance, gnawing hunger.”

Despite such skepticism, Wirtz’s scheme seemed to work at first: About 18,100 teenagers signed up to join the A-TEAM. But only about 3,300 of them ever got to pick crops.

One of them was Carter.

He was a junior at the now-closed University of San Diego High School, an all-boys Catholic school in Southern California. About 25 of his classmates decided to sign up for the A-TEAM because, as he recalls with a laugh more than 50 years later, “We thought, ‘I’m not doing anything else this summer, so why not?’ ”

Funny enough, Carter says none of the recruits from his school — himself included — were actually athletes: “The football coach told [the sportsters], ‘You’re not going. We’ve got two-a-day practices — you’re not going to go pick strawberries.”

Students from across the country began showing up on farms in Texas and California at the beginning of June. Carter and his classmates were assigned to pick cantaloupes near Blythe, a small town on the Colorado River in the middle of California’s Colorado Desert.

He remembers the first day vividly. Work started before dawn, the better to avoid the unforgiving desert sun to come. “The wind is in your hair, and you don’t think it’s bad,” Carter says. “Then you go out in the field, and the first ray of sun comes over the horizon. The first ray. Everyone looked at each other, and said, ‘What did we do?’ The thermometer went up like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. By 9 a.m., it was 110 degrees.”

An exterior view of the barracks where Carter and his classmates lived for the summer, pictured in 1992. Carter says even in 1965, the housing was dilapidated.

Garden gloves that the farmers gave the students to help them harvest lasted only four hours, because the cantaloupe’s fine hairs made grabbing them feel like “picking up sandpaper.” They got paid minimum wage — $1.40 an hour back then — plus 5 cents for every crate filled with about 30 to 36 fruits. Breakfast was “out of the Navy,” Carter says — beans and eggs and bologna sandwiches that literally toasted in the heat, even in the shade.

The University High crew worked six days a week, with Sundays off, and they were not allowed to return home during their stint. The farmers sheltered them in “any kind of defunct housing,” according to Carter — old Army barracks, rooms made from discarded wood, and even buildings used to intern Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Problems arose immediately for the A-TEAM nationwide. In California’s Salinas Valley, 200 teenagers from New Mexico, Kansas and Wyoming quit after just two weeks on the job. “We worked three days and all of us are broke,” the Associated Press quoted one teen as saying. Students elsewhere staged strikes. At the end, the A-TEAM was considered a giant failure and was never tried again.

This experiment quickly disappeared into the proverbial dustbin of history. In fact, when Stony Brook University history professor Lori A. Flores did research for what became her award-winning 2016 book, Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement, she discovered the controversy for the first time. Until then, the only time she had heard of any A-TEAM, she now says with a laugh, “was the TV show.”

Flores thinks the program deserves more attention from historians and the public alike.

“These [high school students] had the words and whiteness to say what they were feeling and could act out in a way that Mexican-Americans who had been living this way for decades simply didn’t have the power or space for the American public to listen to them,” she says. “The students dropped out because the conditions were so atrocious, and the growers weren’t able to mask that up.”

She says the A-TEAM “reveals a very important reality: It’s not about work ethic [for undocumented workers]. It’s about [the fact] that this labor is not meant to be done under such bad conditions and bad wages.”

Carter agrees.

“If we took a vote that first day, we would’ve left,” he says of his friends. “But it literally became a thing of pride. We weren’t going to be fired, and we weren’t going to quit. We were going to finish it.”

The students tried to make the most of their summer. On their Sundays off, they would swim in irrigation canals or hitchhike into downtown Blythe and try to get cowboys to buy them a six-pack of beer. Each high school team was supposed to have a college-age chaperone, but Carter said theirs would “be there for a day, and then disappear to go to Mexico or surfing.”

Carter and his classmates still talk about their A-TEAM days at every class reunion. “We went through something that you can’t explain to anyone, unless you were out there in that friggin’ heat,” the 70-year-old says. “It could only be lived.”

But he says the experience also taught them

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

26 August 2018 at 12:29 pm

Mr Pomp, Kell’s Original Energy shave stick, X3, and Krampert’s Finest Acadia Bay Rum

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I bought this before Kell’s Original started using waterproof labels, and it is now difficult to read. It’s this shave stick, and the fragrance is described:

Energy – A stimulating blend of Citrus, including Grapefruit, Lemon and Lime, with hints of fresh Cucumber and Jasmine, and a touch of Pineapple, Blackberry and Champagne. Energy is an exciting mix that’s perfect for spring and summer.

Kell also offers soaps in tins with interesting ingredients. This stick seems to be a glycerin soap, though it may include hempseed oil, as some of his soaps do. In any event, the lather was excellent, and I really like the Energy fragrance.

Three passes with the iKon Shavecraft X3, here on a UFO handle, and then a splash of Krampert’s Finest Acadian Bay Rum, very moisturizing despite being a splash. (“Moisturizing” is something I associate more with aftershave balms and milks.) This is the aftershave that made me develop a habit of shaking well any aftershave splash before applying: it never hurts, and some aftershaves need it—and Krampert’s Finest does.

Written by Leisureguy

26 August 2018 at 8:22 am

Posted in Shaving

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