How did They Live Past 116

22 12 2018

Healthy relationships contribute to long life spans

Updated:  22 December 2018

How do average people live well past 100 years of age and significantly longer with a  95 year average lifespan? Does it have anything to do with genetics, environment, habit, diet, exercise or something more or absent thereof?

First let’s examine some of the longest living centurion biographies on record. And after reviewing these biographies, we’ll connect the dots to make a correlation to their longevity lifestyle secrets.

During the 19th – late 20th Century – interviews before death relevant to  lifestyle and culture to include biography and genealogy was not captured through a scientific or epidemiological process. Therefor I’ll render an opinion based on assumptions extracted from the limited amount of biographical data of deceased subjects; and references at the end of the article.

Super Centenarian – Deceased Subjects of Observation,

Jeanne Calment (21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) she lived 122 years, 164 days, place of residence Arles, France.   Jeanne Louise Calment surpassed previous Guinness Book of Record holders as the longest living confirmed human.  It was said Jeanne smoked more than 2 cigarettes per day and after an operation in 1994 she weighed 99 pounds where she became dependent on a wheelchair for mobility.  She attributed her long life and youthful appearance to olive oil which she used religiously in her food and on her skin. Included within her diet she drank port wine and consumed ~2lbs of chocolate weekly.  In total she outlived 329 undisputedly-verified super centenarians

Sarah Knauss-Clark (24 September 1880 – 30 December 1999) she lived 119 years, 97 days, place of residence, Hollywood and Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Sarah had a career as an insurance office manager and upon her marriage to Abraham Lincoln Knauss (December 19, 1878 – March 1, 1965) she spent her time as a home maker and was a skilled seamstress. Mrs.  Knauss was known as an extraordinary woman that pushed the envelope of longevity.  It was said, the reason for her longevity stemmed from the fact she was a very tranquil person and nothing fazed her. Also it is known that she enjoyed life because she had her health and could do what she wanted. Her interests and foods included: viewing golf tournaments, needlepoint and nibbling on chocolate turtles, cashews and potato chips. Her only child Kathryn Knauss Sullivan (November 17, 1903 – January 21, 2005) lived to be 101 and was 96 at the time of her mother’s death.

Lucy Hannah (16 July 1875 – 21 March 1993) she lived 117 years, 248 days, place of residence Born in Linden, Alabama and died in Detroit.  She moved in the great migration to escape the racial tensions that were prominent of the times in the Deep South.  Her parents survived slavery for which it is noted they were whipped daily until their freedom and thereafter suffered from trauma as a result of the physical and mental scars. Lucy married John Hannah in 1901 and had 8 children together. Two of her children were still living at the time of her death. The two sisters lived to be 100 years of age. And Hannah’s mother lived to the age of 99.

Marie-Louise Meileur (29 August 1880 – 16 April 1998) She lived 117 years, 230 days, place of residence Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada. It is known that Marie was married twice and between the two marriages had 4 children with first husband Etienne Leclerc from 1900 and where he died in 1911.  And then the super centenarian had six other children through her second marriage with Hector Meileur whom she married in 1915 until his death in 1972.  She had 85 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren and 57 great-great- grandchildren and 4 (3 x great grandchildren). Marie’s death was the result of a blood clot.

Maria Capovilla (14 September 1889 – 27 August 2006) She lived 116 years, 347 days and was recognized by Guinness World Records during her reign as the world’s oldest living person ever in South America and the southern hemisphere in Guayaquil. Ecuador. It is also interesting to note she is also the oldest human that had a life span living within three centuries. Born as Maria Esther Heredia Lecaro; she married a military officer, Antonio Capovill after his first wife died.  They had five children together, three (Hilda, 81, Irma, 80 and Anibal 78) of which were at Maria’s side prior to death.  Antonio passed in 1949.  She had 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren.  She enjoyed watching TV, reading and walked without the assistance of a cane, but helped by an aide prior to the day of her passing. She also never smoked or drank hard liquor.

Although home bound for the last two years of life, she shared her home with eldest daughter Hilda and son-in-law. In an interview her traditional view of men and women stated her dislike, about how women today are permitted to court men, rather than men courting women.

During 2006 near time of death Maria’s health took a turn for the worse.  She could no longer read, she nearly stopped talking and no longer could walk without the assistance of two people. Just prior to her death she was able to sit comfortably in her chair and fan herself. She died just 18 days before her 117th birthday. Cause of death Pneumonia.

Tane Ikai (18 January 1879 – 12 July 1995) She lived 116 years, 175 days, place of birth Kansei, Japan.  She is the only fully verified person within Asia to reach 116 years of age. She married at the age of 20 had 3 sons and one daughter. At the age of 38 she left her husband. At the age of 89 she entered a nursing home. At the age of 109 she had a stroke where she remained bed ridden in a hospital until her death.  Cause of death kidney failure.

Besse Cooper (26 August 1896 – 4 December 2012) 116 years and surpassing Elizabeth Bolden’s 116 years, 118 days. Besse Berry Brown-Cooper of Sullivan County, Tennessee was married to Luther Cooper and had 4 children and widowed after 39 years of marriage. Luther was 68 at the time of his death. Mrs. Cooper lived on her farm and moved into a nursing facility at the age of 105. Recently, Cooper reached her 116th birthday in August 2012, the second-oldest verified person from Tennessee and surpassing Elizabeth Bolden who died in December 2006, at the age of 116 years and 118 days. When asked what the secret to her super centurion lifespan, she stated, “minding my own business” working outdoors and avoiding most junk foods and ate lots of vegetables.  Occupation: retired teacher.   Cause of Death: Respiratory Failure.

Elizabeth Bolden (15 August 1890 – 11 December 2006) She lived 116 Years, 118 days and at the time of her death recognized by Guinness as the oldest living person.  She was born in Somerville, Tennessee, the daughter of freed slaves.  She had 7 children, only two of which were alive at the time of her death (Esther, 89 and Mamie 86). Elizabeth had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great grandchildren and 220 (3 x great grandchildren) and an amazing 75 (4 x great grandchildren). And in her final days of life she resided within a Memphis Tennessee nursing facility.  Elizabeth also lived a life spanning within three centuries.

Maggie Barnes (6 March 1882 – 19 January 1998) She lived 115 years, 319 days, place of residence, Johnston County, North Carolina.  She was born to a slave and married a tenant farmer. Eleven of her children preceded her in death, while 4 of her other children survived her after death. Mrs. Barnes died of a complication from a minor foot infection.

Christian Mortensen (16 August 1882 – 25 April 1998) He lived 115 years, 252 days, last place of residence San Rafael, California. Born in a village near the city of Skanderborg, Denmark, he then settled in Chicago and worked various trades: tailor, milkman, and restaurateur and factory worker. He was married 10 years, had no children and never remarried. Retiring near Galveston Bay, Texas; 28 years later it was claimed at the age of 96 he rode his bike to the Aldersly Retirement Community in San Rafael where he stayed until his death. He’s the oldest living male to date.

When asked for advice on his long life; he stated, “stay away from alcohol; drink lots of water, keep a positive attitude, keep good friends and singing” will help you live a long time. His diet preferences were mainly a vegetarian diet and he also drank a lot of boiled water. He smoked cigars believing if in moderation, it was not unhealthy.

In order to find out how these 10 individuals lived so long – we’ll compare environment, lifestyle, diet, behaviors and habits with the online data available. In this way we may understand what common denominators may have contributed to their long life spans.

Centenarian interview statements revealed prior to death [in bold – represents a healthy habit or behavior of moderation], were claimed by each individual to contribute to their long lives spans.

Centurion Replies,

Use olive oil religiously in foods

Port “Red” Wine

Chocolate

Cashews

Potato chips

Drink lots of water

Mainly vegetarian

Drink boiled water

Junk foods

Hard Liquor

Rub olive oil on skin

Smoke Cigarettes and/or Cigars

Alcohol

Red wine

Very tranquil person

Mind my own business, stress reduction

Keep a positive attitude and sense of humor

Perceived overall Good health

Needlepoint

Ability to be mobile

Singing

Watch TV

Listen to Radio

Watch Sports

Walking-mobility

Communication

Socialization

Working Outdoors

Good Family and friend relationships

Social gatherings

One has purpose in life

Interactive life

High Cancer Statisic- Environment (Reference article #11, 12, 13, 14)

California, Florida, Texas and New York (High Cancer States)

Centurions lived most of their life – on average in low cancer per Capita States

Cause of death,

Mobility loss

Blood clot

Pneumonia

Kidney Failure

Infection

No cause listed, “respiratory failure”

Conclusion,

All but one of ten centenarians lived in a statistically low cancer state(s) [excluding those that lived outside of the United States]. And all but one of the 10 was male. Christian Mortensen lived in Texas 28 years and then moved to a California nursing home at the age of 96.  He lived ~48 years in a statistically high cancer state and where it appears he spent the majority of his first ~68 years of life in Skanderborg, Denmark.  He lived ~116 years of age beating all other fellow men in longevity.

