Saturday, April 25, 2020

Eradicating the real pandemic

A recent news article had an eye-catching headline of Nearly All Patients Hospitalized With Covid-19 Had Chronic Health Issues, Study Finds.  I was curious so decided to read more.

The next sentence in the article stated that “Only 6 percent of patients at one New York area health system had no chronic conditions.  Hypertension, obesity and diabetes were common.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. It’s a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief, the prevalence of obesity in America was 42.4 percent in 2017-2018.  Furthermore, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5 percent to 42.4 percent in a short 8-year time period ending in 2018.

This suggests that the real American pandemic is obesity.

How many Coronavirus deaths could have been avoided if Americans weren’t obese?

While some have attempted to define obesity as a disease, the prevalent conclusion is that it’s not; therefore, it’s preventable.  

Maybe America should concentrate on eradicating obesity much like it’s doing with Coronavirus.  If obesity is eliminated or substantially reduced, then there should be corresponding decreases in hypertension and diabetes.  

And, since obesity, hypertension and diabetes appear to be the common chronic conditions prevalent in Coronavirus hospital patients (i.e., those more likely to die), it seems logical reducing obesity will reduce Coronavirus-related deaths, and deaths from whatever happens to be the next great pandemic.  

Why don’t we use the same approaches in ridding American obesity that are being done with the Coronavirus?  You know, like shelter in place and practicing safe social distancing, closing businesses and controlling what people can do and where they can go.  Maybe it’ll work.

Imagine a national obesity-related shelter in place public health directive and mandate preventing all Americans from eating excessively?  Yes, all Americans and not just those suffering from obesity because the ones who aren’t would be at risk from possibly eating excessively by being in close community eating contact with those who are obese.  

Of course, there would have to be exceptions for those people considered “minimum essential” during this obesity pandemic shelter in place.  They would be free to eat whatever they want.  Government officials, law enforcement officers, health care professionals and a few others would be classified as minimum essential, similar the current minimum essential crowd coexisting during the current Coronavirus shelter in place mandates across America.

These lucky folks would be able to eat all they want at buffets and doughnut shops remaining open just for them.  But for everyone else, obese people and others, these places would be off limits; anyone caught there and violating this public health mandate would be subject to fines or jail time.  Violating the mandate would be a misdemeanor appearing in published public crime records and reports.

Safe social distancing would be required for everyone except the minimum essential elite.  Everyone would have to keep at least six feet away from an excessive serving size plate of food and no exceptions would be allowed.

And to protect everyone, a face mask would have to be worn with a small opening at the mouth.  You could only eat food when wearing this mask.   This would help protect against eating more food than permissible by the national public health directive and mandate.

There would likely be other mandates that our government public health officials, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the CDC would dictate in their valiant efforts to eradicate our American obesity pandemic.

Such as businesses not being open and people being unable to resume a normal lifestyle until there was a measured remarkable decrease in American obesity.  It wouldn't matter if our American economy takes a nosedive crash resulting in rampant unemployment and substantial financial strife for most people.   The government would just approve a multi-trillion dollar relief package to hold everyone over until the obesity pandemic dust settled.

After all, it's just money, digitized and printed by the stroke of key on a computer keypad from some financial ivory tower where these money supply shenanigans take place.

The notion that this might drive some people to depression and even suicide would be nothing more than an afterthought in the minds of government public health officials.  After all, preventing deaths of obese people is all that matters, and not overloading the elevators of hospitals from transporting obese people to and from hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units located on different floors.

Before the shelter in place and other mandates could be lifted, there would have to be widespread testing to prove a flattening of the obesity curve is taking place.  People would have to submit to waist circumference measurements and being weighed so that their Body Mass Index (BMI) could be calculated.  

Public health officials would record these measures and there would be several websites you could visit to determine how the hot spots in the country were doing during the obesity pandemic. 

There would be daily press conferences by our elected officials, and there’d be no shortage of social media activity such as the Twitter crowd critics constantly bombarding and criticizing what our President is doing and failing to do during this obesity pandemic.

None of this would matter because it would only matter that we eradicate American obesity.

And, unfortunately, non-obese healthy Americans would have to go along for the ride.

Makes me think about what’s going on with this current Coronavirus pandemic that perhaps we shouldn’t put the cart before the horse and instead be focusing on and eradicating the real pandemic.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Elation constellation

Middle-age men across America, and frankly around the world, have been chicken-cooped up inside in safe shelter in place mode much too long for their primal liking. It’s a matter of time before they throw up their arms in disgust, protest and revolt and begin shouting, “Enough is enough!” 

After all, it’s one month into Spring 2020, the weather continues getting nicer each day and outdoor activity needs aren’t being satisfied by peeking outside from the living room window watching the birds, butterflies and squirrels fly and climb about. 

This shelter in place quarantine isn’t good for middle-age man self-esteem and it's creating a proclivity for random nonsense and relentless restlessness.

