Eighty Plus Years Young Folks with oomph

September 8, 2011 by  
Filed under inspiration

Eighty (and plus) years young folks with oomph!

By Michael Thomas Masters

Sometimes, even in my fifties, I can become drained and even lethargic.

Many factors tend to influence our energy levels and outlooks, which also can affect ones health, activities and peace of mind.

Therefore, it is amazing, and sometimes humbling, for me to witness those people further on in years than myself, even eighties plus, who continually exhibit incredible energy, stamina and inspiring oomph.
Take for example, the infectious energy, sharp mind and spirit of ninety-four years young actor, Ernest Borgnine (Marty and McHale’s Navy). The talented award-winning actor continues to make optimistic appearances on Turner Classic Movies, at numerous film festivals and at the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Borgnine earned an Emmy Award nomination at age ninety-two for his work on the series ER. What a sharp and interesting guy.

The incomparable Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls), nearly ninety years young, appears to have boundless energy and oomph to spare, presently co-starring on the TV hit series, Hot in Cleveland, which could garner Ms. White yet another Emmy Award this coming September 2011.
Stage, screen, television, recording and work out fitness phenomenon, Angela Lansbury (Gaslight, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Murder, She Wrote), is vital and active at age eighty-five. In the last five years alone, Ms. Lansbury appeared in three Broadway plays, receiving Tony nominations for all three and winning one for Blithe Spirit in 2009. Appearing live on stage certainly requires stamina and energy, at any age!

Two very active and vital actors from the 1960s memorable TV hit series, Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, are going strong and maintain busy acting and lecturing careers, both at age eighty. They even occasionally pop up in TV commercials.

The dynamic and intelligent former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, now eighty-six, works tirelessly and year-round for several humanitarian causes, as well as continues to admirably represent our country when he is called upon.

However, such vitality, energy and oomph do not just occur with well-known media celebrities.

Closer to home, I greatly admire my mother, Justina (Tina) Masters, who at eighty-one years young, continues to live a vital, active and oomph-filled life. Having raised five children (along with my father, her husband of sixty years, Robert Masters), while living, and working in eastern, mid-western and western U.S. states, Tina continues to be an avid book reader (especially mysteries). Mom has also traveled extensively throughout the United States.
Mom cross-stitches incredibly beautiful work (which I am the proud owner of ten), and also attends book club meetings, completes daily crossword puzzles and intricate jigsaw puzzles, visits church, and enjoys to shop. Additionally, she ardently keeps up on world issues and politics, as well as cooks, maintains a household, bakes, while always offering a helping hand to loved-ones and friends, and, well, you get the picture!

Being of sound mind and healthy body is essential at any point in our lives.

However, it becomes even more crucial as we all age. Keeping a positive attitude (as much as possible), which may sound simple and yet frequently can be quite hard, is crucial. Fill your mind with positive thoughts, as often as you can. Try your best to minimize the amount of negative people and negative events in your daily life. Learn something new or take up a new hobby, which is critical for all ages.

Look around in your personal world for inspiring people (of all ages) and not merely just media celebrities.

It is not always easy, but we each should strive to be our own on-going inspirations of oomph, for ourselves as well as for others in our lives.

Michael Thomas Masters can be reached at filmguy552003@yahoo.com

Another Revealing Study on Exercise

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under inspiration

I came across yet another study done on exercise that I wanted to share (am I overdoing this whole exercise study thing here? Please let me know. But I do find these studies endlessly fascinating)

We all know that physical activity is beneficial in countless ways, but even so, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, was startled to discover that exercise kept a strain of mice from becoming gray prematurely.

But shiny fur was the least of its benefits. Indeed, in heartening new research published recently in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exercise reduced or eliminated almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice that had been genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.
In the experiment, Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lab rodents that carry a genetic mutation affecting how well their bodies repair malfunctioning mitochondria, which are tiny organelles within cells. Mitochondria combine oxygen and nutrients to create fuel for the cells. ( Just to let you know, mitochondria are microscopic power generators. I learn from these studies too)

Mitochrondria have their own DNA, distinct from the cell’s own genetic material, and they multiply on their own. But in the process, mitochondria can accumulate small genetic mutations, which under normal circumstances are corrected by specialized repair systems within the cell. Over time, as we age, the number of mutations begins to outstrip the system’s ability to make repairs, and mitochondria start malfunctioning and dying.

Many scientists consider the loss of healthy mitochondria to be an important underlying cause of aging in mammals. As resident mitochondria falter, the cells they fuel wither or die. Muscles shrink, brain volume drops, hair falls out or loses its pigmentation, and soon enough we are, in appearance and beneath the surface, old.

The mice that Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lacked the primary mitochondrial repair mechanism, so they developed malfunctioning mitochondria early in their lives, as early as 3 months of age, the human equivalent of age 20. By the time they reached 8 months, or their early 60s in human terms, the animals were extremely frail and decrepit, with spindly muscles, shrunken brains, enlarged hearts, shriveled gonads and patchy, graying fur. Listless, they barely moved around their cages. All were dead before reaching a year of age.

