Later On

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

Archive for October 15th, 2022

Why I reactivated the function on my smartwatch that tells me that I’ve been sitting too long and it’s time to move around a bit

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I’m gradually working my way through the book Undo It!, by Dean Ornish MD and Anne Ornish. Ornish, like Greger, endorses lifestyle medicine to prevent and treat chronic diseases since research has shown that this approach is in general more effective and less costly than attempting to treat the diseases with medications.

For one thing, changes in lifestyle have only benign side effects, whereas some of the side effects of medications can be harmful or at least bothersome. Moreover, when someone takes medication to treat a chronic disease (such as hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and others), they generally must continue the medication indefinitely — and some medications are expensive.

Ornish, like Greger, recommends a whole-food plant-based diet (since a ton of research has shown that the diet is optimal in terms of health) and also a regular program of exercise such as walking, running, bicycling, and so on. Ornish, however, adds two more recommendations:

  1. Stress management — learning how to reduce stress by avoiding occasions of stress when possible and also by using techniques such as meditation and yoga. The book explains why: stress is destructive to health, causing a cascade of ill effects in one’s body (and mind).
  2. Love, intimacy, and social connection —  LISC, as Ornish calls it, more or less acts as the opposite of stress, increasing one’s resilience, promoting a healthy response in the body, and minimizing the risk of loneliness and depression, both of which cause damaging physical changes in the body.

Both my Amazfit devices have a feature that I believe is fairly common among smartwatches. I can turn on a “move reminder.” After I’ve been sitting an hour, the reminder will vibrate to tell me it’s time to move. I have set that to run from 8:00am to 9:00pm, and when I get the signal, I do get up and move around, generally to do some household tasks. (I also do Nordic walking each day.)

I had turned this off because if I’m reading or writing, I don’t like to interrupt it, but I turned it back on after reading this passage in Chapter 2 of Undo It!

Undo It! (Ornish, Dean)

– Your Highlight on page 45 | Location 1042-1082 | Added on Saturday, October 15, 2022 9:38:06 PM

Being sedentary enhances stasis and illness. One of the reasons exercise is beneficial in so many ways is that it literally and figuratively keeps everything moving. Your heart pumps blood with sufficient force to circulate your blood throughout your arteries, but the pressure in your veins is substantially lower. 

When you exercise—walking, for example—the muscles in your arms and legs help to squeeze blood through your veins. It’s one reason the Queen’s Guards outside of Buckingham Palace in London are taught to bounce up and down on their toes when standing in one place for prolonged periods of time—otherwise, the blood would pool in their legs and they would pass out. In 2017, five guards actually did faint from standing around too long. 

Spending a lot of time sitting increases your risk of a stroke due to blood clot formation. According to some studies, it increases your risk of premature death from all causes as much as smoking does! 

Sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Those who sit the most have a 147 percent increased relative risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who sit the least. 

Women who sit more than six hours a day are 37 percent more likely to die prematurely than those who sit less than three hours a day, even if they exercise regularly. The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. 

The combination of both sitting more than six hours a day and being less physically active was associated with a 94 percent increase in all-cause premature death rates in women and a 48 percent increase in men compared with those who reported sitting less than three hours a day and being most active. 

Why? Because even if you exercise at the gym after work, your blood has not been flowing very well earlier in the day while you’ve been sitting, which increases the likelihood of a blood clot forming during that time. Also, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and other biomarkers are higher in people who are sedentary. 

Researchers recently found that sitting for several hours at a desk significantly reduced blood flow to the brain. However, getting up and taking just a two-minute walk every half hour actually increased the brain’s blood flow. 

We’ve evolved to move and forage much of the time (e.g., walking) and also to have bursts of intense exercise. Our muscles have both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers. So work out regularly and avoid prolonged sitting. Studies show that both are important. 

One study found that the more breaks you take during the day after sitting for twenty minutes—even just getting up, walking around a minute or two, and sitting down again—the better your health. On average, each additional ten breaks per day were associated with 0.8 cm lower waist circumference, 0.3 mm lower systolic blood pressure, 3.7 percent lower triglycerides, 0.6 percent lower glucose, and 4.2 percent lower insulin. 

Talk on a portable phone so you can walk around your office while having conversations—and your energy level will likely be higher as well. Take a break from sitting every twenty or thirty minutes. If you work at a desk, try a standing desk, or improvise with a high table or counter. Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room. I invested in a treadmill desk so I can walk while doing my email or talking on the phone. 

