Excuse me while I dust off the treadmill
February 23, 2013 8:34 AM   Subscribe

What will your last ten years look like? A powerful PSA that will get you off your couch. Another health-related PSA that will make you cry.
posted by desjardins (83 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
I guess I'm fucked -- my life already looks like the poor bastard on the right.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:38 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's inspired me to get up off this couch put on my trainers and top myself.
posted by fullerine at 8:38 AM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


/orders sunscreen.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:43 AM on February 23, 2013


Like this.
posted by Decani at 8:43 AM on February 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


What will your last ten years look like? A powerful PSA that will get you off your couch. make most people change the channel.
posted by Fizz at 8:45 AM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Riding a bike one 15 minute errand per day will get you your minimum recommended daily exercise.
posted by anthill at 8:56 AM on February 23, 2013


Seriously, dudes, especially those of you assuming that Medicine will fix it all:

I'm the guy who will be your doctor sooner than either of us would want, and you need to understand that the most beneficial, the most life-saving, and sometimes the only treatments available to prevent decades of sickness and disability are the foods you eat and the things you do.
posted by The White Hat at 9:00 AM on February 23, 2013 [50 favorites]


A powerful PSA that will get you off your couch

I guess I'm fucked, because I react really negatively to this kind of thing. Oh well, have fun when I'm gone.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a person in, or soon approaching , his last ten years this video could not be more spot on--the differences among my acquaintances/friends/peers who have stayed active/maintained reasonable weight and the inactive is huge. Joke though you might, deny as you will but such is the quality of everyday life (generally) so much better for those who have stayed active either through their work/discipline/hobbies/etc. that I have absolutely no regret for those thousands of morning when jogging, biking, shuffling and now walking did not seem all that attractive. Beside--I have talked with many who regularly stay(ed) active and I have never met a one who said they wished they had not exercised. it is almost impossible to take a run, walk, take a bike ride, play tennis etc. and when finished say--gee I wish I had not done that. I should have stayed home and watched TV.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:05 AM on February 23, 2013 [52 favorites]


And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes. If the cost of that is extra years of bad health when we're old, so be it. Really: get off our case. Especially if there's wine in it.
posted by Decani at 9:07 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Riding a bike one 15 minute errand per day will get you your minimum recommended daily exercise.

It wouldn't even take me 15 minutes to ride to the Fatty Foods Chicken or BoozeShop drive through.
posted by Mezentian at 9:11 AM on February 23, 2013


Decani: And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes.

They shouldn't be mutually exclusive. If you don't enjoy exercise, you're doing it wrong.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:13 AM on February 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


I absolutely agree that lifestyle and diet matters hugely, but am uncomfortable if I don't also acknowledge the cruelty of genetics in those last 20-30 years. I have healthy-living relatives that were well and truly done at least 10-20 years before others who were fatty-food loving heavy drinkers and smokers. (As in, no one thought death at 72 was premature for the former, while the latter could still be working full time at 83 if a man his age could find employment in his field). In my social circle, I have two friends who are 85 (and have known each other for 50+ years)--one insisted on helping move me up to a third floor apartment, no elevator, and doesn't look a day over 70; one is barely mobile and losing mental sharpness by the day and has us all holding our breath. Both have had identical educations and occupations and levels of class privilege and, as far as we can tell, health habits and preventative care.

As I age myself, I am still much thinner and more youthful looking and with fewer ailments than peers who eat more carefully, exercise more, and have greater access to health care, fresh foods, vacations, etc. (I take after the side of the family with the lean, youthful buggers who push into their late 80s with no better habits than the side of the family that falls apart, physically and cognitively, starting at 60, at least so far.) The gap between what you can control, and what you can't, seems to widen with age, in my own anecdotal, observational experience.
posted by availablelight at 9:14 AM on February 23, 2013 [19 favorites]


Decani: "And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes. If the cost of that is extra years of bad health when we're old, so be it. Really: get off our case. Especially if there's wine in it."

Not only do we understand it; we count on it:
Emphasize Immediate Benefits
Living to age 90 years instead of age 88 is not a strong motivator for most people in the middle of their lives. The advertising world knows that what it sells is what people want now. Often lost in our zeal to prevent chronic diseases is the fact that there are many benefits of good nutrition that are much more immediate than are future reductions in morbidity and extensions of longevity. The increased energy, better sleep, and improved mood that come from regular physical activity, and the weight management and improved bowel function that come from eating healthy are more than just side effects of positive nutritional behaviors. These are immediate benefits that should be emphasized as motivators for behavior change." - Lang, R. S., & Hensrud, D. D. M. D. (2004). Clinical Preventive Medicine (2nd ed.). American Medical Association Press.
And we'll get off your case as soon as we stop having to disimpact your bowels.
posted by The White Hat at 9:15 AM on February 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


If you don't enjoy exercise, you're doing it wrong.

Explain.
I have never, ever, in my life enjoyed exercise. Ever.
I don't get the buzz so many people say they do. I never have.
posted by Mezentian at 9:15 AM on February 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


I have never, ever, in my life enjoyed exercise. Ever.
I don't get the buzz so many people say they do. I never have.
posted by Mezentian at 12:15 PM on February 23 [+] [!]