It looks like all 10 of these individuals lived within large families; most were married and/or had large circles of various interactive social-family relationships. It also appears mobility, stress reduction and positive mood was important contributors to overall wellbeing. As far as their habits and diets – it appeared they moderated the good with a “little” bad.  For the most part, their diets appeared healthy and most consumed very little if any alcohol.

Recall, 9 out of 10 of these super centenarians where female.  It is a fact that women live longer than men. This has a lot to do with metabolism, genetics, diet, body weight, habits and lifestyle. What specifically separates men from women? Men are greatly driven by hormones (read importance of testosterone on men’s health, Ref #8) which tend to cause more risky behavior and mood-stress characteristics. Also when testosterone levels drop, or become unbalanced in men during the aging process, this change tends to have a significant impact on men’s health and longevity. Male hormone replacement therapy monitored by a physician can help with low testosterone production, which may help support vitality and longevity while reducing health risk.

These centenarians shows us they lived relatively balanced lifestyles. They were physically and mentally active throughout their life span; they enjoyed personal and social gatherings and relationships mostly within large circles of friends and family. And for those residing in the United States lived mostly within low statistical cancer states (Ref #11).

They lived purposeful and mobile lifestyles, had positive attitudes, maintained low levels of stress, had good sense of humor, enjoyed selfless endeavors and shared their life experiences and stories with others. They also lived life to the fullest and without the crutch of habitual vices and little need of medications.

Reference,

  1.  Fadem, Mitch, Dr.  Health Benefits of Cigar Tobacco – Cigars and Medicine.  The Tobacco Leaf – Good or Bad?  About.com.  http://cigars.about.com/od/legalhealthissues/a/cigarmedicine.htm
  2. Rettner, Rachael.  Sweet Science:  The Health Benefits of Chocolate.  LiveScience.com.  11 February 2010. http://www.livescience.com/6111-sweet-science-health-benefits-chocolate.html
  3. Wikipedia.  The Free Encyclopedia. Oldest People.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_people#Oldest_people_ever
  4. Woodamarc.  How these Well Known Celebrities Lived So Long.  Hubpages.com.  20 August 2012.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/How-Did-These-Well-Known-Celebrities-Live-so-Long
  5. Woodamarc.  Pain Depression Origins. Hubpages.com. 5 April 2010.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/Pain-Depression-Origins
  6. Woodamarc.  Alcohol Consumption Good for You?  What?  Hubpages.com.  14 November 2008.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/Alcohol-Consumption
  7. Woodard, Marc.  Disease is Scientifically Linked to Genetic Engineering of Food Crops.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  22 September 2018.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2018/09/22/disease-is-scientifically-linked-to-genetic-engineering-of-food-crops/
  8. Woodard, Marc.  Low Testosterone, another Man Made Risky Fix?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  22 January 2012.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2012/01/22/low-testosterone-another-man-made-risky-fix/
  9. Woodard, Marc.  Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and Get Fit.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  23 September 2011.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2011/09/23/learn-to-embrace-the-pain-exercise-and-get-fit/
  10. Woodard, Marc.  Wisdom of Consuming Oleic Acid [Olive Oil].  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  23 January 2010.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2010/01/23/mae-healthblog-wisdom-of-consuming-oleic-acid-2/
  11. Woodard, Marc.  Pancreatic Cancer Statistics and Recommendations.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  24 November 2009.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2009/11/24/mae-health-blog-pancreatic-cancer-statistics-and-recommendations/
  12. Woodard, Marc.  Is Pancreatic Cancer on the Rise?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  24 October 2009.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2009/10/24/mae-health-blog-is-pancreatic-cancer-on-the-rise-part-1

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2018 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





10 Super Centenarians, How did They Live over 116?

18 06 2014

Healthy relationships contribute to long life spans

Updated:  18 June 2014

I wrote an article titled “How Did These Well Known Celebrities Live so Long?”  I thought it interesting next to look at the longest living “super” centenarians on record to better understand the similarities of the longest living celebrities (Ref #4 below).

How did average people live well past 100 years of age and significantly longer than the longest living celebrities on record with a  95 year average lifespan?

First let’s examine some of the longest living centurion biographies on record.   And after reviewing these biographies, I’ll attempt to make a correlation to their lifestyle secrets.

I’ll then render an opinion as to why I think they lived so long.  It should also be pointed out some of these biographies are rather thin in background.  This is because during the 1800’s, interviews before death and recording of this information was challenging, unlike our current time celebrity longevity data.

Jeanne Calment (21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) she lived 122 years, 164 days, place of residence Arles, France.   Jeanne Louise Calment surpassed previous Guinness Book of Record holders as the longest living confirmed human.   It was said Jeanne smoked more than 2 cigarettes per day and after an operation in 1994 she weighed 99 pounds where she became dependent on a wheelchair for mobility.  She attributed her long life and youthful appearance to olive oil which she used religiously in her food and on her skin.  Included within her diet she drank port wine and consumed ~2lbs of chocolate weekly.  In total she outlived 329 undisputedly-verified super centenarians

Sarah Knauss-Clark (24 September 1880 – 30 December 1999) she lived 119 years, 97 days, place of residence, Hollywood and Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Sarah had a career as an insurance office manager and upon her marriage to Abraham Lincoln Knauss (December 19, 1878 – March 1, 1965) she spent her time as a home maker and was a skilled seamstress.  Mrs.  Knauss was known as an extraordinary woman that pushed the envelope of longevity.  It was said, the reason for her longevity stemmed from the fact she was a very tranquil person and nothing fazed her.  Also it is known that she enjoyed life because she had her health and could do what she wanted.  Her interests and foods included: viewing golf tournaments, needlepoint and nibbling on chocolate turtles, cashews and potato chips.  Her only child Kathryn Knauss Sullivan (November 17, 1903 – January 21, 2005) lived to be 101 and was 96 at the time of her mother’s death.

Lucy Hannah (16 July 1875 – 21 March 1993) she lived 117 years, 248 days, place of residence Born in Linden, Alabama and died in Detroit.  She moved in the great migration to escape the racial tensions that where prominent of the times in the Deep South.   Her parents survived slavery for which it is noted they were whipped daily until their freedom and thereafter suffered from trauma as a result of the physical and mental scars.   Lucy married John Hannah in 1901 and had 8 children together.  Two of her children were still living at the time of her death.  The two sisters lived to be 100 years of age.  And Hannah’s mother lived to the age of 99.

Marie-Louise Meileur (29 August 1880 – 16 April 1998) She lived 117 years, 230 days, place of residence Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada.  It is known that Marie was married twice and between the two marriages had 4 children with first husband Etienne Leclerc from 1900 and where he died in 1911.  And then the super centenarian had six other children through her second marriage with Hector Meileur whom she married in 1915 until his death in 1972.  She had 85 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren and 57 great-great- grandchildren and 4 (3 x great grandchildren).  Marie’s death was the result of a blood clot.

Maria Capovilla (14 September 1889 – 27 August 2006) She lived 116 years, 347 days and was recognized by Guinness World Records during her reign as the world’s oldest living person ever in South America and the southern hemisphere in Guayaquil. Ecuador.  It is also interesting to note she is also the oldest human that had a life span living within three centuries.  Born as Maria Esther Heredia Lecaro; she married a military officer, Antonio Capovill after his first wife died.  They had five children together, three (Hilda, 81, Irma, 80 and Anibal 78) of which were at Maria’s side prior to death.  Antonio passed in 1949.  She had 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren.  She enjoyed watching TV, reading and walked without the assistance of a cane, but helped by an aide prior to the day of her passing.  She also never smoked or drank hard liquor.

Although home bound for the last two years of life, she shared her home with eldest daughter Hilda and son-in-law.  In an interview her traditional view of men and women stated her dislike, about how women today are permitted to court men, rather than men courting women.

During 2006 near time of death Maria’s health took a turn for the worse.  She could no longer read, she nearly stopped talking and no longer could walk without the assistance of two people.  Just prior to her death she was able to sit comfortably in her chair and fan herself.  She died just 18 days before her 117th birthday.  Cause of death Pneumonia.

