New Year New Me?
As many of you know 2018 was hard on me from a health standpoint. For half the year I struggled with the lingering effects of what I thought was a bad cold at Christmas, but turned out to be the initial volley of an incurable autoimmune disease called Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, a form of vasculitis. So the new normal for me is regular rheumatologist and ENT appointments forever. Well, not forever, but it will seem like forever.
On top of the sinus and hearing and fatigue issues the GPA has gifted me, I have been more seriously kicking around the idea getting a hip (or both) replaced this year. Not quite there yet but it's an issue: cycling hurts, the ElliptiGO hurts, walking hurts. I am a mess physically right now. Weaker, fatter with a resting pulse that is what my easy jogging pace used to be, back in the day. Not good. But it is my own doing, or not doing, as the case may be.
So in the meantime, what is a guy with an incurable autoimmune disease and arthritic hips to do for exercise? Well for most of last year the answer to that was,"not much." Pretty much everything suffers when your hips don't work right.
Recently, however, I stumbled upon a book by Japanese running coach Hiroaki Takana, PhD called Slow Jogging which recommends super slow forefoot strike jogging at a comfortable pace. Tanaka's research shows better health results jogging slower than walking pace: counter-intuitive and compelling. As an alternative to jogging, I have been doing Tanaka's recommended step up routine daily for the last week or so at 20 RPMs, which according to Tanaka's charts correlates with 2.5 MPH jogging pace. It's very doable and I feel like I am hitting some tissue that is supporting the hips: still smarts, but I think things may be improving. I highly recommend the book, especially for those of us approaching senior citizen status and beyond.
In addition to the super slow aerobics (sorry Pavel: the dishonor!!) for weight training I came up with a 6 week plan for myself that I hope will round out things. Here it is, in all its banality.
The exercises are band assisted pull ups, kettlebell see-saw presses and one arm kettlebell snatches. Heavy day 10 reps of each, light day 4 reps, medium day 6 reps. Week 1 starts with 5 sets each day. Every week I will add one more set to each exercise each day. Week 6 will be H(10 reps)10 sets, L(4 reps)10 sets and M(6 reps)10 sets. Then start over with a lighter band and a heavier KB, we'll see.
Nutritionally, I have been mostly very low carb. Which is good since I am on a course of prednisone, and the nutritional advice when on that stuff is to watch the carbs. I've decided to take it a step further and go primarily Carnivore. No veg, no grains, no fruit. Just meat, poultry, fish, eggs and some occasional cheese. Happy World Carnivore Month.
For years I have encouraged masters age athletes to what they can with what they have left. Because your mileage is different than other folks, what you can do and what your results will be will vary. But in the long run and the short run, something, anything is better than nothing. So in 2019 I am committing to walk my talk and everyday do something, anything.
And we will see what we will see.