It's not the buzz, it's the fun! Jogging (especially on a treadmill), "spinning", etc are as much fun as stabbing myself in the eye; rock climbing is like vertical chess, cycling outside and hiking are enormously stimulating (you don't have to go for the "burn") and bring me back to going someplace cool/ "in the woods" as a kid; walking with friends instead of driving places is fun on a nice day; swimming relaxes every one of my muscles, yoga is a bit goofy sometimes but reminds me how flexible and amazing my body still is; light weightlifting gives me a numeric for how I'm improving and I love data......
posted by availablelight at 9:23 AM on February 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Mezentian: Explain.
I have never, ever, in my life enjoyed exercise. Ever.
I don't get the buzz so many people say they do. I never have.


You need to find something you enjoy doing for its own sake. For some people it's running, for some it's climbing, for others it's competitive sports (it's hard to make a lifetime exercise program out of, say, football, but tennis and racquetball are good options). Basically you need to try different options until you find something that you enjoy enough to make it something you actually want to do.

Although, you should realize that nearly every form of exercise will be unpleasant at first while you are just starting out, so you need to keep with it for at least 6 months to get to the point at which it doesn't suck.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:23 AM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


What you have to do is find an activity you enjoy. I always HATED gym class in school. I hate soccer, baseball, basketball. I hate running. I hate jumping jacks and push ups. I wasn't any good at it and it was boring as hell. It took me years to figure out that there were activities I enjoyed quite a lot: walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, dancing. All things we never got to do in gym class. If you're still in the mindset that you hate whatever form of exercise that has been forced upon you and this has led you to believe you hate exercising in general, try reassessing and finding things that you do like doing, and just do them.
posted by orange swan at 9:23 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Decani: And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes.

I have spent my fair share of time on cardiac, pulmonary and oncology inpatient units.

They are invariably miserable places.

I have yet to hear anyone say, "sure glad I smoked and dranked all those years, it was so worth it."
posted by rhombus at 9:27 AM on February 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


I "enjoy" walking, because I can listen to audioplays/books.
It's not unpleasant, or overly taxing (even after a 3 hour trot), but it isn't enjoyable. I enjoy consuming the media that keeps my brain active, but the physicality of it is just not fun. It's mostly not annoying, but it's rarely fun. But it is also not painful, just time consuming.

I can't be alone.
posted by Mezentian at 9:30 AM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mezentian: Explain.
I have never, ever, in my life enjoyed exercise. Ever.
I don't get the buzz so many people say they do. I never have.ave.


Sometimes you just need a frame to appreciate it around. The first time I "enjoyed" exercise was when I came home and felt my stomach and it was cold. I didn't care why or how, but it was so cool to learn something new about my own body. So I continued building that relationship.

Another thing that keeps me happy during exercise is having clear goals. Set one simple goal (mine is a 5 minute mile, I've been working on it off and on for a couple of years), and just go for it. Decide how hard you want to chase it, if not so hard, no big deal, as long as its something off in the horizon you can focus on and move toward. Same goes for making x% of shots on the court, y pushups, etc. Forewarning, the following has not worked for me: z-pack abs.
posted by nondescript at 9:32 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Riding a bike one 15 minute errand per day will get you your minimum recommended daily exercise.

Anthill, I know it's compelling to encourage people in this way, but I think it's misguided to tell people that there's a "minimum" amount of "exercise" that's easy to achieve with daily activities like walking and bike-riding. Here's why.

Per the Guardian, advising people of an easy-to-achieve "minimum" in fact produces worse outcomes:
Official advice that 30 minutes of gentle exercise a day is enough to improve your health has been revised by the scientists who first developed the international fitness guidelines. Until now, government recommendations have suggested that people can achieve a minimum level of fitness through their normal daily routines. But amid fears that the lightest of activities such as dusting and the stroll to the car are being counted as exercise, a new study by the public health experts behind the formula concludes adults need to add jogging and twice-weekly weight training sessions if they want to cut their risk of heart disease and obesity.
The BBC goes on:
"It's extremely worrying that British adults now believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit and healthy," said Dr Gary O'Donovan, lead author.
Of course, we could define "minimum" any way we want. Getting out of bed is better than not; walking to the mailbox is better than not; riding a bike to town for errands is better than driving a car. It is obviously and trivially true that people who do these basic things will generally do better than people who don't. But the evidence shows that telling people that one bike-ride a day will cause them to be healthy into old age in fact causes many, many people to wildly overestimate the amount of activity they do, and to similarly wildly overestimate the benefits of that bare-minimum amount of activity.

The CDC comes down in the middle: they acknowledge that you could do fifteen 10-minute chunks of walking, plus lifting, as a minimum for health. But note that they don't just say "ten minute walks," they specify that these have to be a "moderate to vigorous effort". This is the phrasing that the scientists in the BBC and Guardian stories tell us are misunderstood. What the CDC means is "moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking)", not a walk with friends. You've got to be a little out of breath. Scientists are finding that people read "brisk walk" and "ten minutes at a time is fine" and figure, "Shucks, I go for walks with my hubby...and I ride my bike to get milk sometimes...and I lift weights once a week...I'm all set!" In fact that amount of exercise does not qualify for even these CDC minimums.

It's interesting to compare and contrast the word "activity" with "exercise". The former is generally defined as the opposite of sedentarism, i.e., anything where you're not just sitting at a desk. Walking and riding a bike for errands qualifies just fine, and they're great! The latter involves sweating and effort and a challenge to the body. Riding a bike into town to get milk, unless performed as a sprint, generally does not qualify.
posted by daveliepmann at 9:39 AM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


But the video was really great! Getting people to understand that there's a real difference in how their last decades will feel, and that it's related to how they spend their time today, is important work.
posted by daveliepmann at 9:42 AM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Shit. Now that Freelance Whales song I used to dig is totally ruined for me, as it was used so perfectly in that second PSA.