Tane Ikai (18 January 1879 – 12 July 1995) She lived 116 years, 175 days, place of birth Kansei, Japan.  She is the only fully verified person within Asia to reach 116 years of age.  She married at the age of 20 had 3 sons and one daughter.  At the age of 38 she left her husband.  At the age of 89 she entered a nursing home.  At the age of 109 she had a stroke where she remained bed ridden in a hospital until her death.   Cause of death kidney failure.

Besse Cooper (26 August 1896 – 4 December 2012) 116 years and surpassing Elizabeth Bolden’s 116 years, 118 days.  Besse Berry Brown-Cooper of Sullivan County, Tennessee was married to Luther Cooper and had 4 children and widowed after 39 years of marriage.  Luther was 68 at the time of his death.  Mrs. Cooper lived on her farm and moved into a nursing facility at the age of 105.   Recently, Cooper reached her 116th birthday in August 2012, the second-oldest verified person from Tennessee and surpassing Elizabeth Bolden who died in December 2006, at the age of 116 years and 118 days.  When asked what the secret to her super centurion lifespan, she stated, “minding my own business” working outdoors and avoiding most junk foods and ate lots of vegetables.  Occupation: retired teacher.   Cause of Death: Respiratory Failure.

Elizabeth Bolden (15 August 1890 – 11 December 2006) She lived 116 Years, 118 days and at the time of her death recognized by Guinness as the oldest living person.  She was born in Somerville, Tennessee, the daughter of freed slaves.  She had 7 children, only two of which were alive at the time of her death (Esther, 89 and Mamie 86).   Elizabeth had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great grandchildren and 220 (3 x great grandchildren) and an amazing 75 (4 x great grandchildren).  And in her final days of life she resided within a Memphis Tennessee nursing facility.  Elizabeth also lived a life spanning within three centuries.

Maggie Barnes (6 March 1882 – 19 January 1998) She lived 115 years, 319 days, place of residence, Johnston County, North Carolina.  She was born to a slave and married a tenant farmer.  Eleven of her children preceded her in death, while 4 of her other children survived her after death.  Mrs. Barnes died of a complication from a minor foot infection.

Christian Mortensen (16 August 1882 – 25 April 1998) He lived 115 years, 252 days, last place of residence San Rafael, California.  Born in a village near the city of Skanderborg, Denmark, he then settled in Chicago and worked various trades: tailor, milkman, and restaurateur and factory worker.  He was married 10 years, had no children and never remarried.  Retiring near Galveston Bay, Texas; 28 years later it was claimed at the age of 96 he rode his bike to the Aldersly Retirement Community in San Rafael where he stayed until his death.  He’s the oldest living male to date.

When asked for advice on his long life; he stated, “stay away from alcohol; drink lots of water, keep a positive attitude, keep good friends and singing” will help you live a long time.  His diet preferences were mainly a vegetarian diet and he also drank a lot of boiled water.  He also smoked cigars believing if in moderation, it was not unhealthy.

In order to find these 10 centurions longevity secrets, we’ll compare their lifestyles, diet, behaviors and habits to compare common lifestyle habits and behavioral denominators that may have led to their long life spans.

Centenarian biographical and interview statements below: “in bold” are some of the lifestyle habits and behaviors claimed to contribute to their long lives.

Centurion Replies,

Use olive oil religiously in foods

Port “Red” Wine

Chocolate

Cashews

Potato chips

Drink lots of water

Mainly vegetarian

Drink boiled water

Junk foods

Hard Liquor

Rub olive oil on skin

Smoke Cigarettes and/or Cigars

Alcohol

Red wine

Very tranquil person

Mind my own business, stress reduction

Keep a positive attitude and sense of humor

Perceived and overall Good health

Needlepoint

Ability to be mobile

Singing

Watch TV

Listen to Radio

Watch Sports

Walking-mobility

Communication

Socialization

Working Outdoors

Good Family and friend relationships

Social gatherings

One has purpose in life

Interactive life

High Cancer Statisic- Environment (Reference article #11, 12, 13, 14)

California, Florida, Texas and New York (High Cancer States)

Centurions live mostly in Low Cancer States

Cause of death,

Mobility loss

Blood clot

Pneumonia

Kidney Failure

Infection

No cause listed, “respiratory failure”

Conclusion,

All but one of ten centenarians lived in a statistically low cancer state(s) [excluding those that lived outside of the United States].  And all but one of the 10 was male.  Christian Mortensen lived in Texas 28 years and then moved to a California nursing home at the age of 96.  He lived ~48 years in a statistically high cancer state(s), and where it appears he spent the majority of his first ~68 years of life in Skanderborg, Denmark.  He lived ~116 years of age beating all other fellow men in longevity.

It looks like all 10 of these individuals lived within large families; most were married and/or had large circles of various interactive social-family relationships.  It also appears mobility, stress reduction and positive mood disposition was important contributors to overall wellbeing.  As far as their habits and diets it appeared they moderated the good with “little” bad.  For the most part, their diets appeared healthy and most did not consume any or very little alcohol.

Recall, 9 out of 10 of these super centenarians where female.  It is a fact that women live longer than men.  This has a lot to do with genetics, diet, body weight, hormones, immune systems, habits and lifestyle.   What specifically separates men from women?  Men are greatly driven by hormones (read importance of testosterone on men’s health, Ref #8) that tend to cause more risky behavior and mood-stress characteristics.  Also when testosterone levels drop, or become unbalanced in men during the aging process, this change tends to have a significant impact on men’s health and longevity.

These centenarians shows us they lived relatively balanced lifestyles.  They were physically and mentally active throughout their life span; they enjoyed personal and social gatherings and relationships mostly within large circles of friends and family. And for those residing in the United States lived mostly within low statistical cancer states (Ref #11).

They lived purposeful and mobile lifestyles, had positive attitudes, maintained low levels of stress, had good sense of humor, enjoyed selfless endeavors and shared their life experiences and stories with others.  They also lived life to the fullest and without the crutch of habitual vices and little need of medications.

Reference,

  1.  Fadem, Mitch, Dr.  Health Benefits of Cigar Tobacco – Cigars and Medicine.  The Tobacco Leaf – Good or Bad?  About.com.  http://cigars.about.com/od/legalhealthissues/a/cigarmedicine.htm
  2. Rettner, Rachael.  Sweet Science:  The Health Benefits of Chocolate.  LiveScience.com.  11 February 2010. http://www.livescience.com/6111-sweet-science-health-benefits-chocolate.html
  3. Wikipedia.  The Free Encyclopedia. Oldest People.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_people#Oldest_people_ever
  4. Woodamarc.  How these Well Known Celebrities Lived So Long.  Hubpages.com.  20 August 2012.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/How-Did-These-Well-Known-Celebrities-Live-so-Long
  5. Woodamarc.  Pain Depression Origins. Hubpages.com. 5 April 2010.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/Pain-Depression-Origins
  6. Woodamarc.  Alcohol Consumption Good for You?  What?  Hubpages.com.  14 November 2008.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/Alcohol-Consumption
  7. Woodard, Marc.  Disease is Scientifically Linked to Genetic Engineering of Food Crops.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  22 August 2012.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2012/08/22/disease-is-scientifically-linked-to-genetic-engineering-of-food-crops/
  8. Woodard, Marc.  Low Testosterone, another Man Made Risky Fix?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  22 January 2012.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2012/01/22/low-testosterone-another-man-made-risky-fix/
  9. Woodard, Marc.  Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and Get Fit.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  23 September 2011.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2011/09/23/learn-to-embrace-the-pain-exercise-and-get-fit/
  10. Woodard, Marc.  Wisdom of Consuming Oleic Acid [Olive Oil].  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  23 January 2010.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2010/01/23/mae-healthblog-wisdom-of-consuming-oleic-acid-2/
  11. Woodard, Marc.  Pancreatic Cancer Statistics and Recommendations.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  24 November 2009.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2009/11/24/mae-health-blog-pancreatic-cancer-statistics-and-recommendations/
  12. Woodard, Marc.  Is Pancreatic Cancer on the Rise?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  24 October 2009.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2009/10/24/mae-health-blog-is-pancreatic-cancer-on-the-rise-part-1/
  13. Woodard, Marc.  Can You Prevent Cancer?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  1 May 2008.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2008/05/01/mirror-athlete-enterprises-health-blog-can-you-prevent-cancer/
  14. Woodard, Marc.  Toxins in Every House Hold Consumer Product, What!  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  5 December 2007.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2007/12/05/mirror-athlete-enterprises-healthblog-is-cancer-in-your-tub/

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2014 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





10 Super Centenarians, How did They Live over 116?

22 09 2012

Healthy relationships contribute to long life spans

Recently I wrote an article titled “How Did These Well Known Celebrities Live so Long?”  I thought it interesting next to look at the longest living “super” centenarians on record to better understand the similarities and comparisons to the longest living celebrities (“How these Well Known Celebrities Lived So Long).  How did average people live well past 100 years of age and significantly longer than the longest living celebrities that had an average life span of 95 years?

