Thursday, April 30, 2015

Start Strong, Finish Strong: 2864.2 to 2879.2 Miles: Complete Segment 42

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Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

I discovered a shorter route. On the last leg, go into Belle Fourche, and then west on 34 to Wyoming. You could do an out and back from Belle Fourche. If you stay in a motel, stay on the south side of town to save miles.

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If anyone is planning to do a reality hike, I discovered a new route that heads east across South Dakota. This saves miles because later you won't have to go north to catch Minnesota. Send me a message if you'd like the GPS waypoints.

Completed Segment 42

Start Strong, Finish Strong

During my two-month break, I found I started to rapidly decline physically. Another couple months, and I would have been back where I started a year ago. Fortunately, recovery was fast. By decline, I mean I didn't feel as well, and I found walking a couple miles without stopping was difficult.

Start Strong, Finish Strong
In his book, Start Strong, Finish Strong: Prescriptions for a Lifetime of Great Health, Ken Cooper explained how to extend our healthy life, and possibly extend our years through a combination of diet, exercise and annual medical exams.

The curve above shows what happens to a person who is basically sedentary and has an average diet. They continue on a steady decline from age 20 until they die. They may not notice this decline without annual physical exams or a significant medical event. 

Start Strong, Finish Strong
Through exercise, diet, and annual medical exams to discover problems early, a person can raise their path of decline with age above the half-circle. 


Exercise will not reduce the effects of an unhealthy diet. I have my medical records from the 40 years ago to prove it. My cholesterol was high and so was my blood pressure. I was also gradually increasing my weight. All this, even though I was physically active. 

However, I'll address a simple exercise plan. In my opinion, Ken Cooper's best book on exercise was Aerobics, which he published in 1968. Just ignore the parts where he says it will cure everything. The plan itself is still valid. You can buy a used paperback on Amazon for a penny plus shipping.

It's based on a simple point table which you can see here. Get 30 points a week above your normal activity and you are doing good. Sixty a week is even better. Above that, the benefits haven't been measured. As you get older, add some strength training in the form of simple calisthenics or whatever you like to do.


I've seen amazing recoveries by people who pay attention to their diet. I'm not going to step in the middle of a diet controversy. What I will say is it's almost never too late to improve.

Saving Life for Retirement

It makes no sense to save for retirement if a person is going to blow it all on a medical problem. It doesn't take much with today's medical costs to lose a few hundred thousand dollars. If a person is planning for poor health by not taking care of themselves, they may as well be broke when it happens.

Time for Life

The body doesn't care if a person doesn't have time for proper exercise or if a person doesn't want to eat a proper diet. That's the reality and each person has to decide which curve they will be on for the rest of their life.

There really isn't any excuse for diet. The healthiest foods are also the cheapest foods per calorie. 

The good news is a person can get back to health at almost any point in their life until something catastrophic happens.

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