Middle-age men unreleased pent-up energy is creating various behaviors and feelings, some which are unfamiliar or unidentifiable.

At times, they might be in a frantic panic.

Or, they might be feeling melancholy, by golly.

And, after watching too many hours of fake news on television, they might be spewing snarky malarkey.

Any which way you look at it, they're envisioning an end to what they’re experiencing. They want to be released into the wild, shelter in place chains unshackled, and free to roam from here to there.

They yearn for a normalcy that creates an aura of middle-age man energy and joy like an elation constellation.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 20, 2020

Severe enthusiasm deficit

Photo in graduate psychology textbook of middle-aged man 
afflicted with a case of Sunday severe enthusiasm deficit.
As I was sitting on my butt yesterday doing absolutely nothing, it dawned on me that I was afflicted with a Stage 4 case of Sunday lethargy. It happens every now and then and maybe more often for middle-age men. We sometimes don’t have the gumption to go here and there, doing this and that like we did in our olden days when younger.

I’m sure some middle-age men are still doing the Sunday full-throttle thing, but I’ll also venture to say that many have discovered the joy of a good Sunday sit.

It seems, though, my Sunday sit was more intense, both in duration and pleasure. I was suffering from delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from consecutive days of kettlebell training on Friday and Saturday after having not swung my bells in a while. 

I was sore in all the typical places you’d expect to be from a good kettlebell workout – traps, back, arms and legs – but nothing extremely painful to be concerned about; rather, nice sensations that I had worked muscle areas that hadn’t been worked in a while from the other fitness training I’ve been doing of late.

The great plan I had of going on a longer-duration Sunday run wasn't going to happen and this I realized early in the morning. Thoughts of keeping it Sunday simple danced in my mind of doing a relaxing middle-age man trilogy of “eat, shit and sleep” done with a wash, rinse, and repeat cadence throughout the day.  

As the day wore on, it seemed like a little more pep started to surface but nothing of enormity making me want to redeem myself in the physical fitness department. It was destined to be a complete day of rest; after all, my body needed it and who am I do disregard the obvious cues it gives me that my Sunday was destined to be a rest and recovery day.

Still, though, there was an emerging mid-afternoon urge I felt to do something like, perhaps, go for a walk and work out some of my lingering DOMS. 

But it never happened because this emerging urge to do something was met by a more formidable and stronger force of something I experienced that can best be described as severe enthusiasm deficit.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, April 17, 2020

Real men do burpees

I may have shared before, but pardon me if I didn’t, that one of my current goals is to perform 100 burpees in 10 minutes or less. My best modern time thus far is 11:53 so I have a way to go. It gets harder as you get older or at least that’s my excuse.

There’s no shortage of burpees junkies sharing their amazing performances on YouTube and the videos I view are a source of inspiration.  Yet, while they inspire me, I must pursue my progress within my own middle-age man abilities, limitations and terms.  

I’m not going to bang out 100 burpees in 6 to 8 minutes no matter how hard I train and try. But, a 10-minute goal is a sensible one so that’s what I’m shooting for by the end of Summer 2020. First stop, however, is completing 100 burpees in 11:00 or less. I hope to be there by the first day of Summer 2020 so that gives me two months to progress at a pleasant pace.

If you view YouTube burpees videos, you’ll see a couple different variations. One is the original burpee that was designed as a fitness test by physiologist Mr. Royal H. Burpee.

The original burpee

Other versions include ones adding a pushup and a jump with arms extended overhead, Navy Seals’ burpees and prison burpees. 

I prefer the version that includes a pushup and a jump with arms extended overhead jump for each burpee done. They’re all good and tough as can be if you do them fast enough and for many repetitions.

Why do I bother, or punish myself, doing burpees?  

Because they keep me honest that, no matter how fit I believe I am, burpees remind me that maybe I could be a little fitter. Not that being a little fitter makes me any better of a person. If I’m a jerk, doing a bazillion burpees won’t make me any less of a jerk.

Nonetheless, I’ll keep on doing burpees because real men do burpees.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Blame it on the Coronavirus

Throughout the history of mankind, men and women have found auditory solace in music and lyrics, sung from the heart and soul by professionals and amateurs alike, sharing a feeling, reflection and/or a sentiment about life lived, life living and life wanting to live.

It provides a time out from the burdens and toils of our now life that, at times, can be overwhelming.  Like the Coronavirus Pandemic gripping our nation and the world, and the media’s never-ending bombardment of one doom and gloom bad story after another.

There will one day be light at the end of our Coronavirus tunnel.  We will one day soon find our pot of gold at the end of a rainbow - a normalcy that we yearn to return to - waiting for us.  We’ll all be ready.

Until then, in moments of shelter in place fatigue, when we’re afflicted with a serious case of stir-crazy syndrome and despair, let’s sing some music. How about this one – a parody sung to the classic 1963 song sung by the late Edyie Gorme named Blame it on the Bossa Nova, except let’s call it Blame it on the Coronavirus.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum