Fire First, Aim Later: Forays into YouTube

I am reaching the end of the first stage of my online endeavours.

I have created my website – JohnDixonAcupuncture.co.uk. I have filled it up with a good starter amount of articles and blog posts. I have opened up some affiliate marketing channels and I have some of my own products (merch) – mainly my own books.

Next steps

I would like to explore new ways to open up more traffic to my site. Many online businesses recommend focusing on another form of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or PinInterest.

Whilst I am slowly using Instagram and Twitter, I don’t have any particular enthusiasm for them. I think you need enthusiasm.

However, I am interested in YouTube. I have already started experimenting with creating videos through my ‘Qigong with Eitaro’ work. This is not available on YouTube, but it is exclusive to my website.

However, I have been procrastinating with putting myself in front of the camera. I’m sure most people can understand this reservation.

Most people would shy away from this step as it does take quite a bit of ego – “look at me, look at me!“, which does go against my personality.

I suppose this kind of work may invite criticism or even negative comments towards me.  So this is something, I’ve got to get used to, which may not be a bad thing, as I do care too much about how I appear to others. Though, I am sure many others do too.

The other obstacle is my perfectionist nature, which stops me from getting started. For example, I record something. Then I think it sucks, which it quite likely does.  And so I stop.

That’s no good. Otherwise nothing will ever get done.

If I am really serious about this online project, then really there can be no holding back. It’s either all or nothing. And as I have come this far, I may as well go all the way.

My friend Stan sent me a message today saying something about – going out in a blaze of fire and bullets like the Sundance Kid.

I don’t know if things are that desperate but perhaps it is. If there is something in your life that you really want to do, but you just haven’t done it yet, then perhaps you need that incredible sense of urgency. As though it is your last stand.

Otherwise, it is possible to sail on through life, leaving it undone, till you reach a time in life, when that boat has sailed. You can’t do it anymore. Then it becomes a regret.

So I won’t wait till I create something perfect. Instead I will simply get started and record and upload something… anything… now.

If it sucks, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is finished.

Lets just get it on. Here it is my first YouTube entry for JohnDixonAcupuncture – YouTube Channel.

And look, I didn’t even have a shave. Dirty slob.

Fire first, aim later

In a gun duel, it is the fastest gun who wins, not necessarily the one with the best aim. Unless you are Clint Eastwood.

Don’t wait till it is perfect. Just get started and learn from then onwards.

Study Others

One of the thing I have done is look at popular YouTubers.

What I am most interested is not their most slick and popular videos with tens of thousands of views. I want to go back – way back to when they got started.

I seek out their earlier videos, where they made editing mistakes, didn’t use a mike, didn’t have good lighting.

The lack of professionalism didn’t stop them then. They just learnt and improved as they went along. I think this is an important lesson for anyone.

In society, we are too obsessed with slickness and the polished finish. I can imagine that Colonel Sander’s original brand and chicken menu had an amateurish look about it.

All those cool British pop bands from the 1980s that became giants, started off as garage bands or kids messing around with their synthesisers in their bedrooms with their friends.

They figured it out as they went along. The slickness and professionalism followed after.

So, lets see if it gets better from hereon-in, now that I have finally gotten started.

And you…

Is there anything you want to get started with?

Something that you put it off because you think it won’t be good enough? Who cares. Fire first, aim later.

Walking after a Meal and Gestational Diabetes

This articles discusses how walking after a meal for just 10-15 minutes is good for you. Along with some traditional Japanese advice and a brief discussion on gestational diabetes…

My wife told me this expression. She has quite an easy-going nature, As a small child, After eating dinner,’ she’d like to spread out on the floor and relax. Her grandparents would tell her:

Tabete sugu neru to ushi ni naru
食べて すぐ 寝ると 牛 に なる

It roughly translates as:

“You will become a cow if you lay down straight after meals”

The expression is meant as an admonishment of what is seen as bad behaviour in children. Her grandparents come from a more stoic and harder time of life and so they probably didn’t like to see kids do what they perceive to be lazy. In other words relaxing or loathing

Changing Attitudes

The world has changed somewhat in developed countries, and attitudes have become a lot more easygoing. I am quite sure my grandparents would have felt the same way as hers.