I'm going to crank it up right now though, as I pop in this yoga dvd.
posted by youandiandaflame at 9:42 AM on February 23, 2013


I have a friend who is a world class athlete. He's ridiculously fit. It's his job, literally, to work out, in order to stay in top competitive shape. I'll pick his brain about fitness and sports whenever I can, and his single biggest piece of advice is regarding consistency.

Basically, just do stuff, and do it regularly. You don't need epic workouts. If you've done something so big that it causes you to miss more than a couple of days due to fatigue, soreness, or lack of motivation, then you went too big. Scale back.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:43 AM on February 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


That advice applies to anyone really, not just competitive athletes. Staying consistent is the most important thing. You might have to start slow and small, like really slow and small, and that's totally ok. Just focus on being consistent.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have yet to hear anyone say, "sure glad I smoked and dranked all those years, it was so worth it."

You've never heard of hedonism? I have to imagine that Frank Sinatra at least would say he was glad he did it his way. Virtue is its own reward, etc., but some sins can be pretty rewarding too.

I knew a couple of people who lived scrupulously healthy lives only to develop cancer and die prematurely anyways and I've always wondered if they wished they'd done more of the smoking and drinking and less of the getting up at 5AM to eat Colon Roto-Rooter Super-Fiber Cereal for breakfast and go work out. I have to think it's at least a matter of moderation.

In any case, an artful and well-crafted PSA, whether you want to hear its message or not.
posted by XMLicious at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2013


It thus comes down to this (the comments)
In the end, we all die
I can not stand exercise
find something you like to do and do it
genes, good ones, helpful

That said: decent health coverage a big help for catching problems early on and fixing
Stress and eating habits (nutrition) important and not to be ignored.
Sitting too long and too often bad bad bad
posted by Postroad at 9:53 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


People also eat well and exercise because it feels good to do so in the present. That it leads to better quality end of life is gravy, but not necessarily a given. And not necessarily the best motivation (I wouldn't have been able to quit smoking if it was all about living a few years longer, for example, it had to be about better quality of life right now).
posted by marimeko at 10:00 AM on February 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I knew a couple of people who lived scrupulously healthy lives only to develop cancer and die prematurely anyways and I've always wondered if they wished they'd done more of the smoking and drinking and less of the getting up at 5AM to eat Colon Roto-Rooter Super-Fiber Cereal for breakfast and go work out. I have to think it's at least a matter of moderation.

It's all about maximizing your odds. Yeah, you might live to 90 even though you smoke and weight 100 lbs too much and you might die at 60 even though you did everything right but those outcomes are going to be outside the norm.
posted by octothorpe at 10:01 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The most frustrating health determinants, for me, are the ones that other people inflict upon us. I'd feel a lot better about my health if all y'all with the metal death machines would stop bathing my lungs in particulate matter when I'm out walking and biking.
posted by threeants at 10:14 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


XMLicious: I knew a couple of people who lived scrupulously healthy lives only to develop cancer and die prematurely anyways and I've always wondered if they wished they'd done more of the smoking and drinking and less of the getting up at 5AM to eat Colon Roto-Rooter Super-Fiber Cereal for breakfast and go work out.

For what it's worth, the people I know who live that way want to live that way. The thing is, living longer and being healthy are good long-term goals, but are too distant to motivate you on a day-to-day basis. That's why you have to find activities you like and get into routines, because those forces are stronger on the small scale.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:14 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everyone posting here should favorite this thread and look back on it when they're in their 70s and see if they still feel the same way.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:15 AM on February 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


I exercise and eat well so I can occasionally be naughty and when I am it is a far far better experience than when I was naughty all the time, overweight and in a depressive spiral.
posted by srboisvert at 10:22 AM on February 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Exercise may not be enjoyable, but what is enjoyable is feeling good, feeling healthy, and feeling capable.

I say this as someone who, for forty years never exercised. I smoked, I ate Doritos by the bag and drank Coke by the liter. If I got my ass off the couch it was probably to get more of those things or to go sit somewhere else and make room for more of those things.

Now I run nearly every morning, I prefer fresh food to processed crap, and I wear the same size pants I wore in high school. Do I enjoy exercise now? Sometimes, yeah, but often it sucks the same as it always did. It's seldom fun getting out of bed before dawn, putting on my running clothes and heading out into a cold, rainy morning. But it is always worth it afterward. Always. And that's the hurtle that for me was the hardest to get over. You do it every day, even if you don't enjoy it, and eventually it just becomes something that you do. And the rest of your life is exponentially better for it.

The biggest regret of my life (so far!) is not figuring that out when I was younger.

It's true that cancer or some other awful disease may lay waste to my body as I age. But more important to me than the increased possibility of aging well is the reality of living well now. (On preview, what marimeko said.)
posted by Balonious Assault at 10:23 AM on February 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


Most of the people I do weekend rides with--30 to 60 miles, on road bikes--are between fifty and seventy.

I am forty, and I love riding with these folks, because (among other reasons) that's how I want be when I'm their age.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:27 AM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is clearly pretty powerful, and it got me thinking about how my own lifestyle might impact my last ten years. So I made a small video that I think accurately depicts how my last decade will go.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:47 AM on February 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


So, Chapstick is the key then?
posted by orme at 10:59 AM on February 23, 2013


It's all about maximizing your odds. Yeah, you might live to 90 even though you smoke and weight 100 lbs too much and you might die at 60 even though you did everything right but those outcomes are going to be outside the norm.

