What I've Been Reading
The President who Loved Sport
This article, written in December of 1963, was published less than two weeks after the assassination of JFK. In it, it discusses the presidents lifelong dedication to sport and fitness as well as one of his biggest concerns: Americans becoming soft. Keep in mind what I am going to share is from the 1960's which has a slightly different tone (aka not as politically correct) as today's writing.
From the article, "If there was one thing that sickened Jack Kennedy, it was the flabby American parked in front of the television set in the middle of a noble spring day. He referred to this contemptuously as "spectating." And over and over again he warned that a nation that spends all its time spectating must fail". To Kennedy, spectating was becoming a national disease and in his words, Americans were becoming soft. He continues, "The same civilizations which produced some of our highest achievements of philosophy and drama, government and art, also gave us a belief in the importance of physical soundness".
Since the writing of this, our nation has seen a threefold increase in obesity, an incredible rise in sedentary activities which leads to "spectating", and a serious collapse in the mental health of our country where deaths of despair (overdose, suicide, alcohol related) are rising exponentially each year. I don't know if this is exactly what JFK feared but it sure seems close.
What I've Been Thinking About...
Last week I wrote about what Iceland did to proactively prevent kids from partaking in negative behavior and other trouble. The government decided to subsidize recreation activities and provide a weekday curfew of 10 pm. By doing this, it kept kids off the streets between the hours of trouble (3 pm and midnight) and also replaced negative behaviors with positive ones. This, in theory, would then carry over into adulthood and currently, it appears that the program is doing just that.
Now, tying in last weeks theme with this weeks, JFK's personal physician, Dr. Janet G. Travell, wrote in 1961: "President Kennedy is a walking—or rather running—testament to the principle that people who are active in sports during youth and continue their activity as adults are likely to remain vigorous as they grow older." I think the success of the Iceland model, and the observation from Kennedy's physician in 1961 both confirm that if we can introduce positive behaviors to kids in their youth, then there is a high likelihood that it will carry over it adulthood. Strong kids become strong adults!
Fitness Tip of the Week
This month I went in for a visit with our physician to ask some questions and to get some blood work taken care of. I never really had a full blood panel done before so this was all new to me. A consequence of not having this testing done is that there is no baseline to compare to. If a red flag were to pop up, you wouldn't know if it was normal for you or abnormal. So in this instance, the only thing one can do is schedule an appointment for a future date and go through the entire process again to compare. If an illness were present, this delay could have some major ramifications. So, my advice is this: get some blood work done on your next visit so you have a baseline!
I think this stuff is important because it gives us some insight on what is going on with you internally. We go to the doctor if we have a wound, a fever, something on the surface but it is the things that we cannot see (inflammation in the body, vitamin deficiencies, etc.) that really impact our day to day existence. I write all this as a person whose last doctor visit was in 2016 but the aging process, being a parent and having a family has shifted my mind and following the "ignorance is bliss" model may not be the best approach!
What I've Been Watching
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal on Netflix
This documentary tells the story of a powerful South Carolina family who believed that they were truly above the law. It starts with sharing a story of a boat accident involving drunk teenagers which led to an incredibly sad tragedy. One life was lost and the kids who lived to tell the tale will never be the same. Then, the series sheds light on the families history, which involves murder, drug addiction, cover ups, and other criminal activities. To be quite honest, it was not the best series that I ever watched but interesting nonetheless.
Quote of the Week
"The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a State depend." -- Benjamin Disraeli
I hope you all have an awesome week!
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