I am inclined to feel we need time to loath and laze. It makes us more productive as human beings. Creativity and innovation is born from relaxation and freedom to contemplate and experiment. The only thing that comes from being forced to work is slavery and excessive bureaucracy.

Loathing is laziness

It likely comes from the Puritanical Methodist work-ethic that was instilled into our population to make them better workers. Can’t let the proles do any loathing around. Hence those brainwashing expressions – early to bed, early to rise makes Jack healthy, wealthy and wise, the devil makes work of idle hands, all work and no play makes Jack Nicholson kill his wife and so on and so on. Jack sure was lazy.

My parents also to a lesser degree had a similar attitude but they made more allowances then their parents before them.

Back to the Cow

Going back to this expression ‘Tabete sugu neru to ushi ni naru’ – ‘You will become a cow if you lay down straight after meals’:

Don’t be a cow man, they’re boring to look at

I suppose there is a weird contradiction in writing this article. Cows munch and munch on grass, but don’t they also do a lot of walking in their green fields?

In my teenage years, the field opposite my house was full of cows. When I looked out the window, I’d see them spend a lot of time munching away on grass, but not doing much walking. The only time, they’d move in any great hurry is when the farmer wanted them to. I suppose when left alone, they’d walk from one patch of grass to another, but that was pretty much it.

The Human Cow

A cow eats grass. Then they spit it out and eat again and chew. They also poo where they eat. Who wants to be a cow? Not me.

I suppose we look on cows as little more than livestock – animals for our use as food. So comparing someone to a cow after eating is a bit of an insult. This expression: ‘Tabete sugu neru to ushi ni naru’ comes from the idea that if you lay down after a meal you will become like a cow.

Truth in these old sayings

But perhaps there’s wisdom behind this traditional Japanese expression. It may be that you are supposed to be active after a meal in order to be healthier.

A small amount of movement or activity can aid in digestion after a meal. For example, in this scientific study, it was found that walking after a meal for as little as 10 minutes helped reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and in fact, having regular shorter walks was more beneficial than longer ones meaning that you don’t need to go on a pilgrimage to get the benefits. Walking after a meal for a short time around the block or to the local shop  is beneficial. I think it also helps clears your head a little.

Don’t over-do the activity

After a big meal, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym, do yoga or any other physical or even mental activity. The body needs to concern itself with digestion, which requires a lot of energy.

If you did press-ups or started trying to do a yoga headstand, you’d probably spew. Or at least just dry-retch a few times. And who wants to concentrate on mental work after just having a big lunch?

There are some exceptions. In my father’s case, he has spent his whole life working doing  labouring, farming and gardening work. He would have lunch and after a short time, go straight back to work, which involves heavy physical activity and I think a lot of people in labouring jobs are able to do this.

So perhaps this is due to conditioning based on the kinds of foods you eat and the general robustness of your body. A couple of observations about his digestion are that it is really good and he has not digestive problems. He is in good physical condition and he has absolutely no craving for sugary snacks like biscuits.

Easy activity

Ultimately, there is one exercise that is good for aiding digestion which is not so intensive. That exercise is walking. Particularly walking after a meal

In my previous article, I discussed 7 reasons why walking in good for you. And here is another reason to add to that list: walking helps you digest your food. Walking after a meal is perfect. It is low intensity and can be carried out in a relaxed manner. This means it helps you be active but also digest your food at the same time. In other words, walking after a meal means you won’t be a cow.

Gestational Diabetes and Walking

I’ll give another example. My wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with my first son. This is a type of diabetes that only affects women when they become pregnant. It means their body doesn’t process carbohydrates effectively and when they eat carbs, their blood sugar levels can go too high.

Other side effects are that they can feel very tired after eating too much carbohydrates and at worse, there may be possible complications with the birth as they baby can get too big.

Explosion in Gestational Diabetes Cases: Why?

Apparently, the criteria for this condition was changed a few years ago, meaning that more people are getting diagnosed with this condition then ever before.

