Don't Just Sit There!(← Click) Computers have been a great boost to productivity and more recently have become fascinating entertainment devices. But how many hours per day do you spend sitting in front of that screen? Do you know what it's doing to your body and mind? Your back, shoulders and neck begin to ache. Your abs are getting soft and your stomach is beginning to bulge. Your hip joints feel tight. Your vision is getting blurry. Worst of all, your brain is foggy!

You don't need to keep on feeling that way! If you keep on sitting eight, ten or twelve hours per day in front of the computer, tablet or TV, sooner or later the muscles in your abdomen and back will "atrophy." That's a fancy medical word for "shrink and become useless." Yes, you will still be able to stand up and walk to the fridge to get a beer, or to the cupboards to get some chips, but not much more than that.

But if you try to do some real work, like lifting 50 or 75 pounds... Crack! "Owww! My back!" - or "My knees!" You just ruptured a disk or two in your spine, or your knee joints wore out, because there are hardly any muscles left in your abdomen and back to support your upper body weight, or no cartilege left in your knee joints because the supporting leg muscles have atrophied (shrunk away) so the cartilege wore out.

You might think I'm only kidding, or exaggerating just in order to make a point. But no, this actually happened to me. And I don't want it to happen to you. It's an awful, horrible, excruciatingly painful thing to lay nearly paralyzed in bed for weeks with pain that on a 1-to-10 scale is 11, and you can barely move enough to go to the toilet. At age 36, after working for years as a software programmer sitting in front of a screen for eight hours a day, I tried building a rock wall for our garden, lifting large rocks. Wham! Ruptured disks! What I thought was saving me a hundred dollars or so by doing it myself ended up costing well over $50,000 in medical bills.

Don't Just Sit There!DON'T JUST SIT THERE, DO SOMETHING! Get off your butt! (Click →)
God gave us two legs and two arms for a reason: to move around, lift objects and do something physical. Read the article! Quit being just a big blob of protoplasm, and regain those muscles you had when you were a little kid! Remember what it was like when you used to run around and play on the playground? Wasn't that a great feeling?

Do you know what it feels like to walk through the park on a warm spring day, breathing in the fresh, sweet air instead of that stale old air in your home or workplace? Or are you still cooped up all day in front of a screen? There's more to life than Facebook!

Turn off the computer or TV, stand up, put on your shoes and go outside for a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood! Didn't that feel great? Are you back at the screen now? From now on, every two hours, make yourself get up and walk around in your home or office for a few minutes. Take a deep breath or two. Look out the window at things more than 18 inches away!

Nowadays people run to the doctor for a prescription to cure whatever ache, pain or other ailment is bothering them. But do you know what the best medicine really is? Exercise! It's a miracle drug! After I ruptured two disks in my lower back, I went to a back surgeon who advised against surgery, and a chiropractor who manipulated my spine several times.

They did what they could, but after a year I was still having pain... so much pain that one time I stood up from my desk at work, and... OWWW! I had to grab onto a filing cabinet to keep from fainting and falling over from the pain. Immediately I took time off work and went to the medical clinic. The doctor listened to and examined me, and right away sent me to the physical therapist.

Miracle Drug: Exercise(← Click) What I needed was some exercises specifically for my back, not more pain pills. He showed me how to do the "Williams exercises" and gave me a sheet of illustrations. 36 years later I'm still doing them. If I skip doing them for 3 or 4 days, my back freezes up again and I'm in that awful, horrible, excruciating pain. I'd rather exercise! Finally in 2005, however, I had lifted too much and hurt my back. I couldn't walk more than a block, so I had spinal surgery to fuse 3 vertebrae together and 2 steel rods put in my spine.

But I should warn against too much exercise too soon: I tried walking too far right after my surgery, and some numbness came back in my right foot. So seven years ago I resumed swimming at the YMCA. It's a good, whole-body, non-impact, strength-building exercise. More muscle mass in turn burns 12 to 15 times as many calories than does fat, which just stores up calories. Aerobics just don't cut it: they don't build muscle mass - they may burn calories, but they also make you hungry so that you will likely consume more calories than you burned doing aerobics.