Some of the reasons not moving your body increases the risk of so many different illnesses are the effects of being sedentary on your lymphatic system—the garbage sewers of your body. It helps rid your body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. Besides the lymphatic vessels, your lymphatic system includes your tonsils, appendix, thymus, and spleen. These are important parts of your immune system. 

The primary function of your lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. When cells in your immune system have gone to battle, the dead cells are removed via your lymphatics. 

Lymph is then transported through larger lymphatic vessels to lymph nodes, where it is cleaned by white blood cells called lymphocytes. After that, lymph continues down your lymphatic system before emptying ultimately into the right or the left subclavian vein on either side of your neck. 

Pressure in your lymphatic system is even lower than in your veins [and the lymphatic system does not have the benefit of a heart muscle – LG] and relies on the contraction of your skeletal muscles—as happens in walking, for example—to squeeze the lymphatic fluid along. Also, when you take a deep breath, your diaphragm and lungs act as a bellows mechanism that changes pressure at the thoracic duct to pump the lymphatic system. 

When people are sedentary, and when they breathe in a shallow way (which is common when they feel chronically stressed), their muscles aren’t contracting enough to keep their lymph flowing. Because of this, the lymph can leak into their tissues and cause swelling, or edema, which predisposes them to illness. Also, when lymph is not flowing, it can leak back into the blood, causing inflammation and other problems.

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2022 at 10:05 pm

Coming Home: Matthew McConaughey and the Uvalde shooting

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Matthew McConaughey was raised in Uvalde, and the school shooting — the massacre — there hit him hard. He wrote a strong article that appeared in Esquire and begins:

Writing this story was hard. It’s personal—for me, but more so for the victims and their families, who have paid the ultimate cost. Which is why I’ve hesitated to write it. Observing from the front lines, then sharing what I saw—it makes me feel a bit like a fraud. Am I trespassing? Sharing sacred secrets that are not my stories to tell? I hope not.

It was 9:00 on a humid night in May, a Tuesday, and I had just finished a full day’s work at a studio in Austin. I checked my phone for the first time since early that morning and found it flooded with emails, texts, and voicemails.

“So sorry.”

“Oh my God, Matthew, it’s so sickening what happened.”

“Baby, I read the news, call me.”

The last message was from my wife, Camila.

I checked my newsfeed. Shit. Not again. Mass shooting. This time in Uvalde, Texas, my hometown. At Robb Elementary, less than a mile from where I went to school and my mom taught kindergarten. Twenty-one confirmed deaths, all but two of them children.

I called Camila. She was in London, where it was three in the morning, but she picked up on the first ring. “We need to go down there,” she said. She wasn’t asking or suggesting. “Yes,” I said, still in shock. “We do.”

With a tragedy this immense, you may not know what to do or how to do it, but the where, the when, and the why are clear. This would be a journey with a one-way ticket. We had no sense of how long we’d go for, nor a plan beyond showing up. But we knew that if we did, purpose would intercept us.

Camila caught the next flight to Texas. Early on Thursday morning, we dropped the kids off with friends, then made our way south.

I was heading home. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2022 at 9:52 am

A non-sweet Orange Vanilla

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I had expected this shave stick from Mystic Water to have a sweet fragrance, but to my surprise, the fragrance seemed more serious, with a dark, masculine vibe. The fragrance I experienced could be the effect of age (of the shave stick and/or myself), but it was a far cry from the somewhat cloying fragrance I anticipated — and a pleasant surprise. The first thing in the morning is for me not a good time for sweetness. 

The lather was strikingly good. After rubbing the stick against the grain over my pre-shave stubble, I brushed vigorously with the damp Mühle gen 2 synthetic, and immediately the lather arose. I brushed it over and into all my stubble, and found that the lather became thick and dense — much as though I had spread shaving cream in a thin layer over my face with a palette knife.

So I wet the brush a little more with a heavy driblet of water, and the dense deposit of shaving cream lightened into lather — a very pleasant lather with the fragrance as descrbed.

My 1940s Gillette Aristocrat was on its best behavior today — razors do like a fresh blade, and I believe I replaced the blade in this razor just a few shaves ago. I easily and comfortably produced a perfect result in three passes.[

I chose Myrsol’s Lemon Water to carry forward the citrus theme, and it was a pleasant choice. I applied a good splash mixed with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and now I’m ready for the weekend.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s 1894 Select Orange Pekoe: “A union of bright Ceylon and rich Assam teas, this strong, traditional blend is designed to celebrate and elevate the everyday ‘cuppa’ tea.”

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2022 at 8:41 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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