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Physiological Update - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Physiological Update
When I was eight or so -- my daughter's age, in other words -- my mother used to tell me that, if I wanted to be a better baseball player, able to throw as well as I could hit and catch, I should do pushups. She suspected that Robbie Curtis, the boy on the Silver Creek Reds who could pitch like a dream, did many pushups. I found it too difficult to summon the will to follow her advice. And I've pretty much avoided it ever since, despite my love for sports. Still, it has periodically sounded in the back of my mind as one of the many things to do that I should one day actually start doing.

Recently, as part of my gradual adoption of a light fitness regime, previously chronicled here in entries about the pleasures of nighttime bicycle riding, I've begun to do pushups on a daily basis. Wow! I'm really shocked by the difference they're making in my ability to play defense in basketball and, more importantly, to sit at a computer for long periods of time without growing tense or weary. When I began to practice deep breathing techniques a few months back, I realized that they helped enormously with the inner portion of my abdominal muscles, perhaps the most neglected part of my largely neglected physical well-being. Now I'm surprised to learn that pushups not only work the arms and back, but also those same muscles.

In other body-related news, the last batch of Emergen-Cs that I purchased at Trader Joe's turned out to be Joint Health packets instead. I didn't realize for several days, at which point I couldn't really return them in good conscience. Since the ingredients were largely identical, except for the two specific ones in the latter meant to promote, you guessed it, "joint health," I figured I could get by using up the remainder of the packets. And then a funny thing happened. My balky knee started to feel much, much better. It could be a complete coincidence -- masoo would probably incline toward that conclusion -- but if so, it was a pretty uncanny one. The packets ran out last week, so I went back to my usual standard Emergen-Cs. Again, this could be coincidental or a case of mind overpowering body, but I've been having a lot more knee pain this week than in the preceding two weeks. Playing basketball yesterday, I felt a distinct difference in my ability to plant one leg and cut, which is a big part of my game.

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lunarcamel From: lunarcamel Date: March 1st, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


My knees had been getting a bit weird so I started taking glucosamine/chondriton supplements. They have been better ever since. I don't know if it's a question of efficacy on the part of the supplements or the placebo affect on my brain, but I also don't care. Echinacea works the same way for me. Somehow it works, and if it's just because I think it works, that doesn't decrease its impact.

Ugh. I hate pushups. But when I do them regularly, I notice an increase in general strength. I haven't noticed the computer benefits. I have been trying to find motivation for two minutes of pushups a day (longest two minutes OF MY LIFE), maybe that will help goad me.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 1st, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: knees

Rather than exhausting myself with lots of pushups at one time, I will do fifteen or twenty at different times throughout the day. It seems to work better for me that way.

As far as the glucosamine/chondriton supplements go, I share your feeling that it doesn't matter whether it's a placebo effect or not, as long as the benefits are felt. I'm inclined, though, to think there may be something to them, since I noticed increased trouble a few days after I'd stopped taking the Joint Health packets.
masoo From: masoo Date: March 1st, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm not familiar with either of the supplements you mention ... am I on the right track if I assume Emergen-C gives you massive doses of Vitamin C, and Joint Health has glucosamine? Robin takes the latter, I believe ... if she doesn't now, she has in the past. But then, she never listens to me :-).

What I know about Vitamin C and glucosamine is that mega-doses of C are not something I would do to myself, while the jury is still out on glucosamine, at least for arthritis (which may not be your problem, anyway).

I do have a question, though (you knew I would). Even if you did believe in taking mega-doses of Vitamin C, why would you buy Emergen-C, which a quick look online seems to go for more than 20 cents a dose, when you could just buy generic Vitamin C supplements for like 1/5 the cost?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 1st, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Good question. I have a hard time with the pills. They tend to upset my stomach. The dissolve-in-water format seems to sit better with me. And I sort of like the taste of the Tangerine flavor. But I don't always take them and do take vitamin supplements occasionally in pill form

Yes, the Joint Health formula had glucosamine. Like I said to my previous commenter here, I'm happy to have the placebo effect if I still feel better. Of course, I know that it's the exercise, whether bicycling or doing pushups, that's having the bulk of the positive impact.
masoo From: masoo Date: March 1st, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I've taken many things over the years where the effectiveness, if it existed, was of the placebo variety, so I understand the impulse. Mostly, it's a personal thing now ... the placebo effect probably won't make me feel better, because the second I consider the possibility that it's "all in my mind," I'll get pissed at myself for falling for a scam, and I won't feel better any more :-).

For quite awhile now, my supplements consist of one generic one-a-day vitamin because I eat crappy and don't get the minimum for lots of vegetable-related minerals, and a few fish oil pills a day for cholesterol. Robin's sister was trying to get us to take a Vitamin E supplement, and I think Robin's doing it, but I didn't like what I read about it, so I'm avoiding that one ... kinda glad, too, after that article in the paper yesterday about more-harm-than-good.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 1st, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
My mother once told me -- this is a theme, apparently -- that Vitamin C was the one to take.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 3rd, 2007 04:04 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I was informed while getting on the bus this afternoon that I couldn't get on if I couldn't "give 'em 10 pull-ups" on the bar thing that runs along the belly of the beast. I said "Then I'm never going home."

I don't think I've EVER been able to do pull-ups and push-ups came in at a close second. But then at some point last year or the year before I realized I really COULD do a few, after all these years. Thanks to yoga asking me to do all sorts of not-push-up things that have you using your own weight I'd been toning those muscles too. Astounding.

Come to think of it, though, I think push-ups was the only part of the freshman fitness exam that I hit my own height/weight bracket for--to the utter astonishment of my varsity football coach P.E. teacher. I remember that. You would have almost thought he thought he saw an entirely different person. Then I had to run a seven-minute mile.
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