What Is Up with Our Educational System?
I use the first page of my newsletter as a title page of sorts. It
might contain a little advertising for my services or preview what is
actually in the newsletter or promo something coming up. Really, it's
a filler page. Today I want to comment on something that has nothing
to do with fitness.
Around July 4th, I watched several videos where someone went to
various locations and asked people a few simple questions about the
holiday. One report was done by a local television station at a
fireworks stand here in Columbia. One was done by a national network
on a New York beach, and the other was on Facebook. In all the
reports, they asked pretty much the same questions: What are we
celebrating on July 4th? Who did we gain our independence from? What year
was it? Name one signer of the Declaration of Independence. Pretty
simple questions. I learned this stuff in grammar school.
Most of the people interviewed were in their 20's and 30's, and their
answers were shocking. Who did we gain our independence from?
California! Canada! These were actual answers. What year? 1954. 1994.
What!!! And if you think, the reporters are just showing a few
selected answers, try the experiment yourself. You'll be shocked at
the answers you get.
What is going on in our schools today? What are we teaching our kids
while we're not teaching them American history? We wonder why this
country is in the shape it's in. These are the same people who are
Eleven years ago in the July 2004 edition of this newsletter, I
ranked my top 10 favorite places to run in Columbia. I thought it
might be interesting to look at it again and see what might have
changed in that length of time. There are some things to keep in mind
as we go through this. First off, I was 57 years old then. I'm 68
now. I ran considerably faster then than I do now, and hills were no
problem. So obviously, there will be some modifications to the list
from then to now.
My number 10 pick was the Pecan Orchard Track at Fort Jackson. I
haven't been on Fort Jackson in years, and I don't even know if this
track is still there.
At number 9 was the University of South Carolina track. I liked it
because of the tartan surface and the view. The hours this track is
open for the public have changed dramatically, and unless you run
very early in the morning, it's off limits anymore. Plus, most high
school tracks have tartan surfaces now, so if I want to run on a
track which I rarely do, there are far more convenient options
Number 8 was the USC campus. I haven't run there in a long time
either. The bricks on the horseshoe are uneven, and the hill up Green
Street is to be avoided at all cost.
I listed the trails of Harbison Forest as my 7th pick. Was I crazy?
The hills are like mountains out there and the roots and rocks can
twist an ankle with one misstep.
I named Finlay Park as my 6th favorite place to run, but it's too
repetitive and too sunny and let's face it, the atmosphere has
changed considerably in 11 years.
The Harbison trails were next on my list. These trails are not to be
confused with the trails of Harbison Forest. These are the
neighborhood trails, but even though I live in Harbison, I rarely run
them anymore. Too hilly mainly. I do still run around both lakes
My fourth choice 11 years ago was Shandon. I still run in Shandon two
or three times a month, but not as often as I used to.
My third choice back then was the Riverwalk in Cayce which had just
opened at the time. I still run there from time to time still, but
not as often as I did years ago.
For some reason I'm not sure of I picked Sesquicentennial State Park
as number 2 in my top 10. I haven't run out there in many years. It's
too far to go, you have to pay to get in, and the trails are tough
and sandy and hilly.
My top pick from 2004 was Riverfront Park off Huger Street. I still
run there on a regular basis. It's asphalt which I like and it's flat
and it's scenic. This would still make my top 10.
So what are my favorite places to run now? Well, I still run the two
lakes in Harbison - Woodcross and Archer Lakes. Of the two, Archer is
by far the prettiest. Sometimes I'll run the perimeter of the
Columbiana Mall. I have to run this one very early before anything
opens and the traffic picks up. As I mentioned, I still run in
Shandon once in a while, and I still run at Riverfront Pak quite
often, sometimes starting from the causeway and sometimes from the
downtown end. In the winter, I like to run at Owens Field, not
actually on the tarmac, but on the road that parallels the airstrip.
This is entirely in the sunshine though, so it is not a summer run.
The Lake Murray Dam is another primarily wintertime run because there
is absolutely no shade, but I like to run there. But by far, my
favorite place to run now wasn't even on my 2004 list. It's Saluda
Shoals. It has scenic flat paved trails that are canopied by trees so
there is always shade. I can run there even on the hottest summer
days. There are unpaved trails if I get the urge to run them, and
there are some hills if I feel really vigorous. You do have to pay to
get in at Saluda Shoals, but I just buy an annual pass. I probably
run there three or four times a week.
So there you go. Maybe I'll do this again in 11 years and see how
things have changed. What will I be then - 79? Yikes!
The longest life on record in the non-biblical era is that of Madame
Jeanne Calment, a French woman who lived a remarkable 122 years, 225
days from 1875 to 1997. Most scientists believe her lifestyle was the
primary reason she lived so long
Madame Calment was from Arles in the south of France. During her
lifetime she lived in only three homes. She left the last one, a
second-floor apartment with no elevator, at the age of 110 to move
into a rest home. She exercised daily. She ran for exercise until she
broke her hip at the age of 100, but after that, she continued to
ride her bike until she was 115.
She had an occasional cigarette or cigarillo after a meal, drank a
glass of Port every day, and loved chocolates. She once
said, "I have an enormous will to live and a good appetite,
especially for sweets."
Madame Calment was married from 1896 to 1940 when her husband died.
She never remarried.
Which type of exercise is most effective - stable or unstable
training? A study which was published in the Journal of Sports Science
& Medicine set out to answer that question.
The study involved 36 untrained men who were separated into three
groups of 12 each. The control group did no exercise.
Another group performed circuits using traditional exercises and the
third group did circuits of unstable exercises involving TRX bands
and BOSU balls. The exercise groups met three times a week for seven
weeks. Before and after the intervention, the men were tested by
performing bench presses, squats, squat jumps, and counter movement
The results showed significant improvements in all of the exercisers
compared to the control group. But which protocol proved most effective?