First let’s examine some of the longest living centurion biographies on record starting from the oldest.   And after reviewing these biographies, I’ll attempt to make a correlation as to their longevity secrets.  I’ll then render an opinion as to why I think they lived so long.  It should also be pointed out some of these biographies are rather thin in substance.  This is because in the 1800’s interviews before death and biographical information was difficult to find, unlike our celebrities biographies.

Jeanne Calment (21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) she lived 122 years, 164 days, place of residence Arles, France.   Jeanne Louise Calment surpassed previous Guinness Book of Record holders as the longest living confirmed human.   It was said Jeanne smoked more than 2 cigarettes per day and after an operation in 1994 she weighed 99 pounds where she became dependent on a wheelchair for mobility.  She attributed her long life and youthful appearance to olive oil which she used religiously in her food and on her skin.  Included within her diet she drank port wine and consumed ~2lbs of chocolate weekly.  In total she outlived 329 undisputedly-verified super centenarians

Sarah Knauss-Clark (24 September 1880 – 30 December 1999) she lived 119 years, 97 days, place of residence, Hollywood and Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Sarah had a career as an insurance office manager and upon her marriage to Abraham Lincoln Knauss (December 19, 1878 – March 1, 1965) she spent her time as a home maker and was a skilled seamstress.  Mrs.  Knauss was known as an extraordinary woman that pushed the envelope of longevity.  It was said, the reason for her longevity stemmed from the fact she was a very tranquil person and nothing fazed her.  Also it is known that she enjoyed life because she had her health and could do what she wanted.  Her interests and foods included: viewing golf tournaments, needlepoint and nibbling on chocolate turtles, cashews and potato chips.  Her only child Kathryn Knauss Sullivan (November 17, 1903 – January 21, 2005) lived to be 101 and was 96 at the time of her mother’s death.

Lucy Hannah (16 July 1875 – 21 March 1993) she lived 117 years, 248 days, place of residence Born in Linden, Alabama and died in Detroit.  She moved in the great migration to escape the racial tensions that where prominent of the times in the Deep South.   Her parents survived slavery for which it is noted they were whipped daily until their freedom and thereafter suffered from trauma as a result of the physical and mental scars.   Lucy married John Hannah in 1901 and had 8 children together.  Two of her children were still living at the time of her death.  The two sisters lived to be 100 years of age.  And Hannah’s mother lived to the age of 99.

Marie-Louise Meileur (29 August 1880 – 16 April 1998) She lived 117 years, 230 days, place of residence Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada.  It is known that Marie was married twice and between the two marriages had 4 children with first husband Etienne Leclerc from 1900 and where he died in 1911.  And then the super centenarian had six other children through her second marriage with Hector Meileur whom she married in 1915 until his death in 1972.  She had 85 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren and 57 great-great- grandchildren and 4 (3 x great grandchildren).  Marie’s death was the result of a blood clot.

Maria Capovilla (14 September 1889 – 27 August 2006) She lived 116 years, 347 days and was recognized by Guinness World Records during her reign as the world’s oldest living person ever in South America and the southern hemisphere in Guayaquil. Ecuador.  It is also interesting to note she is also the oldest human that had a life span living within three centuries.  Born as Maria Esther Heredia Lecaro; she married a military officer, Antonio Capovill after his first wife died.  They had five children together, three (Hilda, 81, Irma, 80 and Anibal 78) of which were at Maria’s side prior to death.  Antonio passed in 1949.  She had 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren.  She enjoyed watching TV, reading and walked without the assistance of a cane, but helped by an aide prior to the day of her passing.  She also never smoked or drank hard liquor.

Although home bound for the last two years of life, she shared her home with eldest daughter Hilda and son-in-law.  In an interview her traditional view of men and women stated her dislike, about how women today are permitted to court men, rather than men courting women.

During 2006 near time of death Maria’s health took a turn for the worse.  She could no longer read, she nearly stopped talking and no longer could walk without the assistance of two people.  Just prior to her death she was able to sit comfortably in her chair and fan herself.  She died just 18 days before her 117th birthday.  Cause of death Pneumonia.

Tane Ikai (18 January 1879 – 12 July 1995) She lived 116 years, 175 days, place of birth Kansei, Japan.  She is the only fully verified person within Asia to reach 116 years of age.  She married at the age of 20 had 3 sons and one daughter.  At the age of 38 she left her husband.  At the age of 89 she entered a nursing home.  At the age of 109 she had a stroke where she remained bed ridden in a hospital until her death.   Cause of death kidney failure.

Besse Cooper (26 August 1896 – Living) 116 years and surpassing Elizabeth Bolden’s 116 years, 118 days.  Besse Berry Brown-Cooper of Sullivan County, Tennessee was married to Luther Cooper and had 4 children and widowed after 39 years of marriage.  Luther was 68 at the time of his death.  Mrs. Cooper lived on her farm and moved into a nursing facility at the age of 105.   Recently, Cooper reached her 116th birthday in August 2012, the second-oldest verified person from Tennessee and surpassing Elizabeth Bolden who died in December 2006, at the age of 116 years and 118 days.  When asked what the secret to her super centurion lifespan, she stated, “minding my own business” working outdoors and avoiding most junk foods and ate lots of vegetables.  Occupation: retired teacher.   See recent living update on Besse Cooper:  by Miller, Andy. At Georgia health News link.  http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2012/08/healthy-life-georgia-besse-coopers-world-beating-longevity/

Elizabeth Bolden (15 August 1890 – 11 December 2006) She lived 116 Years, 118 days and at the time of her death recognized by Guinness as the oldest living person.  She was born in Somerville, Tennessee, the daughter of freed slaves.  She had 7 children, only two of which were alive at the time of her death (Esther, 89 and Mamie 86).   Elizabeth had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great grandchildren and 220 (3 x great grandchildren) and an amazing 75 (4 x great grandchildren).  And in her final days of life she resided within a Memphis Tennessee nursing facility.  Elizabeth also lived a life spanning within three centuries.

Maggie Barnes (6 March 1882 – 19 January 1998) She lived 115 years, 319 days, place of residence, Johnston County, North Carolina.  She was born to a slave and married a tenant farmer.  Eleven of her children preceded her in death, while 4 of her other children survived her after death.  Mrs. Barnes died of a complication from a minor foot infection.

Christian Mortensen (16 August 1882 – 25 April 1998) He lived 115 years, 252 days, last place of residence San Rafael, California.  Born in a village near the city of Skanderborg, Denmark, he then settled in Chicago and worked various trades: tailor, milkman, and restaurateur and factory worker.  He was married 10 years, had no children and never remarried.  Retiring near Galveston Bay, Texas; 28 years later it was claimed at the age of 96 he rode his bike to the Aldersly Retirement Community in San Rafael where he stayed until his death.  He’s the oldest living male to date.

When asked for advice on his long life; he stated, “stay away from alcohol; drink lots of water, keep a positive attitude, keep good friends and singing” will help you live a long time.  His diet preferences were mainly a vegetarian diet and he also drank a lot of boiled water.  He also smoked cigars believing if in moderation, it was not unhealthy.

In order to find these 10 centurions longevity secrets, we’ll compare their lifestyles, diet, behaviors and habits to determine common denominators that may have led to their long life spans.  Then through “connecting of the dots,” we may have some answers as to “how they did it.”

Centenarian biographical and interview statements below: “in bold” means there was lifestyle habits, diet and behaviors in common with other centurions.

Centurion Replies,

Use olive oil religiously in foods

Port “Red” Wine

Chocolate

Cashews

Potato chips

Drink lots of water

Mainly vegetarian

Drink boiled water

Junk foods

Hard Liquor

Rub olive oil on skin

Smoke Cigarettes and/or Cigars

Alcohol

Red wine

Very tranquil person

Mind my own business, stress reduction

Keep a positive attitude and sense of humor

Perceived and overall Good health

Needlepoint

Ability to be mobile

Singing

Watch TV

Listen to Radio

Watch Sports

Walking-mobility

Communication

Socialization

Working Outdoors

Good Family and friend relationships

Social gatherings

One has purpose in life

Interactive life

High Cancer Statisic- Environment (Reference article #11, 12, 13, 14)

California, Florida, Texas and New York (High Cancer States)

Centurions live mostly in Low Cancer States

Cause of death,

Mobility loss

Blood clot

Pneumonia

Kidney Failure

Infection

No cause listed, “respiratory failure”

Conclusion,

All but one of ten centenarians lived in a statistically low cancer state(s) [excluding those that lived outside of the United States].  And all but one of the 10 was male.  Christian Mortensen lived in Texas 28 years and then moved to a California nursing home at the age of 96.  He lived ~48 years in a statistically high cancer state(s), and where it appears he spent the majority of his first ~68 years of life in Skanderborg, Denmark.  He lived ~116 years of age beating all other fellow men in longevity.