In this case report from the Journal of Women’s Health: Overdiagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Pregnant Woman: A Case Report’ (PDF), the author discussed:

“The new criteria proposed would diagnose – 18% of all women in pregnancy as having GDM, which is double the proportion of women hitherto designated”

“Considering that the screening test has poor reproducibility for mild cases, the evidence of benefit for the newly diagnosed pregnant women is weak and the benefit modest at best.”

The author does acknowledge the risks of gestational diabetes, however he suggests focusing resources on those women that are at high risk of GD:

“It is well recognised that established diabetes is an important risk factor for several serious adverse pregnancy outcomes and the risk is greater if glycemic control is poor. Consequently, screening high risk women for undiagnosed type 2 diabetes at the first prenatal visit is wise. However, pregnant women at low risk with fasting mild glycemia may be not significant. For these reasons the IADPSG proposals seem a striking example of overdiagnosis.”

Spreading resources too thin

This is not to say that gestational diabetes shouldn’t be taken seriously. But by over-diagnosing women, some of whom will not be at risk of the condition, the risk is that medical resources, consultants and nutritionists will be spread more thin and less resources can be given to those women that are at a very real risk of gestational diabetes. Here the author of the study above noted:

“Could the identification of a greater number of women at risk of an adverse pregnancy itself cause harm? It is well documented that a diagnostic category of GDM, irrespective of the glucose control achieved, in some instances is likely to result in increased interventions, earlier delivery, an increased Caesarean section rate, and a higher number of babies being admitted to special care nurseries. Could these real hazards offset some of the potential advantages?”

A personal example on the over-stretched NHS

An over-diagnosis of GD potentially creates challenges for an already strained medical system like in the UK. To give a persepctive on this, I will give the example of my wife’s delivery of our first child in the UK, NHS system.

As she was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes, she was automatically told she would have to be induced. Some hospitals follow this procedure, others not. She was fine with this and trusted the doctors. Personally, I would have preferred a natural birth, but she is the one having the baby not me, so I respected her choice. She was also very clear that she wanted to have an epidural. No pain for me thanks.

Queue for the Labour Room

The problem is that when we went into hospital and she was given the drugs to set off the induction process, we didn’t realise the maternity ward would be filled to capacity, the staff minimal and overworked and that there would be a queue for the labour room.

After contractions began, my wife was fine for the first 6 hours, but then the pain became more intense. A nurse came and examined and told her she was ready for the labour room. However, we were also told that there was queue for the labour ward, so she would have to wait.

17 hours later

And this is what we were repeatedly told for the next 17 hours – there was no space on the labour room, we would just have to wait. My wife just had to put up with the pain along with some acupuncture I applied to try to take the pain away.

Finally, enough was enough, and we had to push the nurses to move us to the labour room. Unfortunately, at this point, it was too late to have an epidural so my wife had to endure the birth without any pain relief.

I would have to say, that if you are going to induce a woman, make sure you have the resources available to do it properly.

Looking at the debate behind the diagnosis of gestational diabetes over the years, you have to question just how many of these people really do have gestational diabetes? – but that is another matter. Anyway, fortunately, this condition can be managed very well with the ‘right’ kind of diet.

Managing Diet with Gestational Diabetes

When a person is diagnosed with this condition, they have to take a small pin-prick blood test around 2-4 times a day after meals and then test their sugar level with a special electronic sugar measuring tool. It is a kind of hassle to do, but it does afford one interesting opportunity. You can assess how what you eat affects your body’s sugar levels. And it can be very informative.

GI Foods and Gestational Diabetes

At the beginning of her gestational diabetes diagnosis, she followed the standard hospital nutritional advice, which was quite basic and mostly consisted of being given a sheet with lists of foods that had a high GI index, medium GI index and low GI index. She was told to eat a ‘balanced diet’ from that list and other then that was given very little guidance. In fact, one of the ‘recommended foods’ was pasta, which is basically refined carbohydrate and can cause a high blood-sugar reading.

When she followed the basic hospital advice, her sugar levels went too high. So, she took things into her own hands and started designing her own diet plan based on knowledge from Japan.

Konjac

My wife took other steps to keep her sugar levels balanced, such as eating her foods in a specific order and generally reducing carbohydrates (and sugar). She also included more vegetables, salad and protein and incorporated different types of food, not so commonly known in Europe, but well known in Asia. One of these was a Japanese food product called konjac– a plant based food that can be used as a carb substitute, but has almost zero calories.