As a teenager I loved swimming and could easily swim a mile. I was a Boy Scout swimming instructor. But as an adult, I didn't have many opportunities to swim regularly. Living in the "boonies" of Russia when we taught at a university near the Urals, we were able to join a health club and swim there. But that lasted only a year or so, before we moved to Moscow and taught there for nine years.

After returning to the U.S., my wife and I joined the YMCA in Madison WI when I was 65 and started swimming again. At first I could only do about 1/4 mile (9 laps) 3 times/week. But we kept at it, and by the end of the first year I was doing 1/2 mile 3 times/week. Gradually I gained strength in my arms and legs, until I was doing 3/4 mile twice/week and 1 mile (36 laps) once/week.

Five Mile ClubDON'T JUST SIT THERE! Join the Five Mile Club! (Click →)
In September 2013 we moved to Pittsburgh PA, where the YMCA pool is about 10% longer: 33 laps = 1 mile, so I had to revise my swimming routine. 33 isn't easily divided into fourths, but it divides nicely into thirds: 11 laps = 1/3 mile, etc. So I began swimming 33 laps, 1 mile 3 times/week.

Starting in 2014, I gradually bumped it up to 44 laps, or 1-1/3 miles, 3 times/week = 4 miles/week. For most of September 2014, I did 50 laps, about 1-1/2 miles 3 times/week = 4.5 miles/week. Soon I was doing 55 laps, or 1-2/3 miles 3 times/week = 5 miles/week. That put me in the "Five Mile Club" at the YMCA. After feeling chest pain a couple times, I decided to level off at 44 laps 3 times/week = 4 miles/week. In terms of the amount of exercise, it's about the same as running a marathon every week, but swimming isn't as hard on your body as running!

You might be thinking - "That's easy for you to say, but it's so hard for me to lose weight and exercise." Right on! I know that extra weight makes it harder to exercise, because whenever my weight increases by just 5 or 10 pounds, I feel more lethargic and have less desire to work out at the YMCA. Why is this true? Partly because we think we need to eat until we feel full. Our sensation of fullness, however, lags behind our stomachs' actually being full. So we need to stop eating before we feel full!

Our prehistoric ancestors had to fill their stomachs to a "full tank" in order to store up enough fuel to last a few days before they might catch and kill another wild animal. But with an abundant food supply in our modern society even for people on public assistance, we don't need to fear starvation and think we need to "fill the tank" three times a day. An ancient Christian saying goes - "There is no feasting without fasting." If every meal is a feast, eating turns into "gluttony" - or the modern medical term "sugar and carb addiction" (watch the slideshow). But why is it so hard to change our eating habits? It often isn't simply a matter of will-power, it might be a matter of bug-power!

Yes, you and I are hosts to trillions of bugs in our guts. In fact, there are more non-human one-cell microorganisms in our body than human cells. Ideally, these microscopic critters are in balance to help us digest food and maintain our immune system. But with modern advertising that pushes on us all sorts of sugary breakfast cereals, sodas, desserts and candies, and fast foods consisting of carb-laden burgers, french fries, fried chicken, etc., our gastro-intestinal tracts are out of balance.

Also, modern antibiotics tend to kill off the "good" microorganisms, which lets the "bad" ones take over in our GI tracts. Did you have lots of earaches as a young child, or acne as a teenager, and did the doctors prescribe courses of antibiotics? That can change the balance of "good" versus "bad" microbes in your GI tract. Studies show that up to 70% of people silently suffer from "Candida" - yeast infections. These gut microbes thrive on sugars and carbs, and modern antibiotics and foods have caused these Candida critters to overwhelm the other bugs in our guts.