Except the mice that exercised.

Half of the mice were allowed to run on a wheel for 45 minutes three times a week, beginning at 3 months. These rodent runners were required to maintain a fairly brisk pace, Dr. Tarnopolsky said: “It was about like a person running a 50 or 55 minute 10K.” (A 10K race is 6.2 miles.) The mice continued this regimen for five months.

At 8 months, when their sedentary lab mates were bald, frail and dying, the running rats remained youthful. They had full pelts of dark fur, no salt-and-pepper shadings. They also had maintained almost all of their muscle mass and brain volume. Their gonads were normal, as were their hearts. They could balance on narrow rods, the showoffs.

But perhaps most remarkable, although they still harbored the mutation that should have affected mitochondrial repair, they had more mitochondria over all and far fewer with mutations than the sedentary mice had. At 1 year, none of the exercising mice had died of natural causes. (Some were sacrificed to compare their cellular health to that of the unexercised mice, all of whom were, by that age, dead.)

The researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the impact that exercise had on the animals’ aging process, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. He and his colleagues had expected to find that exercise would affect mitochondrial health in muscles, including the heart, since past research had shown a connection. They had not expected that it would affect every tissue and bodily system studied.

Other studies, including a number from Dr. Tarnopolsky’s own lab,  have also found that exercise affects the course of aging, but none has shown such a comprehensive effect. And precisely how exercise alters the aging process remains unknown. In this experiment, running resulted in an upsurge in the rodents’ production of a protein known as PGC-1alpha, which regulates genes involved in metabolism and energy creation, including mitochondrial function.

Exercise also sparked the repair of malfunctioning mitochondria through a mechanism outside the known repair pathway; in these mutant mice, that pathway didn’t exist, but their mitochondria were nonetheless being repaired.
Dr. Tarnopolsky is currently overseeing a number of experiments that he expects will help to elucidate the specific physiological mechanisms. But for now, he said, the lesson of his experiment and dozens like it is unambiguous. “Exercise alters the course of aging,” he said.

Although in this experiment, the activity was aerobic and strenuous, Dr. Tarnopolsky is not convinced that either is absolutely necessary for benefits. Studies of older humans have shown that weightlifting can improve mitochondrial health, he said, as can moderate endurance exercise. Although there is probably a threshold amount of exercise that is necessary to affect physiological aging, Dr. Tarnopolsky said, “anything is better than nothing.” If you haven’t been active in the past, he continued, start walking five minutes a day, then begin to increase your activity level.

The potential benefits have attractions even for the young. While Dr. Tarnopolsky, a lifelong athlete, noted with satisfaction that active, aged mice kept their hair, his younger graduate students were far more interested in the animals’ robust gonads. Their testicles and ovaries hadn’t shrunk, unlike those of sedentary elderly mice.

Dr. Tarnopolsky’s students were impressed. “I think they all exercise now,” he said.
After reading a study like this, I always think if they could put exercise in a pill form and sell it, the pill would cost a fortune, due to the benefits it offers. But exercise does not cost anything except our time and energy. Not a bad deal!

Acting Your Age with oomph!

July 20, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

I just read in the New York Times an article called “Turn 70, Act Your Grandchild’s Age,” which plays into the notion that some of us expect 70 year olds to act like you should be 20 not 70. This article makes me think of the work we do here at oomphTV. I hope we don’t give the false impression that you must act like a 20 year old to have oomph!

Accepting your age and your limitations, while still doing what you want (and being realistic about what you can do) is part of the message of oomphTV. And a big part of having oomph! is simply enjoying and celebrating life, no matter what you can and can’t do. After all, life is short and let’s simply enjoy what we can while we are here.

Recently Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday by playing at the Radio City Music Hall and saying his new hero is BB King, who still jams in his 80s. They will be followed by Bob Dylan (“May you stay forever young”) and Paul Simon (“How terribly strange to be 70”) who still both perform and write music.
Dr. Butler, a psychiatrist, died, at age 83, a few days before Ringo’s big bash. No one, his colleagues said, had done more to improve the image of aging in America. His work established that the old did not inevitably become senile, and that they could be productive, intellectually engaged, and active, sexually and otherwise. His life provided a good example: He worked until three days before his death from acute leukemia.

But as much as Dr. Butler would have cheered an aging Beatle onstage, his colleagues said he would have also cautioned against embracing the opposite stereotype, the idea that “aging successfully,” in his phrase, means that you have to be banging on drums in front of thousands or still be acting like you did at 22 or 42.

“The stories that we hear tend to pull us toward the extreme,” said Anne Basting, the director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. “It’s either the stories of young-onset Alzheimer’s, or it’s the sky-diving grandmas. We don’t hear enough about the huge middle, which is the vast majority of folks.”
In the film and television business, the business I’m in, Clint Eastwood is still directing films at 80 and Betty White is now starring in a new sitcom at 88 (I worked with her on “Ugly Betty” and she was amazing) The pressure for 70 and 80 year olds is not to face mortality, but to kick up those slightly arthritic heels ever higher.