Unless you like drinking and smoking enough to be willing to trade some maximization of longevity in exchange for them. Or in exchange for other longevity-reducing things like not having children.

For some people at least, maximizing the odds for longevity isn't going to be the foremost thing. Greg Nog, for example, seems to be looking forward to some rather outré plastic surgery.
posted by XMLicious at 11:00 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I get paid to spend a lot of my day counseling people to pick up one or two habits that will make their lives better. Sometimes that means telling a homeless guy to switch to beer from hard liquor, sometimes that means telling a college student to try working out 4 times a week instead of 2. It's absolutely true that fear never works -- denial is much stronger than fear.

I've been doing this for 15 years now, and have watched a lot of people in their decline at the end of their lives and I think this video (the first one) really nails it. So much so, that I nearly always end the preventive medicine examinations I do with the same tag line (this is true):

"In my practice, I am constantly amazed at the variation in how people live the last 20 years of their lives. There are a ton of 60 year olds who live in nursing homes and take 20 pills a day, and there are a lot of 80 years olds who ski and travel the world. The one consistent thing I've observed is that the 80 year olds made it a habit, from your age onward, to stay active and exercise."

I'm usually not this annoying, so my patients generally tolerate it. I think my patients know I don't really care if someone would rather drink whiskey and eat lots of fried chicken, just understand the consequences of your decisions. Few people simply "die young" from smoking. They go in and out of hospitals, exist in pain, and gradually lose their independence over years. If you feel like you can accept this without spreading your depression and misery to family and the people around you, and there's a system that supports the cost of caring for you, then we have no problem at all.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:02 AM on February 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


Everyone posting here should favorite this thread and look back on it when they're in their 70s and see if they still feel the same way.

Healthy Metafilter. [LEFT] Unhealthy Metafilter.[RIGHT]

All I did was google image search "Healthy Metafilter" and "Unhealthy Metafilter".

I think the choice is obvious.

posted by Fizz at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


PS. I fucking love smoking cigarettes, I miss it every day and the minute I'm given a terminal diagnosis I'm taking it up again. But, you know, skiing and world travel remain powerful enough motivators for me now.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:07 AM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


just coming off a week on call, and I had to expand on my comment. If I had a terminal diagnosis, not only am I taking up smoking, but I'd gonna do it on a morphine drip. It boggles my fucking mind that our default position in health care is to put 90 year olds in the ICU. When I buy out my hospital, we're gonna replace the ICU with a ward for dying people with morphine PCAs, cigarettes, and 30 year old MacAllen. And porn. Lots of porn.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:21 AM on February 23, 2013 [41 favorites]


GOD DAMN SLARTY BARTFAST WHO IS YOUR RESIDENCY DIRECTOR?
posted by The White Hat at 11:24 AM on February 23, 2013


hee hee. I still can't believe they let me "teach" residents.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:32 AM on February 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Mezentian, try a martial art, maybe. I don't necessarily see it in myself, but I have had several people tell me how trim I am looking since I took up swordplay a few months ago. As former member tkchrist once said, "Martial Arts are to give you the Self Defense skills to prevent a heart attack. IE: good exercise."
posted by adamdschneider at 11:34 AM on February 23, 2013


And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes. If the cost of that is extra years of bad health when we're old, so be it. Really: get off our case. Especially if there's wine in it.
posted by Decani at 9:07 AM on February 23 [+] [!]


And that's fine, as long as you understand that 90% of your misery will come from issues we can't do squat to alleviate, and that regular exercise can nearly eliminate.
posted by docpops at 12:37 PM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let me be another type of cautionary tale for any couch potato young'uns out there.

From my teen years on, I walked, jogged, went to the gym, stationary biked, blah blah f'ing blah, partially out of vanity/self hatred and, as I got older, partially because I didn't want to end up in a scooter at age 70. I also weight trained usually once a week over the last decade or so.

I had my first-ever session of PT the other night for patellar tendonitis in both knees. I'm in my late '40's. The evaluation showed up some hard truths. My lower extremity muscles probably aren't in much better shape than they would be if I'd done nothing at all. In fact, they're probably worse because of weekend warrior syndrome and yo-yo dieting/binging over many years. I will say that my blood work is stellar year after year, although that is probably genetic in large part.

It's not as easy as just getting off the couch - you have to do everything within reason and for some of us that's very hard. Hard exercise over many years can do a lot of damage, too.

Moral of the story: you're much better off exercising than not doing it at all, but really, if you're trying to find a sustainable exercise habit, try something gentle but effective like walking or swimming before you go for the joint-busters like running or weight training. Also, try not to overeat OR undereat if at all possible; if you find you can't do that, find some way to treat it.

I'm off to take a reasonable 2-3 mile walk now before the snow hits.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:48 PM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Explain.
I have never, ever, in my life enjoyed exercise. Ever.
I don't get the buzz so many people say they do. I never have.


I like feeling strong. I go to the gym about ten hours a week, doing both cardio and weights. I run for an hour on the elliptical and enjoy the feeling of my body moving smoothly, and then I do weights and enjoy the feeling of bunched muscles and the stretch under load of using them.