It looks like all 10 of these individuals lived within large families; most were married and/or had large circles of various interactive social-family relationships.  And it appears mobility, stress reduction and positive mood disposition was important and major contributors for quality of life and healthy longevity results.  As far as their habits and diets it appeared they moderated the good with “little” bad.  For the most part, their diets appeared healthy and most did not consume any or little alcohol.

Recall, 9 out of 10 of these super centenarians where female.  It is a fact that women live longer than men.  This has a lot to do with genetics, diet, body weight, hormones, immune systems, habits and lifestyle risks.   What specifically separates men from women?  Men are greatly driven by hormones (read importance of testosterone on men’s health, Ref #8) that tend to cause more risky behavior and mood-stress characteristic difference between the two sexes.  Also when testosterone levels drop, or become unbalanced in men during the aging process, this change tends to have a significant impact on men’s health and longevity.

These centenarians shows us they lived relatively balanced lifestyles.  They were physically and mentally active throughout their life span; they enjoyed personal and social gatherings and relationships mostly within large circles of friends and family. And for those residing in the United States lived mostly within low statistical cancer states (Ref #11).

The absolute lifestyle commonalities they all seemed to share regardless of geography:  they lived purposeful and mobile lifestyles, had positive attitudes, maintained low levels of stress, had good sense of humor, enjoyed selfless endeavors and sharing their lives and wisdom with others.  And lived life to the fullest and without the crutch of habitual vices and little use for medications.

Reference,

  1.  Fadem, Mitch, Dr.  Health Benefits of Cigar Tobacco – Cigars and Medicine.  The Tobacco Leaf – Good or Bad?  About.com.  http://cigars.about.com/od/legalhealthissues/a/cigarmedicine.htm
  2. Rettner, Rachael.  Sweet Science:  The Health Benefits of Chocolate.  LiveScience.com.  11 February 2010. http://www.livescience.com/6111-sweet-science-health-benefits-chocolate.html
  3. Wikipedia.  The Free Encyclopedia. Oldest People.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_people#Oldest_people_ever
  4. Woodamarc.  How these Well Known Celebrities Lived So Long.  Hubpages.com.  20 August 2012.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/How-Did-These-Well-Known-Celebrities-Live-so-Long
  5. Woodamarc.  Pain Depression Origins. Hubpages.com. 5 April 2010.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/Pain-Depression-Origins
  6. Woodamarc.  Alcohol Consumption Good for You?  What?  Hubpages.com.  14 November 2008.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/Alcohol-Consumption
  7. Woodard, Marc.  Disease is Scientifically Linked to Genetic Engineering of Food Crops.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  22 August 2012.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2012/08/22/disease-is-scientifically-linked-to-genetic-engineering-of-food-crops/
  8. Woodard, Marc.  Low Testosterone, another Man Made Risky Fix?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  22 January 2012.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2012/01/22/low-testosterone-another-man-made-risky-fix/
  9. Woodard, Marc.  Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and Get Fit.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  23 September 2011.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2011/09/23/learn-to-embrace-the-pain-exercise-and-get-fit/
  10. Woodard, Marc.  Wisdom of Consuming Oleic Acid [Olive Oil].  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  23 January 2010.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2010/01/23/mae-healthblog-wisdom-of-consuming-oleic-acid-2/
  11. Woodard, Marc.  Pancreatic Cancer Statistics and Recommendations.  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  24 November 2009.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2009/11/24/mae-health-blog-pancreatic-cancer-statistics-and-recommendations/
  12. Woodard, Marc.  Is Pancreatic Cancer on the Rise?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  24 October 2009.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2009/10/24/mae-health-blog-is-pancreatic-cancer-on-the-rise-part-1/
  13. Woodard, Marc.  Can You Prevent Cancer?  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  1 May 2008.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2008/05/01/mirror-athlete-enterprises-health-blog-can-you-prevent-cancer/
  14. Woodard, Marc.  Toxins in Every House Hold Consumer Product, What!  MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets.  5 December 2007.  http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2007/12/05/mirror-athlete-enterprises-healthblog-is-cancer-in-your-tub/

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2012 Copyright, All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Why a Physiatrist Offers the Best Rehabilitative Course

23 06 2011
Korean War Memorial Honors Korean Veterans

The practice of physiatry is approximately 50 years old.  So how is it many pain and immobility challenged patients have never heard of this medical specialty?

    Good question, I guess it’s possible this specialty could be considered the gold standard of rehabilitative medical treatment.  And available to pain and immobility suffers once other medical treatment has been exhausted.

    If you don’t already know about the discipline of physiatry, I will now fill you in on what this specialization can offer a chronic pain and immobility challenged patient that requires rehabilitative services.

   A physiatrist is a medical doctor that deals with muscular-skeletal, neurological, acute and chronic pain and rehabilitative therapy.  They are also referred to as a doctor of osteopathy who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R); using noninvasive diagnosis, treatment and management of disease through “physical” means (Physical therapy and medications).

    They can perform all types of specialized tests that range from nerve and spine imaging to determine severity of nerve damage (e.g. electromyography, nerve conduction) to evaluate various nerve disease/disorders, etc.  They also specialize and work with patients that have a history in degenerative back and neck disease problems.  To include, but not limited to:  Rehabilitative treatment with sports and work injuries; and those diagnosed with arthritis, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, myofascial pain and spinal cord injuries.

    There are approximately 6000 physiatrists to date that specialize and focus on bad backs and the relationship to other parts of the body that also become affected.  For many patients that suffer from back pain and distal radiating pain to other body parts a direct connection to the pain origin can be substantiated and treated.  Radiating or distal pain from the origin pain source can take years to diagnose correctly and can be very challenging for many physicians.  In other words, so challenging primary physicians may take a subjective “shot in the dark” in referring a patient to a medical specialist that may, or may not be of immediate help.

    Sometimes these “shot in the dark” referrals may not pan out.  For me this was the case.  And I suspect there are many of you like me that had the same experience of visiting a lot of specialists and the end result was temporary physical therapy sessions, shots and more pills.  And only until a significant amount of time passed while working through a medical “status quo” policy driven health maintenance organization, did I finally get the treatment I needed.  And this occurred after I learned how to properly advocate and self refer to specialists that could treat me relative to my unique pain issues.

    It is my personal experience many of my medical referrals throughout the years to determine my pain origins were a waste of resources and time that lacked relative treatment.  I believe in my case, I should have been first referred to a physiatrist to determine the best rehabilitative course.  And it is also my belief that if this would have been the case, much of my pain and suffering would have been alleviated five years ago.  And to be honest, I’m not sure what the long-term impact will be on my health as a result of untimely and irrelevant treatment.

    Let’s now take a look at what the physiatrist’s educational requirements are so you can better understand their specialty background and how they as a “direct” referral source to other specialists may help you.

    Physiatrists go through 4 years of medical school and 4 years of residency training (1st year – internal medicine/general practice; next 3 years emphasize specialty training; fellowships for additional specialization in sports medicine, brain injury (stroke), spinal cord, pain management and pediatric medicine.

    Their patient goal is also to treat the whole person’s physical, emotional, psychosocial and vocational goals.  This discipline also falls in line with Mirror Athlete’s principled fit-healthy concepts.  Mirror Athlete is about “ill-health prevention for the encompassing being (mind, body and “soul-spirit”) and is our principled fitness life philosophy.

    For many pain sufferers with chronic pain that have not responded to previous pain management and rehabilitative treatments, access to highly trained physiatrist resources can make a significant difference in increasing mobility and/or alleviating pain. 

    It is true; most of us have access to highly trained medical specialists through our referring physicians.  And it is also true a primary care physician will “usually” not refer you first to a physiatrist “for pain and mobility challenges. 

    You ask why this is.  My answer to you, I honestly don’t know.  The only thing I can think… Maybe it has to do with higher costs of services.  And maybe if you are stabilized and appear to be tolerating your disability, and/or don’t understand, or know you can self refer to see a physiatrist, the HMO policy advices primary physicians to follow a cost effective services protocol otherwise.