According to the authors of the study, "No significant
differences were detected in the post-training variables recorded for
the two experimental groups."
The truth is what I've maintained all along. New programs and
techniques come around all the time, and that's good. It keeps things
from getting boring. But you don't have to use them to get excellent
results. Basic weight lifting techniques using barbells, dumbbells,
and machines are still just as effective. The key is doing something
on a consistent basis.
If you walk for exercise, that's great. Walking is one of the best
exercises there is, but too many people think they are walking for
exercise when in reality all they are doing is taking a leisurely
The best way to make sure you are walking fast enough to get a good
workout is to get a heart rate monitor, determine your maximum heart
rate, and walk fast enough to keep you heart rate between 70 and 80%
Next best is to walk at 4 mph or more. That means you are covering a
mile in 15 minutes. That's easy to determine on a treadmill, but a
little harder outside. You will have to measure a mile and time it.
The easiest way to make sure you're walking with enough intensity to
get a good workout is to cover 100 steps a minute. You don't have to
time every minute of course, but time a couple early in your walk and
then check you pace periodically.
I will be on vacation when you get this newsletter, so I guess that
means I'm on vacation now even though I wrote this two weeks ago.
This year we're going to Surfside Beach for a week. We've rented a
house and a golf cart, and the kids, who are not kids anymore, will
join Michelle and me for a relaxing week of R&R. We try to vary
our vacations each year, but this will be the third time we've stayed
at Surfside. Surfside is nice and quiet, but you're only a short ride
into Myrtle or Pawley's Island. We spend most of the time on the
beach, but we get some other activities in as well.
In the past, we've taken a helicopter ride and ridden the
slingshot. It costs $25 and lasts less than a minute and is worth
every dime. We've gone to a water park and played some golf and taken
a banana boat ride which is a lot hairier than you might think. And
of course, we've eaten a lot of seafood. I usually buy a week-long
membership at a fitness center near our house and get in a few
workouts there, and of course, I get in my daily runs. Hope you have
a good week. I know I will unless I get bitten by a shark.
get a kick out of the fitness industry. The newest trend now is
something that's been around since I was in high school, and that was
50 years ago. We used to call them squat-thrusts, but now they are
burpees, and they are all the rage. Just a few days ago, I saw where
they were named the best exercise of all.
The basic burpee is a four step maneuver. Starting from a standing
position, you bend over and place your palms flat on the ground, then
thrust your feet out behind you until you're in a pushup position.
Then you reverse the process by bringing your feet back to your hands
and standing up. We used to do a set number of these. Now it's mostly
a timed exercise. You see how many you can do in 30 seconds or a
minute or whatever.
Of course, it's not enough to do just the basic burpee anymore. There
are any number of variations. For instance, you can add a pushup
while you are down; you can jump in the air as you return to the
starting position. You can bring your right knee to your left
shoulder while down, then your left knee to your right shoulder.
Seriously, the number of variations is limited only by your
creativity and your masochism.
I have nothing against burpees. They have their place, but be
careful. It's a high-impact exercise and your shoulders, wrists, and
back will take a beating. I just find it fascinating how in the fitness
industry, everything old is new again or someday will be.
Overheard on the street: "I didn't make it to the gym today.
That makes five years in a row."
Hey, all you vegans! If you love animals so much, why do you keep
eating their food?
Support The Loyal Advertisers That Make This Newsletter Possible
Are you looking
for fitness equipment? Call Rep & Run. Rep & Run is your
source for whatever fitness equipment you need, whether it's cardio
machines like treadmills and ellipticals or resistance machines of
any type. Even free weights like barbells and dumbbells. Jason
Puckett will work with you personally to get you exactly what you
want. As a newsletter subscriber, you receive a 20% discount on most
of the equipment Jason offers. Call Jason at 803-550-1734 or check
the website at www.reprun.com.
Tire of Irmo
Broad River Road
When you need
automotive service, go to
Discount Tire of Irmo. They sell Michelin, Pirelli,
Bridgestone, BF Goodrich and many
other name brand tires at discount prices. If you
need other automotive repair work, they will do the job and they'll
do it right. From brakes to alignments and all kinds of mechanical
can depend on them to do the work right and get your car back to you
quickly, and all at a fair price. For integrity,
dependability, and quality, call Larry Warner at Discount Tire of Irmo.
Harbison Recreation Center
106 Hillpine Road
Columbia, SC 29212
The Harbison Rec
Center offers more facilities for less money than anywhere else in
town These are just some of the features: a new weight room with
all new machines, free weights, treadmills, ellipticals, and
stationary bikes; a 25 meter junior Olympic size indoor heated
swimming pool; sauna; whirlpool; racquet ball and tennis courts; a
basketball gym; and miles of traffic-free trails for walking or
jogging. There are classes for seniors as well as summer camp and
after school programs for kids. Also newly remodeled locker rooms and
an all-purpose room for large gatherings. All for only $315 a year
for singles or $600 a year for families Check out their website: http://www.harbisonhoa.com/rec.
Wolf's Fitness Center
5432 August Road
Lexington, SC 29072
Wolf's is a total
fitness facility offering some great amenities. There's a huge weight room
featuring free weights and machines. There is a cardio area with
treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, stair steppers, and the
cardio theater. Other
amenities include an indoor walking/running track, sauna, child care
facilities with an attendant, tanning beds, clean locker rooms and
showers, and sports supplements. Prices are very
reasonable and there are no
enrollment fees ever. Wolf's also offers a full slate
of fitness classes including kickboxing and pilates, as well as spinning classes.
Check out their website, www.wolfsfitness.com
for rates and specials.