It is available in Japanese and some Korean supermarkets. Here is an Amazon link: Yutaka White Low Carb Shirataki konjac Noodles. She used it to make chinese stir-fry dishes, with vegetables, soya sauce and meat. It really tastes good.

Result: Lower Blood Sugar Scores

My wife’s scores were mostly within the so-called ‘safe zone’, so much so that the nutritionist even asked her just what she was doing?

However, when my wife tried to explain her diet and some of the foods she incorporated, they soon lost interest. They probably wanted a short answer.

Diets and People

Designing a diet involves more then giving someone a list of GI foods. You have to consider the person in front of you – their culture, their eating habits, their living habits, their willpower, and their mind. Also their general understanding of nutrition. Most people (and that includes doctors) have very limited understanding of nutrition.

Why has Gestational Diabetes exploded recently?

On a side note, I just want to comment that gestational diabetes is another added burden and stress on women that are already going through a lot of changes with pregnancy. I’ve heard of women crying after attending the Gestational Diabetes clinics, because they struggle to keep their sugar levels within the ‘safe’ range.

I have to question the accuracy of the diagnostic tests and also the false readings that can come from the daily pin-prick tests, where if you took a test twice in a row, the score can be vastly different. I haven’t heard a reason for this that makes scientific sense.

Also, I’m curious how gestational diabetes has become such a large medical issue in recent years, which requires lots of medical resources? Isn’t is time the Daily Mail did an scaremongering article on it like they normally would do on other health conditions?

Walking after a meal and Gestational Diabetes

Going back to the Cow expression: “You will become a cow if you lay down straight after meals” (Tabete sugu neru to ushi ni naru):

One of the most helpful things to do after eating to keep those sugar levels normal is going walking after a meal. As an experiment, if my wife went for a walk straight after eating a meal, her sugar levels were within the safe parameter. This was especially more important if she ate a meal, which she felt was carb-high and which may likely lead to a higher score.

But more than that, the walk really helped to calm her mind and enabled her to get a little exercise at the same time.

Walking after a meal

I think walking after a meal is not just beneficial for women with gestational diabetes. It can be beneficial for everyone to go for a stroll after a meal to help with digestion.

For example, if you are an office-worker, going walking after a meal post-lunch will help to clear your head before your afternoon work begins. Or going for a stroll after an evening meal in the evening can help calm the mind and prepare yourself for sleep.

And for pregnant women, it may be harder to be follow a standard exercise programme with the added weight and other effects of pregnancy, so a short walk after a meal could be an easy way to get some sunshine and exercise, which can also help with your sugar levels, if you have gestational diabetes.

Walking after a meal will help you digest more efficiently and is a good habit to get in. The walks don’t need to be long. Even as short as ten to fifteen minutes will convey benefits. If you have a dog, you have an excuse to go walking after a meal.

Also, its far better than being a cow.

Update July 2019: My first kid was born and actually his weight was normal. In fact, he was bordering on underweight and had jaundice for the first few months. So much for gestational diabetes.

For my second kid, my wife was once again diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and my wife followed her standard eating practices and exercise. Curiously, we did discover that eating MacDonalds Cheeseburgers, did not cause a spike in her sugar readings. This is not an endorsement for MacDonalds, but it did make things easier for my wife for treats.

My second kid was born last year and while he is bigger than our first, he was not as big or as heavy as we were led to believe he may be. His weight was well within the normal levels

So, I would suggest that if you do get the gestational diabetes diagnosis, don’t panic. Do alter your eating habits and monitor your sugar levels. Also see how your body reacts to certain food and find alternatives if necessary. But definitely try not to worry.

References

Reynolds et al. Advice to walk after meals is more effective for lowering postprandial glycaemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus than advice that does not specify timing: a randomised crossover study. October 2006. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016 Diabetologia (2016) 59:2572–2578 DOI 10.1007/s00125-016-4085-2. (PDF)

Michelle Henderson. Gestational diabetes may be Overdiagnosed. The Australian. 20th August 2012 (website link) & (PDF)

Massimo Bolognesi. Overdiagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Pregnant Woman: A Case Report. The Journal of Woman’s Health. 2014. 4:3. http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2167-0420.1000234 (PDF)

Theme cafes in Japan

Cats, dogs, maids, butlers, toys, babies, owls, pop groups… and coffee also. This article talks about theme cafes in Japan.