But no one would look at me and believe this, because I have gotten the genes from my peasant ancestors that make me squat and retain weight. They're the same ones that mean I'll die in my sixties like everyone else in my family. To make sure, my advance directives say essentially that if it takes more than a band-aid to fix me, let me go.
posted by winna at 12:49 PM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is clearly pretty powerful, and it got me thinking about how my own lifestyle might impact my last ten years. So I made a small video that I think accurately depicts how my last decade will go.

You are a national treasure.
posted by desjardins at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I pretty much can't do any kind of sport, because i fucked up every joint nearly in my body doing carework, cleaning etc - my spine is a mess, my last cleaning job saw to my shoulder joints - pilates is so boring, and i keep doing it wrong and i can't afford individual classes, no, i don't care, i just want to shoot myself at some point.
posted by maiamaia at 2:05 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just went jogging because of this thread.
posted by escabeche at 2:19 PM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I used to run. I liked it. But, running on the street killed my knee, so I had to do the treadmill at the gym. I liked it. The gym was a decent drive away, though, so I didn't get over there as often as I wanted. Then one of my thoracic disks decided to explode. Got it fixed. But, no more running. Ever. Doctor's orders. Had to give up the gym membership anyway, because of money issues.
I can walk the neighborhood. When the weather is nice. But, not far.
Everything else costs money that I don't have.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:40 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes.

In two seconds, a douchebag is going to enter this thread and say, "for me, long-distance running is my greatest pleasure and indulgence."

I'm that douchebag. And I'm not bullshitting. On a personal level, I hate runners. I loathe the long-distance runner's obsession with leg, foot and knee injuries, "personal bests," running shoe technology, and marathon races, and do everything in my power to avoid this person. My friends are couch potatoes, chronic alcoholics, caffeine addicts, and connoisseurs of plant matter that combusts when exposed to a flame.

I like these things too, but my fix is running (and weightlifting and a few other things). I don't give a fuck about running's health benefits. If the AMA said that running is a quick ticket to an early grave, I'd do it anyway. If my doctor told me to quit running tomorrow, I'd tell him to fuck off.

I'm an addict, my fix is running, and if you make this sport your addiction, many of your health challenges--obesity, hypertension, insomnia, the list goes on and on--will be solved.
posted by Gordion Knott at 4:24 PM on February 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Running is horrific. I don't understand the buzz. It's so boring. I only run if it's part of a game/sport, say I dunno, like chasing a ball. Give me a team sport or some rock climbing any day.
posted by Enki at 5:26 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some more motivation: Every 30 pounds (~14 kg) that a man is overweight, he loses access to approximately one inch (2.54 cm) of his erect penis (It just gets buried in the suprapubic fat).

Eventually the excess fat begins to generate estrogen and the testes shrink.

Happy running/biking/weightlifting/climbing/martial arts/swimming/walking!
posted by Renoroc at 6:33 PM on February 23, 2013


Riding a bike one 15 minute errand per day will get you your minimum recommended daily exercise.

I think you better aim higher. I ride 14 miles 3x a week, play tennis 4x a week and I am not too far from being the guy on the right.
posted by notreally at 7:05 PM on February 23, 2013


éponyme-isterical - il faut cultiver son jardin, non?
posted by ElGuapo at 9:21 PM on February 23, 2013


Running is horrific. I don't understand the buzz. It's so boring. I only run if it's part of a game/sport, say I dunno, like chasing a ball. Give me a team sport or some rock climbing any day.

Whatever gets you up and active every day, that's the important thing.

Frankly, I'm glad you're not out there running, having a horrible time and harshing my incomprehensible buzz.
posted by Balonious Assault at 9:33 PM on February 23, 2013


I was also a well-into-my thirties convert to regular exercise. I run/walk around thirty miles a week. For me, it is not just the running and the supremely great way I feel when I'm done (and seriously, it's great) but the opportunity to be outside and wander around through parks and neighborhoods and whatever/wherever else I happen to get into. I am significantly less moody on days that I run. So much less moody that it's hardly worth it for me to skip the exercise no matter how crappy the weather or foul my state of mind. Maybe this exercise now will improve the conditions of my obsolescence, but honestly, I'm impatient and the opposite of future-minded. I exercise because it improves the quality of my life this morning, tonight, right now.
posted by thivaia at 9:43 PM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm the guy who will be your doctor sooner than either of us would want, and you need to understand that the most beneficial, the most life-saving, and sometimes the only treatments available to prevent decades of sickness and disability are the foods you eat and the things you do.

/kills doctor
/eats doctor
/restores HP to full, gains regeneration intrinsic
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:57 PM on February 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Damn, y'all sure can depress the shit out of someone who is disabled and in their late 30s. I do seated exercises, but there is no running for me, hell, there are days I cannot walk due to my muscle and bone issues, plus all the effects of having already had cancer.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:13 PM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Decani: "And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes. If the cost of that is extra years of bad health when we're old, so be it. Really: get off our case. Especially if there's wine in it."

I know, it's totally your right to expect the rest of us to pay more in tax to cover the medical costs of taking care of you and the rest of those like you for the last ten years of your miserable, pain-soaked lives, even though the pleasure and indulgence you claim to be experiencing now is arguably not any more and perhaps less enjoyable than a lifestyle consisting of paying just modest attention to your health.

Not that you would know, it sounds like.
posted by dubitable at 12:22 AM on February 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


"And doctors need to understand that some of us really don't worry that much about our inevitable decline, and would much rather enjoy ourselves on the way out than deny ourselves pleasure and indulgence in our relative primes. If the cost of that is extra years of bad health when we're old, so be it. Really: get off our case. Especially if there's wine in it."

