The trouble I go through, dear reader, to make this page worth your while... I read up books I never knew I had, remember things I struggled to forget, confess to feelings and facts that leave me cringing when I read what I’ve written and worse of all, rub some very significant individuals the wrong way. I might tell them that a rub is a rub and it is the effort that counts, but then, nobody is anybody’s fool. So, this time, I’m through with feeble entertainment at the cost of personal derailment. Instead of telling you what’s wrong with the world and how you should right it, what I’m going to do is tell you about what’s wrong with me ( a mere microcosm of society) and how I intend to fix it.
You see, dear reader, I owe you a confession too. All these issues, I’ve been so busy trying to tell you about all the things that you should do to make your life better, I forgot to keep doing the things that made my own life worth living. Behind wintery woollen armour, the clandestine excesses of my life as an editor were surreptitiously transforming themselves into tangible tonnage while I kept wishing it away until it was too obvious, too embarrassing and as some older, rounder colleagues suggested – nay, insisted, too late. But let me assure you dear reader that your columnist shall not wilt in the face of precedence or prudence. And if you too are often told that it’s ok to walk like a penguin and look like a walrus just because you were born in a time when gay meant merry, take heart from the experiences of a man called Phil Campbell, a 53 year old from Jackson, who, while training for an annual family event stumbled upon what seems to be the ‘final solution’ for sagging bellies (both muscle and beer) and egoes.
In a tattered, dog eared issue of ‘Outside’, (call me a plagiarist if you will, but don’t columnists own everything under the sun?) I came across Phil’s story about Sprint 8 – a workout that promised astonishing results in a very short amount of time. Campbell and the other individuals quoted in the story were in their 40s and 50s and each maintained that after following this programme, they became stronger and leaner and felt as fit as they did in their teens and twenties. The programme basically entailed a brief warm up followed by eight explosive 30 second sprints interspersed with gentle, easy paced running for 90 seconds between each sprint. Variations of this workout, which shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes, have been used by athletic and tennis coaches around the world but apparently this particular combination triggers a unique response within the human body that dramatically reduces body-fat, and increases speed, strength and muscle mass.
The secret ingredient in this elixir, the article claimed, could be HGH (Human Growth Hormone). HGH is naturally present in the body which gets flooded by the hormone during puberty. An excess of this hormone, like most good things in life, could create problems of its own, like gigantism. However, in the right dosage, it is claimed, HGH could act as an anti-ageing agent. In fact, ageing populations around the first world spend thousands of dollars every month in order to be able to inject their bodies with synthetic HGH, in the hope that it will restore youthful vigour and vitality to a decaying frame. That path, however, is fraught with peril, for the anabolic effects of synthetic HGH often come with a battery of problems like higher susceptibility to diseases like diabetes and cancer. It is also claimed that (synthetic) HGH merely increases body mass without increasing strength or stamina. But don’t let this bother you for it really doesn’t matter what HGH can or cannot do. All that you need to know is that all the purported benefits of HGH like high libido, and the wherewithal to back it up with a desired course of action, are surefire benefits of Phil Campbell’s discovery, without any of the risks or negative side effects associated with HGH treatment. In fact, similar interval training programs have been recommended by strength training gurus like Robb Rogers to body builders who hate squatting in order to build lower body strength and muscle size.
However, I maintain that Sprint 8 isn’t as complete and comprehensive a system as Yoga or Qigong and although it is a great way to kick start a workout after a long lay off, I strongly urge you to also consider incorporating one of the above two systems to fully exploit the potential in our bodies and our future. If you catch Dove’s new international campaign for their new line of skin care products for the mature woman called Pro Age, you’ll realize that one is never too old to be bold and beautiful, irrespective of gender. Yoga and Qigong might dominate my ‘pursuit of happiness’ but for those of you who find them too complicated and are too busy to do little else, I insist you get yourself checked by a pleasant, non depressive doctor and then start your mornings with 20 minutes of Sprint 8. In all probability you’ll survive it and love it. And if you don’t, may you rest in peace... just like you do on the couch.
Sprinting and high intensity workouts are great launching pads for a wellness program that seeks the Holy Grail of everlasting youthful beauty. However, though obviously effective, these workouts aren’t complete lifestyle programmes because they lack the healing properties of relatively more esoteric systems like Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, Pranic Healing and Reiki. However, a comprehensive perspective to anti ageing practices can be gained by reading any of the following books which offer a great many answers to the questions that time asks of us and our bodies.
Grow Younger, Live Longer:10 steps to reverse Aging by Deepak Chopra MD, and David Simon MD - This book is a fusion of Dr. Chopra’s understanding of Western medicine, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. It also talks about the minds ability to undo ‘aging by conditioning’. It offers 10 step by step processes that promise to make a practitioner feel younger by decades. Definitely worth sampling.
The Tao of health, sex and longevity: A modern practical guide to the ancient way by Daniel P. Reid – A user friendly and comprehensive tome that offers healing techniques and dietary solutions based on ancient insights into practices that were apparently popular with the ancient Taoist masters. This book also explores everyday habits that unwittingly sabotage our potential for leading a full life.