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Why are we talking about that?

A customer was helping me deliver his entertainment center to the second floor "library." "You know," he said, "what's most important about exercise is not how much you do it, but that you do it regularly. I exercise every Christmas." Although I am far older than he is, and had a desk job like his for most of my career, it was clear to both of us that I was in far better physical shape.


A number of my friends have osteoarthritis like I do (also called degenerative arthritis, or - in simple terms - old age). This isn't the cure for all arthritis, but let me share my story.

Vioxx was my miracle drug for the arthritis in my feet - one pill per day and it was gone. When Merck took Vioxx off the market, I was devastated. I tried other meds. My doctor said the amount of Tylenol I needed to take the place of Vioxx would rot my liver. The amount of Advil would rot my stomach. Celebrex would rot my wallet, and still didn't work very well.

When I gave up my desk job and was on my feet in the workshop "all day" I expected to go downhill. Instead, the arthritis got better. My feet were happier in the shop than they were under the desk... they felt far better than they had for years. I am down to one Tylenol per day, my doctor is happy about what I am doing to my liver, and I am happy about what it is doing to my wallet. Take a couple days of consulting work at the desk, and I am crying for Vioxx again. But more important, this isn't unique to me. Several other people have admitted to the same unexpected result. Sounds like "use it or lose it" to me. We all need to keep active!

Circle the Drain

A doctor friend who has a number of elderly patients describes how it takes much longer to recover from simple problems when you are older and weaker. If recovery from a common cold takes 3 weeks instead of 3 days, that leaves you weak and vulnerable for a much larger percent of the time. That may be why old people get pneumonia or other complications so often. A broken bone takes 6 months (of sitting around without exercise) rather than 6 weeks to heal. While people are recovering from a broken hip, they catch a cold, and aren't over the cold before the pneumonia sets in, followed by... well, some doctors call it "circle the drain." It is heading downhill. A cycle that is hard to break. How to avoid it? Keep vigorous. Exercise, eat well... you know the story. To me, it is build lots of furniture - more exercise than my desk job, and I feel great.

You may also enjoy my story of the "death chair."