This is my father, to an extent. He never smoked (railed against it constantly) and drank beer rather than wine, and had a pretty physically active job for awhile. But ate crappily, didn't care about putting on weight or exercise, and when his second wife left him refused to learn how to cook or eat properly because 'who cares, it's my life'.

He now costs the Australian tax payers a small fortune due to the amount of medical care he needs due to health conditions either caused or exacerbated by his bad habits. He retired early on a medical pension due to back problems that he refused to do exercises for or go to the physio - 'the doctors should just give me some more pain jabs for it' - because it was too much effort, and people get old anyway, what's the big deal. He has gone from bitching and moaning about killjoys who should get off other people's cases about diet and exercise to bitching and moaning about how it is so unfair he can't do things due to his health problems and how no-one understands how bad it is.
posted by Megami at 2:24 AM on February 24, 2013


Getting people to understand that there's a real difference in how their last decades will feel

Unless mr mister Does Everything the Health Bothers Tells Him To Do keels over dead from a heart attack in the middle of his bike ride, he will spent his last years in a nursing home forgetting his own name, or still ends up in hospital of some old age related disease.

it's totally your right to expect the rest of us to pay more in tax

If you worry about the tax burden sick people put on the rest of us, top yourself now because you will become that tax burden one day.

Also you know, people who think that way, better bugger off to the US if they like their health care system so much.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:46 AM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is my father, to an extent. He never smoked (railed against it constantly) and drank beer rather than wine, and had a pretty physically active job for awhile. But ate crappily, didn't care about putting on weight or exercise, and when his second wife left him refused to learn how to cook or eat properly because 'who cares, it's my life'.

He now costs the Australian tax payers a small fortune due to the amount of medical care he needs due to health conditions either caused or exacerbated by his bad habits. He retired early on a medical pension due to back problems that he refused to do exercises for or go to the physio - 'the doctors should just give me some more pain jabs for it' - because it was too much effort, and people get old anyway, what's the big deal. He has gone from bitching and moaning about killjoys who should get off other people's cases about diet and exercise to bitching and moaning about how it is so unfair he can't do things due to his health problems and how no-one understands how bad it is.


This is like 50% of any primary care doctor's work load right here. I feel like the people who shrink away from advice to eat better or exercise more are misinterpreting what we're saying, or we're communicating it badly. What I imagine their internal voice is saying is "I can't possibly adhere to this unreasonable standard this asshole doctor expects of me, I've got two kids with problems and work 10 hours a day at a shitty job and my back hurts and we all die someday, so I'm gonna keep eating at Burger King because that's what's going to make my day better today." And sometimes I think, even more so than the diet and exercise, it's the attitude that's the problem. That I can't do anything, I have no control. And when people start developing their medical problems, it's that attitude that's still killing them. I can't do anything to manage this and why bother because I'm already well on my way to an early grave. Just give me the pills doc, because I'm really uncomfortable and miserable. Prognostically, a patient who feels they are unable to do anything for themselves is ominous, and ends badly.

Physical activity and pills are just symbols to me. A pill is an admission that you can't do anything for health condition X, which may or may not be true, and exercise means you are willing to do something for yourself.

I don't place judgements, or at least I work hard not to, on anyone. But if I want to be a good doctor, I need to get a read on people with all of this as quickly as I can so as to know where to place my energy.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


I tried doing couch to 5k once. God, running (for an extended length of time) sucks.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:56 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried doing couch to 5k once. God, running (for an extended length of time) sucks WONDERFUL!.
posted by Fizz at 8:11 AM on February 24, 2013


Yes. Running wonderful.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2013


What I imagine their internal voice is saying is "I can't possibly adhere to this unreasonable standard this asshole doctor expects of me, I've got two kids with problems and work 10 hours a day at a shitty job and my back hurts and we all die someday, so I'm gonna keep eating at Burger King because that's what's going to make my day better today."

This is true. The thing that finally helped me learn to say "no" to a deliciously terrible meal was learning that I would in fact feel better today for having refused it -- for not lying around feeling used up by carbs or sugar or sodium intake. The lesson does not take until you see more immediate rewards.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Late to the party here. Recovering on a couch thanks to bad genetics but wanted to chime in on running. I used to run a lot. When I got bored with it I started trail running. Or mountain biking minus the bike. Not safe for ankles I guess but damn is it fun. Put in some fast paced music on the iPod and tear up the trails. The uneven trails made it more of a challenge and more of a workout.
posted by WickedPissah at 9:17 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Physical activity and pills are just symbols to me. A pill is an admission that you can't do anything for health condition X, which may or may not be true, and exercise means you are willing to do something for yourself.

I don't place judgements, or at least I work hard not to, on anyone. But if I want to be a good doctor, I need to get a read on people with all of this as quickly as I can so as to know where to place my energy.


I must have some really bad luck. The default position of my doctors always seems to be, "I need to medicate this schmuck because he will not or cannot do anything for himself." I had to fire my last primary care doc because he refused to accept my preference of diet and exercise first and medication as a last resort. He'd nod his head, make some notes, leave the room, then come back, hand me a prescription and advise me to schedule a follow up visit in two weeks to see how the meds were working. I finally had enough of his crap and referred myself to a specialist for some useful medical advice, and I never looked back.

