Hi, everyone, and how are you? I’m fine but I have a bit less blood than before; I had to go get blood drawn for some tests – no worries, just the standard ones. Mainly because my doctor likes to keep an eye on my thyroid levels.
So what’s been going on?
Well, at work things are okay; I finally finished our Annual Assurance Statement (that management controls are in place and operating as intended) and will be briefing it to the CG next week. It’s not really in my job description (spoken like a true bureaucrat!) but it always seems to fall to me to do. I guess I shouldn’t mind; for my little newsletter I was given a cash award, so it’s done well by me even as I’ve tried to do well by it.
The snow is all gone, or is only hanging on in stubborn little gritty piles where it was piled up in shopping center car parks or where the sun absolutely doesn’t penetrate. It’s hard to believe that Monday we had heavy (for DC) snow, the day off work, and today it’s in the mid 70’s (around 22 C for my international visitors) and warm (tho’ not very sunny). I’m hoping that Monday was winter’s last hurrah and the long and infuriatingly slow slide into spring has begun. It’s generally a frustrating time of year, in this area the skies stay grey and the buds don’t come and the warmth doesn’t settle in properly for what seems like ages, until all of a sudden it’s green full spring and you’re sitting outside in that glorious period before the bugs and oppressive humidity comes with summer. But for now, I’ll take this brief warm up with gratitude, as the temps are supposed to go back down to the more seasonable lower 50’s by the middle of next week (about 11 C).
Speaking of international visitors, can it be a coincidence that Morgan Tsvangirai’s car was in an ‘accident,’ and his wife killed? The thing about African dictators is not that they’re dictators, but that they’re so crude about it.
The new normal
My battling back to fighting fitness continues apace, but not as quick as I thought it would. Basically I’m finding harder and harder to go beyond 30 minutes. I think it’s ‘all in my head;’ my knees don’t hurt any more after 30 minutes than they did at 20 minutes, but the inside of the gym has been so hot of late which may take it out of me more. (Yes, I know I promised you my points and exercise log; it will start Monday I promise with a good baseline.) I managed to get to the gym only Thursday and Friday and will go at least once this weekend because frankly I’m a bit worried about this sudden decrease in capacity.
In researching my likelihood of living into my sixties, I’ve come across something called metabolic syndrome. It is a cluster of adverse physiological conditions that lead to a greatly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes (and thus is associated strongly with higher morbidity). The American Heart Association recommends that people with the following characteristics be counted as having metabolic syndrome:
The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that the metabolic syndrome be identified as the presence of three or more of these components:
- Elevated waist circumference:
Men — Equal to or greater than 40 inches (102 cm)
Women — Equal to or greater than 35 inches (88 cm)
Equal to or greater than 150 mg/dL
- Reduced HDL (“good”) cholesterol:
Men — Less than 40 mg/dL
Women — Less than 50 mg/dL
- Elevated blood pressure:
Equal to or greater than 130/85 mm Hg
- Elevated fasting glucose:
Equal to or greater than 100 mg/dL
Just looking at this I have one (the first one), and I guess I’ll know after the 16th (when I meet with my doc to review my results) about the rest. It’s definitely something to pay attention to because “The cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with the presence of the clinical features of Metabolic Syndrome were quantified in a large cohort of men and women from the Botnia Study. It was reported that the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality was respectively increased by 3-fold (p<0.001) and 1.8-fold (p=0.002) in subjects meeting the clinical criteria of the Metabolic Syndrome emphasizing the relevance of assessing in clinical practice, the presence of the Metabolic Syndrome.” (A definition of p-value.)
The interesting thing is that many of these characteristics are modifiable by lifestyle changes, changes I’m trying to make. And it’s important, too; this study suggests that “five lifefestyle factors (cigarettes smoking, being overweight, taking little moderate to vigorous physical activity, no light to moderate alchohol intake and low diet quality” can markedly increase mortality. In fact many studies at Fitness Rocks (an excellent, physican-run podcast site) suggest that exercise is medicine. It’s as simple as that.
One person who gets his exercise is Matus Valent, which is appropriate since he’s a fitness model. We haven’t seen much of him so here’s something for eye candy and inspiration:
(What does he inspire you to do?)