    However, I can share with you, if you can get a referral to a neurologist; you’re really in line to get a referral to see a physiatrist from that point if your pain is substantiated and will help with your disability rehabilitative objectives.

    It is surprising to me in the last 7 years; I’ve been referred to at least a half dozen neurologists, none of which led me to a physiatrist for my chronic back/leg pain until recent.  And what is most perplexing, my pain-medical story had not changed significantly through the years.  If I had known about physiatry resources 5 years ago, I would have known to self-refer from a neurologist to a physiatrist knowing what I now know.  Why not 7 years ago?  In my case, I understand now it took two years to determine and substantiate my pain origins.  And I now realize I could have self referred to a physiatrist after I had my second neurologist visit.

    My lesson learned and now passed onto you:  The medical policy and practice “status quo” when dealing with “substantiated” pain and/or immobility, coupled with depression will include pharmaceuticals and other treatment until (a) you reach a certain age.  (b) The pills are now creating other medical health issues.  (c) The risk of other complications is high if continuing the same pain and/or depression management course.  (d) Something substantiated and significant has changed, or has been found through CAT, MRI, x-Ray results and/or lab work and is complicating your pain, or mobility story.  (e) You self refer to see a neurologist from your physician, and then ask for a referral to see a physiatrist from your neurologist.   The later sequence is the best course toward rehabilitative pain alleviation of chronic pain, including range-of-motion and rehabilitative, limited mobility challenges [My experience].

    To treat a patient without considering the entire being is to allow a part of the component being to become ill.  When relative and timely treatment is not balanced, part of our “being” becomes depressed.  And it is also a fact as one will age; without relative and timely treatment, quality living experiences are negatively impacted.

    With the assistance of a physiatrist the patient has access to a team of specialists to assist in customizing a rehabilitative treatment program that incorporates healing for the encompassing being.

    The team of specialist the physiatrist may access to assist your ill-health conditions are: Speech-language pathologists, social workers, nurses, and psychologists, neurologic (brain injury, stroke, and spinal cord injury), physical therapy, occupational and recreation therapists etc.  Other disabling conditions include amputations, complicated multiple trauma and pain, including burns rehabilitative therapy.

    Physiatrists also work with a whole team of specialists to restore independence in mobility, eating, dressing, and hygiene. The physiatrist also provides long-term continuity of care for functional problems that often persist after stroke.  Note: This is not simply a physical therapy program.

     In my opinion, a physiatrist is an encompassing-being, rehabilitative care provider.  And if you have not seen a physiatrist and if you’ve been suffering from chronic pain and/or are mobility challenged, also you have reached the end of your referral solutions; be sure to ask your primary care physician, or neurologist to see a physiatrist.

     A physiatrist referral sooner than later will provide most chronic pain and immobility sufferers pain relief and better quality care and living activity experiences.

 Internet Reference

http://www.spine-health.com/glossary/p/physiatrist

http://www.physiatry.org/Field_Section.cfm

http://www.umassmemorial.org/medicalcenterIP.cfm?id=3081

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2011 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





How to Safely Build Exercise Programs for Increased Fitness Goals

8 04 2010

  Regardless of age, fitness goals, health, disabilities situation, or condition… Everyone has an interest in increasing fitness levels. Why? Because most of us at some point want to know how to loose weight, exercise, increase cardiovascular-circulatory health, get in better shape, etc., safely. I provide a 6 step process in which one should consider if interested in increasing fitness levels safelty, especially if all other diet-exercise products, gimmicks have failed you. It is also important to have a fail safe movement activity plan especially if you’ve come out of surgery, on the mend, or are in a rehabilitative process. Ensure you read the article in full at http://www.mirrorathlete.com, click the health repository tab. Also visit http://www.daretowalk.com site page and support our fitness and pain management outreach concept for all of those who take preventative measures to alleviate pain through walking.





Improve Fitness after Surgery-Rehabilitate Yourself

8 04 2010

 If you have just recently had surgery, experienced an injury and now are finished with your HMO rehabilitative services and want to become fit there is a post exercise mobility therapy habit that needs to be considered to ensure quality living experiences.  Many that are going through physical rehabilitation tend to gain weight, lose strength, cardiovascular endurance and suffer acute to chronic pain from inactivity.

 If you experience weight-bearing acute to chronic pain in any of your weight-bearing joints, i.e., back, neck, hip, feet, legs and have put on weight, or simply want to take control of your weight, a safe starting movement activity is the way to go.  This means to find some form of activity where you can move your body to begin increasing your fitness levels. 

 There are exercise activity routines you could participate in to rehabilitate yourself to walk, if not able to walk well.  For example, there’s extended physical therapy offered by many health insurers, to include Medicare.  If your insurance does not cover extended specialized services because you have annual limits on these services which you’ve used up, all is not lost.  The same is true if you have coverage that only includes short-term, or very limited medical services.  If you have the ability to walk, you are in a better position to rehabilitate yourself through walking movement activity.

 Now if you’re in a bad way and you need assistance to get yourself rehabilitated, don’t go it alone!  Suck up your pride, reach out and recruit a friend or family member to drive you to the nearest social security administration if you can’t do this yourself, or visit www.socialsecurity.gov online, or call by phone toll-free 1-800-772-1213 to reach a representative.  Office hours are between 7a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Check into disability benefits if you can’t work.  While your there, check into the supplemental home assistance programs and other available services.

 Rehabilitation after surgery, or accident to get active with life will depend much on your ability to begin actively moving your body to receive a fitness benefit.  The disability assistance is nice because you now don’t have to worry about paying your basic living expenses.  However, a word of caution…  All too often, those with limited movement and pain begin to move even less when disability and supplemental services are provided.  This level of comfort somehow nestles within many to sit around further disabling themselves.  To develop a habit of less activity when one should be attempting to increase activity, “especially if one can walk” is detrimental and a contradiction to overall fit-healthy goals.

Another important point; to improve fitness levels and overall health does not mean your disability benefits will end.  All too often, fear in “not meeting” and maintaining the social disability expectation prevents many from ever improving their fitness levels.  A lifestyle dependent on disability support often promotes meeting the disability expectation for fear of losing needed supplemental disability services.  This primarily occurs because if people appear to become more fit, there is fear that these services may go away.  And of course this is not true.  Why?  Because the injuries, illness and disease that put you into this ill-health condition have been substantiated by medical professionals and most likely will be with you a lifetime.  You should not fear if you improve certain aspects of your fitness levels for better quality living experiences your benefits will be cut off.

 My message for those that find themselves in this situation, you can have better quality life experiences if you can find a way to get yourself busy in life through a walking activity.  Especially if you can pain manage this activity.  And if you can do this, you will also be able to travel a little more, visit family members, go to a ballgame, maybe even do other activities; like ballroom dance, walk the dogs, sit for periods of time and write that book you’ve always dreamed about.  The list goes on.  Through walking many ailments can be pain alleviated and fitness levels increased.  Of course, keep what I’m telling you in perspective.  Your quality living improvements are relative to your health condition(s), physical and mental limitations.  Never the less, you will experience more feel good endorphins if you begin moving your body.  This will also improve mood, motivation to do more with your time in a day, boost self-worth and reduce dosages on pain medications daily.

 The cost to you to walk is nothing, other than your time, effort and motivation commitment toward improved mobility.  Through daily physical movement activities fitness levels will increase.  This will positively impact mood disposition.  This is important why?  Increased fitness levels contribute to healthy heart, lungs, metabolism, lean body, body strength, reduced body fat, weight control, pain alleviation, better physical endurance, excellent circulatory properties, reduced depression and other ill-health prevention, etc.  A combination of healthy habits, such as daily activity exercise movement and balanced nutrition are two of the ageless body prevention formulas.   This combination instills “proven” ageless fountain of youth methods centurions have known about for years and apply daily to enjoy quality living experiences for life.  To know this information is a “powerful mind-body motivator” for those that are in daily need of rehabilitative strategies to improve overall fitness and health.

 But in order to begin movement exercise activity safely; if you’ve been a couch potato, post surgery patient, or are in some form of physical rehabilitative condition, overweight, etc., you must first develop a fitness activity exercise plan and include your primary care physician and/or specialists to discuss a physical fitness program to ensure it is right for you. 

 Remember we’re all different in age, have various fitness goals, pain issues, disease, life circumstances, etc.   For example, I didn’t use a gym for many years while I worked to rehabilitate my body after surgeries.  I simply walked around the house, short stints with mobility aids in/outside the house, did PT exercises in bed the best I could until my body got stronger.  After I was able to crutch my way around the neighborhood an 1/8 of mile I incorporated other activity.  I’m not telling you to base your exercise mobility routine like mine; I’m simply providing what worked for me as an example.  I also had 4 physician specialists I coordinated with to assure my plan was not going to be detrimental to my overall health.  I know making appointments with specialists to compare notes is an additional burden.  However, it is a necessary part of any rehabilitative effort to ensure when customizing a fitness mobility exercise program it is done safely with your specialist(s) in the loop.