I still need to find a new primary care doc, but I sure as hell don't look forward to paying money just to go through that patronization dance all over again. I am doing well on my own. Certainly better than if I had put my health and well-being in the hands of that first bozo.

I'd be curious to know what percentage of patients actually do want to educate themselves and take charge of their own health, vs. patients who prefer medication over lifestyle changes. From what I've seen in coworkers, friends and acquaintances, the latter is far and away the norm. That does help me understand where that first doc of mine may have been coming from, but it in no way lets him off the hook for ignoring my specific case and trying to treat the percentages instead.
posted by Balonious Assault at 9:27 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


For me, it's a little strange. I still haven't gotten the hang of "Regular" excercise, but my love of video games, and introduction to more competitive video games like Starcraft, has gotten me really interested in gettting into "shape." I have been regularly excercising my hands by doing extreme finger drumming (to the rhythm of music), or playing mouse rhythm games like Osu! (Like Dance Dance Revolution for the mouse), and the intensity of these exercises is enough to make me sweat, although there's no cardio involved. As my hands become stronger and faster, and I'm able to use the mouse and type more smoothly, swiftly, and accurately, I've learned the physical joy of simply having a strong body. Every once in a while I'll exercise particularly hard and effectively, and I am able to feel my hands actually jump to a new plateau of dexterity right then and there, and that's a really great feeling of achievement. I'm still a computer potato, however. I'm still trying to translate this into an activity I can do that will work for my entire body. Maybe I should try dancing.

P.S. As a computer programmer, I've already seen work-related improvements from the hand exercises, and today I'm suffering from video card meltdown, and regretting nothing more than not being able to feel that delightful burn in my forearm. I don't suffer from any stress related injuries, because I treat typing as a sport that requires stretching, etc.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 10:18 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amour sure was the best horror film of 2012....
posted by schmod at 6:22 PM on February 24, 2013


I know, it's totally your right to expect the rest of us to pay more in tax to cover the medical costs of taking care of you and the rest of those like you for the last ten years of your miserable, pain-soaked lives

It's our duty to care for the sick. It doesn't matter how they got sick.

And seriously, the whole 'I pay taxes for that thing you did that I didn't like' makes you sound like a grade school debater. We all pay taxes for a whole bunch of things, including things we don't use, or even approve of. If it we were allowed to only pay taxes for things that we personally like, we'd all have (a) no civic infrastructure at all, because we'd all be arguing about the value of my share of a road, a soldier and a library and (b) probably be dead, murdered by airborne paramilitary book thieves.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:59 PM on February 24, 2013


It's our duty to care for the sick. It doesn't matter how they got sick.

Hear, hear.

This thread is pretty much the perfect image for what we're talking about in the other fatty thread, this sort of blind belief in the idea that anybody's health is entirely up to them, is a moral issue, with no need to look into systemic reasons for why certain healthcare problems pop up.

The "I pay taxes so you better slim down fatty" is of course the ultimate expression of this mindset, though I doubt anybody who says this would say the same about refusing to pay for knee operations for marathon runners.

It's easy to tell people they just need to buck up, eat well and exercise more, but it won't solve anything. Those who are already inclined to do so (and are capable of doing so) will do so, the rest won't be reached by this campaign. But if we really think that we eat too much sugary, processed food, there's a role for the government to get of its arse and start regulating these things, rather than rely on the market, which is doing very well out of offering both shit food and shittier dieting plans.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:27 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Martin, I'm not trying to defend the specific I-pay-taxes argument, but "a blind belief that anybody's health is entirely up to them" is a caricature of what's going on here. No one's saying that one's health is entirely up to the individual. Octothorpe's comment, "It's all about maximizing your odds," expresses what I see this thread saying.

Isn't one of the core tenets of Fat Acceptance to promote health and active lifestyles instead of specific body types? You ask for government to come in and regulate things, well, public service announcements--albeit from a private organization--are a reasonable part of that. Advertising and marketing changes minds. This campaign is trying to change minds towards riding a bike and taking care of oneself rather than drinking sugar and booze. That's not fat-shaming, it's part of the project you're arguing for. Note how few times the word "fat" is even used in this thread.

But I have a specific question--you say, "Unless mr mister Does Everything the Health Bothers Tells Him To Do keels over dead from a heart attack in the middle of his bike ride, he will spent his last years in a nursing home forgetting his own name, or still ends up in hospital of some old age related disease." This is not my understanding. Can you show me why you think this?
posted by daveliepmann at 5:29 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought the melanoma PSA was helpful and informative.

"Unless mr mister Does Everything the Health Bothers Tells Him To Do keels over dead from a heart attack in the middle of his bike ride, he will spent his last years in a nursing home forgetting his own name, or still ends up in hospital of some old age related disease." This is not my understanding. Can you show me why you think this

From a cursory reading, it sounds a lot like this:
"As the disease advances, symptoms can include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, trouble with language, and long-term memory loss. As the sufferer declines they often withdraw from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Since the disease is different for each individual, predicting how it will affect the person is difficult. AD develops for an unknown and variable amount of time before becoming fully apparent, and it can progress undiagnosed for years. On average, the life expectancy following diagnosis is approximately seven years."

It doesn't really matter what it is, though. You will either die suddenly or slowly, early or late, or some gray shade of those combinations.

