Brain Brawn & Body
Brain Brawn & Body blogs on health, nutrition/fitness, lifestyle, leisure and finances.
For the past few days I’ve taken my nephew Isaiah to school. He’s a senior at an area high school. Nothing extraordinary about that except I’ve noticed the astounding number of kids carrying backpacks.
Backpacks and more backpacks, that’s all you see in the mornings. At his school you’d be hard pressed to find a kid who isn’t carrying one on his or her way into the building. But it doesn’t stop with high school kids…just blocks away is an elementary school and to see the little boys and girls lugging and laboring with what appears to be the weight of the world over their shoulders and on their backs got me to thinking.
I started running in high school. As kids we always chased each other, but running in a straight line was new to me. I lived out in the country on a long, hilly road. Once I started to run on my own, my normal route was to run to the highway and back – 1 mile out and 1 mile back. To get there, I had to go up a little hill, then go up a really big hill to complete the first ½ mile. It was always a challenge but one that I enjoyed. Now when I run races and see a hill coming, my adrenaline surges. I’m so excited to charge that hill because I’ve been doing it all my life!
The race landscape has changed over the years. There are many 5K runs, some 2 mile fun runs and walks and this year I heard of my first quarter marathon. Whatever your preferred distance, realize that you can run any distance you want. Really you can! The healthy human body is so amazing and is limited only by our mental attitude. We like to ask newbie runners if they can run a mile. Usually they respond yes. Then we tell them that if you can run 1 mile, you can run 3. Then, if you can run 3, you can run 5. If you can run 5, you can run 10. If you can run 10, you can run a half-marathon – 13.1 miles. So, if you can run 1 mile, you can run a half!
I lost a childhood friend today. He was the first of our crew to pass away. At 6:00am my phone buzzed with a text message from another of my old friends, Kevin. The message was short…”Mike passed.”
What a tough way to wake up.
I had been waiting for a call like that for some time. About a month ago I got the news that Mike was sick; really sick. I called him and he said to me with all the courage I remember him having all his life, “My body isn’t doing so well. They sent me home because there wasn’t anything they could do for me…”
His faith was strong even if the doctors had given up. He felt he had done his part to ready himself for whatever was to come. The conversation was difficult for me, but for Mike it was, as he said, “…what it is.” He seemed to have no regrets except that maybe he had cheated his wife and kids by checking out so soon.
I wanted to share a health story with you about autism.
By: Karen Stokes
In 2000, my 3 year old son, Elijah was diagnosed with autism. In retrospect, I guess I realized something was wrong because after he met the typical milestones for a child, at 2 years old he lost his vocabulary, he lost his interest in playing with his brother and other children and he seemed to be living in a world of his own.
Where do we go from here?
Young people today face many challenges, especially ones with Autism. According to Autism Speaks, autism affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 are boys. These numbers are growing. Autism is a cognitive disorder that impairs social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and also can bring about repetitive behaviors. As of now, there is no cure, but there are outlets and information that parents and caregivers can utilize.
I am fortunate to serve both as the editor and publisher of Brain Brawn & Body. I have learned so much since launching this website. In much the same way as I spent two decades prepping for my radio show, reading and researching topics on a regular basis, I have found myself doing that type of prep work for Brain Brawn & Body.
It has been a rewarding experience. This past year has been a whirlwind of activity for the website. We have done workshops and forums, health fairs and seminars, but mostly the enrichment has come from the monthly publishing of articles that enlighten our readers about health and wellness issues.
Lately, it seems I’ve been on both sides of the issue – the bearer of good and bad news as well as the recipient of both. I can tell you, it’s not easy delivering bad news. At the same time I find it difficult to be the recipient of good news from people because it seems that right behind the good news they have for me, they share a sad story with me.
I feel for them and it makes rejoicing in the good news I’ve just received quite difficult.
The conflict of delivering good news and/or bad news first came to mind because of the number of my friends and acquaintances who have been met with some misfortune recently. In some of those situations their anguish has been compounded by multiple incidents.
My sister, the world traveler and scuba diver, shared one of her favorite dive trips so I could share it with you. On the other side of the world in between China and Australia lies Indonesia. The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago containing more than 13,000 islands. On the way to their scuba diving trip in Wakatobi, they first stopped on the island of Bali.
Their experience in Bali was a very spiritual and peaceful one. They stayed in the southern part of the island called South Kuta because it was near the airport. Dubbed the Detroit of Indonesia , it was crowded, dirty and didn’t make them feel safe.
This holiday season you may find yourself traveling near or far. Whichever it is for you, travel safely. Try to put aside any family discontent and enjoy each other. Be positive, kind and compassionate.
Some of the stories I’ve heard over the last month have saddened me…a man dying unexpectedly at the age of 47; a young mother in our school district passing away. She was only 40. Then yet this week, I heard of another person dying who was only 30. Life is short, so live it with gusto.
There are some of us who love words. Vicarious is one of my favorites. “Living vicariously” allows one to experience things through others without having the experience firsthand. In this case it is witnessing the amazing hippopotamus in Africa.
With her husband, my sister recently took one of her bucket list trips. She went on an African safari. Prior to the trip, she received a new camera with an amazing lens and took photography classes to enhance her picture taking skills. What she did next was wonderful.