 Even with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, although I’m well versed in fitness activity and the effects on mind and body, I’m not a doctor.  There are many aspects of illness and disease pain pathologies, medications and effect’s on the “encompassing being” I cannot safely forecast when incorporating a daily movement activity to improve overall fitness and health during a rehabilitative scenario.  This is why you need to include your primary care physician at the least before you undertake a daily exercise mobility fitness activity.  But one thing for sure that is consistent in achieving good health, that’s daily movement activity.

 One must get back up on their feet one way or the other and move forward to become more fit.  The best way I know how to do this is achieve a goal to walk without mobility aids if possible.  This may not ever be physically possible for some.  The key is movement activity.  So when I mention walk, if you cannot do this without a mobility aid, simply increase your daily movement activity using a cane, wheelchair, walker, etc. 

 To achieve more movement activity requires daily exercise activity.  This is certainly possible and applicable to all of those using mobility aids.  I’ve got to tell you, I got the best workouts using wheel chairs and crutches.  It takes much conditioning to get into shape to hall your body weight around.  I know this from personal experience.  I challenge any walker to keep up with an avid mobility challenged person that’s conditioned to do so daily.  A word of caution with mobility walk aids.  I did suffer torn rotor cuffs and neck strains because of my aggressive competitive nature to excel in all I do.  So beware, you can hurt yourself while increasing your fitness levels through exercise with crutches and wheel chairs.  To get conditioned with these mobility devices takes the body time to build up strength, postural balance, muscle toning coordination and cardiovascular endurance.  These things are true in training for any form of physical task specific activity.  And with this said, there are correct ways to train for increased activity and wrong ways.  I’ve learned within my rehabilitative experiences, I need to better pace myself and not train for a marathon right out the gate.  After all I’m no longer in peak condition as I once was many moons ago.

 Take one step at a time, one block at a time, and one mile at a time.  Do what you can daily.  Put no time lines, or distances on yourself.  The mind-body will tell you each day what it’s capable of doing.  If you have the ability to walk you’re much further ahead in becoming more fit and healthy.  Move around, or walk daily regardless of mood, etc.  Do your in home physical therapy in bed, flexibility, range of motion exercises, walk in place, move up and down stairs if possible.  The key is to move more daily, work to reach 10-15min/day exercise activity at a minimum before increasing movement walking activity outdoors.  Be consistent at daily movement.  Don’t miss a day.  This is important if you want to improve your fitness level activity circumstances.  If you use a walker, wheelchair, or cane get out and move forward/move daily.  Build up walking endurance with a walking mobility aid if necessary to achieve goal distances of 100ft for example.  Physical therapy exercises will vary for each individual and will not be covered here.  However, if you need ideals on how to warm up and exercise before walking activities research the following:  Use the library, Internet, magazines, primary care HMO home PT exercise book, relevant rehabilitative subscription information/self-help recommendations for your conditions, etc. 

 There are many self-help books and free HMO pamphlets available.   I personally like Pilates and plank exercises for core strengthening exercises after passive and active warm-ups like, hot shower and range of motion stretching exercises.  I also do these slow stretch exercises while I watch the morning news, or evening shows and in-between writing my daily articles.  My slow stretch exercises include seated reach for toes and hold, standing slow stretch side bends, neck rotation/side tilts and squatted back stretches holding from 10’s of seconds to minutes at any time within the day’s activities.  I then go on my daily walk (active warm up and conditioning) and incorporate Pilate’s stretches and body part light strength training at the local fitness center.  I do manage pain daily by knowledge of working around pain threshold trigger points during activity and certain prescribed medications.  Check out books and literature on Pilates and core strength exercise examples.  There are thousands of exercise examples.

 Other tips:  Consider “not taking” your car to the store for daily staples once you can walk half a mile total distances assisted mobility device or not.  Make your fitness goal each day to walk to a market that’s near.  Make a goal to walk and shop for your evening meals, or drive to and walk the mall for example “a safe environment as you rehabilitate through movement activity.”  Get a small backpack “once able to walk small distances;” carry healthy produce, products to the car, home etc. 

 Never carry more in weight than the weight you lose.  For example, I personally never carry more than 5 lbs in bags, one for each arm, greater than 1 mile.  That’s .5 mile one way.  This has more to do with my chronic back-neck problems than weight lost.  So you need to factor in acute-chronic pain triggers under load.  In other words when starting a shop & walk activity program, you don’t hall extra weight until you lose weight, or alleviate pain significantly.  Just like you won’t move your body by walking without a cane, or walker after injury, or surgery until your body was conditioned to do so. An unconditioned body to walk without crutches, walker, cane, or wheel chair adds more body weight to weakened weight-bearing joints.  To do so when the mind-body is not ready will risk secondary weight-bearing injuries to body compromising overall health.

 When you’re strong enough to walk  1/8 mile one way for a total of ½ mile without walking aids you are then ready to begin a 3-5 day fitness activity program.  Even if mobility aids will be with you for life, you can still work toward customized fitness mobility assisted 3-5 day walking program.  The fit-healthy body results will still be experienced, i.e., cardiovascular, muscular, postural, mental function and pain alleviation benefits in varying degrees.  Regardless when you apply more activity in life, this equates to better quality living and health body-mind experiences

  Please look for the following article at the home site to get on a 3-5 day activity exercise program that’s right for you after you complete your rehabilitative mobility exercise activity goals.   The article you’ll want to search for to progress to the next activity level, “How to Exercise and Increase Fitness Levels.” Try various combinations of exercise activity, break up the fitness conditioning patterns and don’t go into any activity program at full intensity unless trained to do so.  Good things in life come to those that take the time to do it right while balancing all life activities and this includes achieving fitness goals after surgery, rehabilitation and/or disability.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter





Alleviate Pain-Movement Based Therapies

19 03 2009

In many of my articles I have stated the importance of movement specifically through physical exercises or activity.  For without movement activities, the body and mind will quickly deteriorate creating more aggravating pain while increasing risk for more illness or disease.  There is a direct connection between the mind-body (psychosomatic) neurological meridian connections.  I like to refer to these meridians as the “health highways” electrical conduits throughout the body.  This is because mobility or lack of it can have an impact on positive “healing” nerve-holistic body stimulation, delay, or worsening of the healing process through these connections.

There are two fronts where lack of motion or mobility can impact overall health byway of these health highway connections.  1)  Mind-Body connection – Depression can and does contribute to pain disease if you allow it to motivate a sedentary lifestyle; opposed to pain tolerance learned and applied appropriately provide greater mobility and health benefit.  On the flip side, 2) Body-Mind – You “may not” be depressed but have severely limited your activities due to body function pain.  In either case, lack of activity creates a negative impact on motivation, self-esteem, disease mitigation, quality of life and other health risks.  Both ends of the “mind-body/body-mind” connection can turn full circle limiting activity, causing depression and can cause serious or grave harm to your overall health.

You must never give up on finding some form of activity, therapy and/or exercise within your day to offset further body degradation while maintaining a pain management program.  Depression is a pain patient’s worst enemy (MAE Health Blog, “Dealing with Depression,” M.T. Woodard, 25 Aug 08).  In my opinion, incorporation of a movement based therapy program is essential toward a holistic pain healing, or health maintenance program.  For without a daily movement program it is very difficult for a pain patient to thwart off depression and worsening of pain!  I do realize there are some that are completely incapacitated where my recommendations to increase activity or mobility may not be practical.  However, I encourage and highly recommend you consult with your doctor, or specialists to see if they could assist, direct, or refer you toward specialized movement based therapy resources relative to your chronic pain condition.

Some examples of non-specialized movement based activities if your pain tolerances will allow full or partial participation:  Gym membership, task specific exercise, i.e., walking, riding a recumbent stationary bike, low impact aerobics, e.g., treadmill, hand pedal stationary unit, bicycle and daily stretching exercise, etc.  Hobbies/social – Camping, fishing, community involvement, church choir, hiking, travel, home and garden, etc.  Find something that will get you excited about life and within acceptable pain tolerance that does not cause severe aggravation, or further damage to existing pain problems.  Discuss these movement based activities with your pain specialists, etc., to assess your pain conditions before you incorporate any of these recommendations into your pain program.  Just because you have varying levels of chronic pain, does not mean you are 100% “movement” disabled (MAE HealthBlog, “Disabilities & Public Perception,” M.T. Woodard, 7 July 2008).