My maternal grandmother is 93, she is in relatively good health and spirits, but in an assisted-care facility because she is old. Despite her good dietary habits, good lifestyle, good socialization and all that, she is an old, old person. She has been saying she's ready to go whenever for at least 5 years. While this is difficult to hear sometimes, I can sympathize with her feelings. She is not depressed or a "sad-sack" and all told is in a pretty good situation. She is happy and content, despite missing some of things no longer in her life.

My maternal grandfather died two years ago; he had prostate cancer for at least three years and I did not even know it. He went up to the farm he was raised on for his 90th birthday and had a few peppermint schnapps and a good time with his family. While he ate tons of salt and mostly meat and potatoes, he ate "real food" and had at least one perfect brandy manhattan every "cocktail hour" (5:30PM) I'd seen him at. He didn't get sick sick until maybe a couple months before he died, not more than a year after his 90th.

Both of my paternal aunts died of breast cancer, one after maybe 4-5 years and the other after over 11 years, including I don't know how many bouts of chemo, a bone marrow transplant, and a lot of time in the hospital. Both of them had a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. I have no idea if they ever smoked.

My father died of pancreatic cancer, from diagnosis to death was about 18 months, triple what the doctors expected. I wouldn't say he was in "good shape" before that, but he wasn't the guy on the left until he started treatment. He worked a job he didn't particularly enjoy, but felt necessary for the family. He quit smoking when he was 30, still drank quite a bit, not a great diet, but reasonable.

One of his friends, who from my observation had roughly the same dietary intake and alcohol consumption, but never quit smoking, is still alive. He is turning 60 and says that it's 10 more years than he ever expected. He describes his health as "shitty" and avoids the doctor because he would rather not know. He none-the-less seems pretty satisfied and happy with his life.

One of my roommates died in a canoeing accident when he was 22. Did a good bit of drugs and drinking, smoked cigarettes, ate...well, he was proud of the sort of things he was able to consume without getting sick. He had his issues, but lived life thoroughly and actively, and died (wearing his life preserver, of hypothermia during the summer) doing something physical, with his bike and cello.

My point, if I have one, is: How were the last 10 years of their lives? Is that even something that any of us can decide?

I think a good diet and physical fitness are important, if only for their own sake. Maybe these are things you don't care about, maybe they are. Personally, what I care about is living my life as best I can and doing what I can to enjoy it in contentment. I don't think harping on people is particularly effective as a motivating factor. I actually found it somewhat offensive to be using a sick person in the hospital as a "motivation" for better lifestyle choices when there are many, many sick people in the hospital who are there for accidents, mistakes, genetic differences and just plain bad luck. How will it be for me? I don't know and you can't promise me.

Why not get exercise because you feel better? Why not eat good food because it's awesome and delicious? Why not enjoy your life? These are all good things and they don't need to have the empty promise of "how the last 10 years of your life will be" in order to be good things. Perhaps they will improve your health in the long-term as well, but more likely than that, they will improve the quality of your life now. If not, you can always go back to eating and/or being as physically active as you were before. I've done it, and I am looking forward to biking more again this year...the first two weeks are usually pretty brutal, but I know it's worth it, at least for me.
posted by nTeleKy at 1:25 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It doesn't matter how they got sick.

OK. Keep telling yourself that if it makes sense, but understand most people draw a distinction between a person of above average means eating themselves into diabetes and heart disease and an uninsured woman with cervical cancer.

Even the recognition and acknowledgement of the value of changing habits goes a long way in our current climate of blameless victimization and passivity. At least try to pretend you give a shit that your behavior is costing everyone around you money and tying up time and resources that might be better directed elsewhere.
posted by docpops at 6:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's easy to tell people they just need to buck up, eat well and exercise more, but it won't solve anything. Those who are already inclined to do so (and are capable of doing so) will do so, the rest won't be reached by this campaign. But if we really think that we eat too much sugary, processed food, there's a role for the government to get of its arse and start regulating these things, rather than rely on the market, which is doing very well out of offering both shit food and shittier dieting plans.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:27 AM on February 25 [+] [!]


Even reading this as a liberal it's incredibly depressing, misguided and emblematic of the total lack of accountability people have when it comes to taking care of themselves.

How about this? Your shitty habits make you a less able partner, parent, employee, grandparent, and a bunch of other things no different than having to tie on a couple drinks to get through an evening. If you have the means and the ability to be healthier, and choose not to, then accept those basic realities.
posted by docpops at 6:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, saying it is only the last ten years of a person's life is ridiculous. Try the entire second half starting around 40.
posted by docpops at 6:21 PM on February 25, 2013


Fitness and eating well has been an important part of my life for many years and I tend to think long term, so this PSA speaks strongly to me. My hunch is that it will serve more to encourage people to sustain good habits than it will turn around bad habits, but even that is a good outcome.

I really wish I could somehow package up and loan, for a bit, the feeling that comes from living an active and healthy lifestyle for others. Someone up thread described it as being capable and I can't think of a better word for it. I treasure this feeling and know that there is some element of circumstantial and genetic privilege, but good health is largely a product of nurture.
posted by dgran at 6:14 AM on February 26, 2013


it is almost impossible to take a run, walk, take a bike ride, play tennis etc. and when finished say--gee I wish I had not done that. I should have stayed home and watched TV.

Watch me!

My dilemma is that I have found my one true fitness love - roller derby - but in order to improve outside of my (4x a week) practices, I'm supposed to do all the other fitness stuff I hate - jogging, core work, strength training, intervals.
posted by Lucinda at 6:56 AM on February 26, 2013


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