This yeasty-beasty overpopulation not only tells our bodies to crave even more sugary and fatty foods, but according to some medical experts it can lead to all sorts of illnesses and autoimmune disorders: urinary tract infections, muscle aches, gas, joint pain, chronic fatique syndrome, lupus, prostatis, multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, diabetes, gluten intolerance, hives, asthma, eczema, chronic vaginitis, arthritis - the lists go on and on. Here's another doctor's diagnosis who lists 4 things that destroy good digestion:

  1. Azodicarbonide - a synthetic plastic "whitening ingredient" added to flour, but outlawed in many countries
  2. Diet sodas or high-sugar sodas, both which feed the Candida in your GI tract
  3. Coffee with too much sugar: both give an artificial "high" but do not deal with the underlying issue
  4. Alcohol and antibiotics, both which kill off friendly bacteria in the gut.

(But you really don't need the expensive pills he offers). Of course, being overweight frequently leads to back, hip or knee surgery, kidney failure, and diabetes eventually causes nerve damage leading to amputations and death.

Artificial sweeteners aren't the answer, because they fool your body into thinking you've consumed sugar but the "sugar high" didn't occur, so you crave more sugars, then your endocrine system responds by producing excess insulin, which can create insulin resistance. Also, Candida feeds on artificial sweeteners. So Avoid Artificial Sweeteners! But just changing your diet won't do it alone. You need to first cleanse the bowel of those overabundant Candida microorganisms that lead to constipation and various illnesses.

Once I had such terrible pain in my abdomen that I thought I had cancer or something: I felt like I was dying! My wife drove me to the hospital emergency room, where they examined me and did x-rays. The nurse looked at the x-rays and said - "You're full of poop." The doctor used more medical-sounding jargon to tell me the same thing, and prescribed a powerful laxative: I dropped 10 pounds right away, and felt normal again!

So cleanse the bowel with a good laxative to clean out the overpopulation of Candida microbes. Next, eat some yogourt for a few days, take some quality probiotics to re-grow the good microbes in your GI tract, and at the same time change your diet to fewer carbs and refined sugars, and eat about 40% fruits and veggies. The natural sugars in fruits are digested more slowly, so you don't feel that "sugar high" and your body doesn't need to produce a flood of insulin. Then you'll start to feel more like doing strength-building exercises, which builds lean muscle mass that in turn will burn more calories. So if you're 50, 100, 150 or 200 pounds overweight (enter your weight and height in this BMI Calculator), you can drop 10, 20, 30 or even 40 pounds in the first week!

Why should you keep cellphones at least 1/2 inch away from your body? When you buy a new cellphone or smartphone, if you read the fine print (most people don't, and the manufacturers know it!) you'll learn that you shouldn't carry your phone within 1.5 cm. (about 1/2 inch) of your body, and not use it if you have a pacemaker in your chest. Why is this? Because a "considerable body of evidence proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that microwave radiation from mobile phones and cordless phones cause a significantly increased risk for brain tumors" and other disturbances.

Not only do people - especially school-age children - hold their phones to their ears and talk for long periods of time, but some women actually buy bras with a pocket in them to store their phone, and many men keep their phones in their in their pants pocket near their genitals, or in their left shirt pocket near their heart. But cellphones work on similar frequencies as do pacemakers and the heart muscle, and cellphones can also disturb the brain. See also

As this leading cardiologist explains, cellphones can affect your heart health. Similar conclusions were reached by other studies. Conclusion: don't keep your phone in your left shirt pocket, on a lanyard hanging on your chest, in your pants pocket, or in your bra. And don't hold your phone up to your ear, talking on it for hours on end. Just don't!

Similarly, too much exposure to WiFi is unhealthy, as I wrote back in June 2010. Keep at least 12 inches from the WiFi antenna in the screen of your computer or tablet, and even farther away from your WiFi router. Follow the guidelines printed in your computer, cellphone or tablet documentation, and you'll be safer!