With photo sharing on Facebook, friends and family can stay up to date on trips and photos. My sister took over 600 pictures each day on her safari, then each night she would edit them and post her favorites for family members to enjoy. We took a virtual safari with her, thus, experiencing the safari vicariously.
My sister emailed this to me the other day with the subject line: Absolutely priceless.
I’d have to agree. It is simply, priceless. I don’t know who compiled this list, but I am thankful to my sister for sharing it with me. Read it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.
An Elementary School Teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!
My wife often asks me to walk with her. She is an avid walker. She gets her day started with a brisk walk through our neighborhood. I admire her commitment to this daily exercise routine.
As a former athlete, a weekend warrior really, I still look at walking as a wimpy way to get your fitness fix. But I must admit, it’s better than nothing and nothing is what I’ve gotten good at.
Wikipedia defines vulnerability this way: Vulnerability refers to the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment.
A more spiritual understanding of vulnerability is provided in the Bible in 1 Peter 5:14… Greet one another with a kiss of love. And in Ephesians 4:25… Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
The other day I watched a popular life class about vulnerability. In essence, the guest, Brene Brown, defined vulnerability as “an act of courage”.
We have been looking forward to this vacation all summer. I always wanted to take a vacation right at the end of summer and have one last big hurrah before the children start school. Then our memories would be fresh, we’d be rested and happy to start the school year. So, this was the vacation!
For some reason, my daughter thinks it is fun(?) to get up super early and go to the airport. That is just what we had to do for our great fare deal out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport to Myrtle Beach. It’s also nice to have friends who will pick us up at 4:00am to get us to the airport in time. I guess if one is trying to get as much fun out of a day as possible, this combination of my daughter’s excitement and the energy of our kind friend is a great way to start.
My greatest wish is for all to have the best health possible. As one who has faced many health challenges over the past 20 years, I know and appreciate the importance of good health.
While I have never asked, “why me”, I have often wondered just how someone who has never been a drinker, nor a smoker could have been hit with such devastating health issues. Obviously, there are many other factors that contribute to or detract from one’s health. But it is clear that these two aforementioned vices, which, when they become habitual, can be detrimental to one’s health.
You may not recognize his face and certainly, his was not a household name like that of James Gandolfini, the star of the hit HBO series the Sopranos. But Christian Benitez’ fate was the same as that of Gandolfini’s in that both men died of a heart attack; both unexpected.
I don’t know much about soccer. I’m not familiar with the stars of the game. I was watching ESPN and saw the story of this young man who had succumbed to an apparent heart attack. The people in the story who knew him were devastated and in shock.
You may think I am being facetious. I guess it depends on your ability. There is the Joy of Cooking, the Joy of Baking, the Joy of Painting, but the Joy of Golfing? Much to my surprise, there is a website titled thejoyofgolfing.com. I actually love golfing. I am a moderately skilled golfer, although the golf instructor at my local course thinks I bought the lifetime lesson membership! You are here for lessons again?! Let me tell you why I am serious in my belief that there is much joy in golfing.
I know of groups of men who live for early Saturday morning golf, our own editor Eric Von included. They thrill for the long drives, sinking the putts and in some cases, enjoying a stogie in their carts. They enjoy getting away, relaxing and testing their skills. This is great “guy time”.
Health Reporter, Essayist, Blogger
I am standing in line in one of our state's legal pot clubs, which sells marijuana to anyone with a doctor's letter of recommendation. The "patients" look similar to the customers in a middle-market liquor store. There are a preponderance of frat boys and surfer dude-types, women with tattooed shoulders and piercings and a few older folks, who might be military vets fallen on hard times. Most of us look like we are shopping for something to put the spark into Saturday night, but I am here in the hope that marijuana will help my 11-year-old daughter enjoy her food once again.
The Black male incarceration rate; higher than the national average unemployment; unacceptable drop out rates at middle and high school; the disparate treatment of black male in the health care community which results, in part, to the high rate of death in just about every category impacting the human race. And now the question: are men needed?
It’s no wonder black males are slow to respond as mentors, as leaders in their communities; even as heads of their own families. There is so much that black males combat on every front - every day of their lives. The above list just scratches the surface. Add to that list everyday things that occur for all of us, and it’s a wonder black men don’t question their own relevancy daily.
2,400 miles. 6 tanks of gas. $4.19 a gallon. $157 round trip. These were the numbers I worked with as we debated to drive or fly to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had been there a few years ago with some dear friends. We stayed only one night, but loved the ocean and the area. I have always wanted to return, so this year we hoped we could.
If we drove the 2,400 miles from Milwaukee to Myrtle Beach, it would be take about 6 tanks of gas costing about $75 each fill-up for a grand total of approximately $450. It would also take about 2 days and 19 hours of driving. My son would have his license, so there would be three drivers, but the thought of spending that much time in the car didn’t thrill me.
I was stunned and saddened by the news of the death of television star James Gandolfini. My daughter called to tell me. She knew I was a huge fan of the show, The Sopranos when it was on HBO.
It was hard for her to tell me, I’m sure, not only because she too is a fan of the show, but because of my recent heart issues. Gandolfini is reported to have died of a heart attack. Just a few weeks ago I suffered my third heart attack and it’s been rough on my family, my daughter and my wife especially.