In the eighth decade, said Dr. Basting, is “now seen as an active time of life: you’re just past retirement, that’s your time to explore and play mentally.” But while many will be healthy, others will not. “There will be an increase in frailty and disability because people are living longer,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a demographer at the University of Illinois at Chicago who studies aging. For some people, an increased risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s “is going to be the price they pay for extended longevity,” he said.

The risk, gerontologists say, is that in celebrating the remarkable stories, we make those not playing Radio City, and certainly those suffering the diseases that often accompany old age, feel inadequate.

Thomas R. Cole, director of the McGovern Center for Health, Humanities and the Human Spirit at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and the author of a cultural history of aging, said “We’re going to make it look like if you’re sick, it’s your own fault. If you’re not having orgasms or running marathons, there’s something wrong with you.
Here at oomphTV we don’t want to just portray “aging extremes,” but also inspirational people that fall somewhere in the middle. If we simply profiled extremes we would run into the possibility of alienating everyday people.

We did produce a story on Jack Kirk – The Dipsea Demon, the 94 year old runner. He could be considered one of those extremes. However, we also profiled Alice and Richard Matzkin. Both Alice and Richard Matzkin express themselves through their art, one by painting and the other by sculpting. They are not running any foot race, but clearly they have oomph!
In addition, we are currently in post-production on “The Green Buddha”, a wonderful story about my sister, Dana Dowell Windatt, and my own mother, Jeanne Dowell, that have started a new apparel business, based on gratitude. My mother has just turned 80 and was the original inspiration behind oomphtv.com She is not running a marathon or doing trapeze, but she is still doing what she wants to do at 80 years of age.

We are looking for different kinds of stories about people over 40 and sometimes way over 40 that have oomph! However, we do want to include stories of people that do have limitations. If you know of any, please write to us.

I hope we have found the right balance. Please feel free to write us and let us know what your thoughts are. We want to continue to inspire and inform, but not alienate our audience.

Inspired by oomphTV

June 3, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

I am a new fan of this oomph! blog site and I recently took the time to communicate with David Dowell about doing an article for all of you, his readers. I do like the man’s style.

As a Baby Boomer (and an all around nice guy) taking up space on our planet, I feel it is my obligation to maintain good health and a supportive positive attitude with all other earthlings I come in contact with. I think we owe that to each other. Life has it’s problems and, at times, life is not fair. But this life is a wonderful adventure that we can truly enjoy with the right frame of mind. Of course, a healthy body makes the adventure much more interesting.
I have become a steady visitor to this oomph! blog site because of the good information I can take from it. I have found health and wellness ideas that I have never heard of before. I now look at oomph! as my source of many issues that fly under the radar for most of us. I don’t know where David finds his material and, truthfully, I don’t care. I just know that I can count on this blog site to provide me with important ideas that I won’t take the time to find myself.

I do want to mention to you readers of oomph! another idea you need to consider as another component of health and wellness. Some where along the line similar ideas have probably been expressed in various posts on this blog. I’m referring to the need for each one of us to develop the habit of daily laughter. Author E.E. Cumming once said “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” Many people do not realize that laughing is very healthy for both your body and your mind.

Laughter creates positive changes in our bodies. It will boost your energy, help your immune system, and it will protect you from the effects of stress. Obviously, laughter will put you in a good mood. It will improve your relationships with family and friends.
So, you need to develop sources that will bring you daily smiles, grins, and chuckles. More importantly, find sources that will get you to laugh out loud. It’s well worth your time… and good for your health.

Phil McMillan

Gratitude Can Inspire

May 26, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

You know when you read something and it really hits home? I just read about another study today done on gratitude. I know I just wrote about gratitude and oomph! not to long ago. But, here goes another one. And why not share these studies with everyone you can? I think if everyone expressed gratitude more often, we would be living in a better world.

When I express gratitude to my wife it always is appreciated and can be contagious.

Picking up some flowers. Issuing a compliment. Doing your partner’s chores. All are small acts that provoke gratitude and strengthen relationships, say the authors of a new study.

Researchers studied 65 couples who were in committed, satisfying relationships and tracked the day-to-day fluctuations in relationship satisfaction. The so-called “ups and downs.” The researchers found that feelings of gratitude boost the health of relationships. Both the giver and the receiver of an act of kindness benefit, said the lead author of the study, Sara Algoe, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The emotion of gratitude helps people find and then bond to people who care about their welfare, the study finds.

“Gratitude triggers a cascade of responses within the person who feels it in that very moment, changing the way the person views the generous benefactor, as well as motivations toward the benefactor,” Algoe said in a news release. “This is especially true when a person shows that they care about the partner’s needs and preferences.” The study is published online in the journal Personal Relationships.

This work was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biobehavior Issus in Physical and Mental Health.

And why did I place this blogpost under “inspiration?” Because I do feel gratitude does inspire.

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