Listed below are specialized movement based therapies to further your research and consideration of such program (s) within a customized pain management program while working with pain specialists and/or doctors.

1.  Physical exercises or activity.  Physical activity provides benefits to strengthening muscles, joints, ligament, tendons; oxygen-enriched blood to all cellular structures; improved structural alignment and release of natural feel good endorphins.

“You’re body produces natural and addictive chemicals that are optimally activated during exercise, or during increased activity:   1) Adrenaline a neurotransmitter and hormone produced by the adrenalin gland just above the kidneys, also known as norepinephrine and epinephrine (provides attention focus in brain).  Together these chemicals activate your fight or flight stimulation designed to get the body out of a stressful situation, or survive an injury scenario.  It acts as a natural pain killer, boosts oxygen and glucose fuel to brain, muscles and suppresses depression.  2)   Dopamine is produced and synthesized in the brain which boosts positive behavior, cognition, motor activity, motivation, sleep, mood, learning and attention.  3)  Serotonin is synthesized within the CNS (Central Nervous System).  This chemical is also found in many mushrooms, plants, fruits and vegetables.  Research shows Serotonin plays an important role in liver regeneration and induces cell division throughout the body (important for repair and healing of the body).  Serotonins role as a neurotransmitter of the brain is to modulate anger, mood, aggression, sleep, sexuality, appetite and metabolism.”  (MAE HealthBlog, “An Addictive Chemical to Stimulate Will Power,” M.T., Woodard, 22 Jan 2009).

“I know a lot of you out there are hurting with disabling pain thinking there is nothing more you can do to increase your physical activity, receive further health benefits and/or improve your health condition, or quality of life.  There are solutions, but you have to want to become a mirror athlete as your number one goal.  Remember a mirror athlete will use health management techniques customized within a pain management program to improve posture, alleviate pain, while improving, or contributing to overall health through daily activities and/or exercise maintaining a healthy mind, body and soul.”

My contention, if you can move segments of your body, you “can” receive a health benefit.  If you suffer from depression, there is group support within the medical community and much information to be found in libraries or the Internet.  If you’re on a pain management program, you “may be able” to reduce your daily pain prescription to allow focus on activities for periods of time in a day.  (MAE HealthBlog, “Disabilities & Public Perception,” Woodard, 07 July 2008).

2.  Physical Therapy – Since movement is central to good health, physical therapy focuses on rehabilitation, promotion of body movement, or exercise.  The major pain alleviation modalities are manual handling, electrotherapy, massage, physical medicine, ultrasound, etc.   Other areas of physical therapy specialization include:  Health limitations due to cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic, orthopedic, pediatrics problems, burn patients and post surgical treatment in assisting with focus in habilitation, or rehabilitation (enable take care of oneself; restore to former state).  Physical therapy includes the use of many variations, or singular pain treatment modalities to assist and stimulate healthy movement, while working through pain issues, recovery, rehabilitation, etc.  Other areas of physical therapy specialization focus on psychological and emotional well-being activities.  Therapy is performed by a licensed physical therapist (PT) or an assistant acting under PT direction.  Offices and practices vary by demographic and specialties mentioned above, settings include:  Hospices, industrial workplaces, outpatient clinics, offices, inpatient rehab facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, and education, also research centers.

3.    Specialized and assisted movement programs.

a.  Yoga, Indian meditation posing and stretching – Purification of the physical body or mind to strengthen the body, or well being as a whole unit.  I will not go into the detailed specifics behind various Yoga philosophies as this is beyond the intent of information I’m providing you.  If you want to learn more about Yoga philosophy and techniques I highly recommend you contact a Yoga studio, read books on Yoga, or research the Internet to become better informed how Yoga could benefit your well being.  Yoga posing and stretching techniques have positive health benefits on the mind and body while alleviating pain.  Positive mind focus through concentrated and careful body movement focuses energies on piece of mind while stimulating the natural physical healing cycle of the body.

b.  Pilates, strengthening core muscles through resistive exercise routine – The premise of Pilates uses the mind to control the muscles.  Since the program focuses on postural muscles; abdomen, lower back, hips and buttocks, there is great benefit in body balance through strengthening these “core” major muscle groups which is essential to spine health.  This program concentrates on breathing ensuring proper alignment of the spine while strengthening deep torso muscles.  Pilates breathing techniques teaches the importance of continuous and deep breathing techniques as essential to remove toxins and provide oxygen enriched blood to maintain overall health and pain alleviation.  Those with disabilities can apply a customized Pilate’s program to better aid in and improve overall function.  One should “only” participate in a Pilate’s program while under the supervision of a certified instructor.  If interested in learning more about the Pilates program research the largest certified Pilates program worldwide, Stott Pilates.  Also see Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), which is an umbrella organization attempting to standardize certification worldwide.

c.  Tai Chi, Chinese practice of slow movement and focus on balance.  This program makes use of Soft Chinese internal martial arts where “chi” energy makes use of an opponent’s strength against them – Instead of using overpowering muscular force and strength to defend against an opponent, the body’s chi energy is effectively tapped where brute force is not necessary to protect oneself.  The opposition’s strength is applied against forced assertion through focus and fluid motion during the defense.  Tai Chi has many health benefits associated with this form of concentrated, low impact and fluid motion just through practicing concentrated movement techniques.  The health and fitness benefits of Tai Chi exercise are well recognized worldwide without the physical strains associated with intense exercise.  The benefits associated with the practice of Tai Chi’s relaxed movement techniques:  Lowers stress levels, slows down aging, improves postural alignment, better breathing technique, pain alleviation, improved blood circulation, flexibility, etc.  Disease prevention and/or health disorder mitigation: Arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular, etc.  The theory of Tai Chi is based on traditional Chinese medicine, through the body’s electrical Chi meridians (neurological “health highways”) much in the way acupuncture is used to remove blockages that create pain in order to heal disease.  Tai Chi exercises can be used to achieve the same results.

d.  Feldenkrais – Efficiency of movement through specialized therapy. Physical well-being is established through movement patterns.  Therapy focuses on assistance in re-learning more proficient movement behaviors as opposed to inefficient and negative health impact movement that may lead to further body degradation.  Moshe Feldenkrais believes the mind and body are inseparable and as such every action is a single process of thinking, feeling, sensing and moving.  As each action impacts ultimate health transmitted through the nervous system, therapeutic movement can reinforce, or even reinstate better health and well-being by activating healthy movement patterns by triggering past feeling and thinking behaviors.  By shaping the body through active movement the whole (holistic) body, mind & soul receive the benefit.  As prior to therapy, one may have been confused, fixated and maybe lacked purpose of being.  Through Feldenkrais exercises a more relaxed and stress free holistic body creates a greater zest for life.

Common exercises include stretching, strengthening and aerobics.  However a fundamental drawback is these exercises… They do not effectively improve our characteristic movement.  In other words, you may be able to go through exercise where precision and exact movement may not be fluid, or within your pain range tolerance to perform certain moves, or movement characteristic of an unimpeded person.  However, you do receive a health benefit by participating!  General exercise routines very rarely improve useful functionality, while often aggravates habitual movement throughout the day.  Inefficient action or movement can lead stiffness, aches and pains, arthritis, fatigue and limitations.  Pain alleviation through Feldenkrais bases exploration of movement possibilities integrated with flexibility, strength and cardiopulmonary health is well worth consideration as a movement therapy incorporated into your pain management program.

By learning to sense self through proper relaxed movement one can sense proper balance, articulation, felt movement, tissue tension, pressure and pain.  Hence if tension and aggravation is felt through improper movement, one can learn to correct the pattern that is creating pain through sensory feedback to the brain.  Since Feldenkrais derives effortless pleasure in motion and holistic improvements compared to conventional stressful exercise those that participate in a program such as this want to continue to improve their abilities and overall well-being.

The key point I want you to take away from this read… Stay active; find an alternative movement based therapy, hobby, or interest to improve your quality of life through motion and/or exercise.  Although there is a balance of pain tolerance one must learn to overcome during movement based therapies… Specialized movement techniques are well worth the exploration and research to consider participation.  Through movement, one can relearn to mobilize and heal themselves through acceptable, low impact pain sensory rehabilitative feedback exercises, and/or activity.   I believe any movement therapy, or activity has a direct connection between the mind and body through neurological “Health Highways” establishing healing energy (Chi) to damaged tissues while alleviating pain and mitigating illness and disease.  Using non-stressful movement techniques or other activity participation “in my opinion” will improve well-being and should be included within any pain management program if at all possible.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.