Cat cafes

My first introduction to the concept of the theme café in Japan came was I was taken to a cat café in the Yokohama China-town district close to Motomachi.

The cat café is simply a small café where several cats are allowed to wander around and the customers can interact, i.e. play with them for fun.  The cafe is specially designed with the reception partitioned off from the main cafe area, so the cats can’t run away. There are also toys – bits of string, with shapes attached to the end, which you can dangle in front of cats. Cats love that sort of thing.

Screenshot 2020-02-07 at 15.55.54

The general ambience of the cat café is relaxing. The decor is trendy. The cat cafe mostly attracts young ladies or couples. I suspect the guys were invited there by their girlfriends. The drinks and food was of good quality – coffee and a variety of cakes or icecream as I remember it, which is pretty standard for Japan.

It was all a very interesting experience and worth trying once for the novelty, especially if you really like cats. I think perhaps a selling point of it is that it is a good place to unwind. I have a bit of a cat allergy, so after a while it became a little uncomfortable, but still I was glad to try it once. I suspect you are probably not allowed to bring your own pets. I mean… you wouldn’t bring your wife to a hostess club? 😁

Not a cat person – How about dogs or owls?

If you are more of a dog person, then they also have dog cafes. I assume it has the same format as the cat cafe – but with puppies or cute dogs instead. I also discovered that they now have owl cafes in Akihabara, but I wasn’t particularly interested in going. Instead, I had my mind on the maid cafe, which I’ll come to in a while.

I know that a lot of people criticise Japan particularly over its practice of whale hunting, so perhaps people probably think these cat, dog and especially owl cafes are a sign of animal cruelty or manipulation. But I would have to say that is not necessarily the case. The cats were all very healthy and sociable. I think they were well looked after. I suspect the owls would be too, as they have a real incentive to look after them well. You wouldn’t want to pay to go into a café where the owls were sickly and featherless.

Its true, an inner city coffee shop is not a natural habitat for them, so on this, I agree. Although, it’s a bit hypocritical to say something about the Japanese treatment of animals, whilst western countries make use of intense factory farming methods, which are pretty barbaric. And I can’t say I agree with the concept of zoos in any country, after seeing a mentally ill polar bear in one of them.

Maid cafes

But perhaps you prefer people not animals. Well they have theme cafes based on maids and butlers. The maid cafes are mostly centred around the Akihabara (electronics district) in central Tokyo. It’s not hard to spot them, as there are signs for them all over. They are usually on the second or third floors of the buildings along the streets with all the electronic shops and restaurant.  These are cafes where the waitresses dress up as a kind of maid (with a shade of anime). I took a couple of European friends for a coffee and cake one time, and the expression of surprise and disbelief on their faces was worth it.

The maids are very friendly and follow a kind of script or theme. For example, the foods and places have special names.  The toilet may be referred to as the ‘ fountain garden’ or something like that, so if you want to ask where the toilet is, you have to ask the maid ‘where is the fountain garden?’ The lift also has a special name. In one place we went to, we were given a glossary of terms for us to use on a piece of paper. They also use various comical gestures and expressions sometimes, which I think have come from anime dramas.

It sounds very silly but that is the point. It is about being silly and playful. There is absolutely nothing sexual about these places and making any kind of innuendo would be unwelcome. This is definitely not a place for drunken, course or rude behaviour, (typical for a lot of British tourists). They sell coffee, tea, cake and some small meals. Also, the prices are all very reasonable. There is a small fee which you pay for a set, which includes a drink and cake, but it is comparable to other cafes and restaurants. I think I paid around 2,000 yen. That is around 10-15 pounds, which is a little pricy, but the pound was not particularly strong at the time.

Not the same as a hostess club

If by chance you find yourself in a bar where women come up to you scantily dressed, flirtingly laughing at your jokes, asking you for drinks and you end up with a bar fine for hundreds of dollars, then I think you have very likely walked into a hostess bar, not a maid cafe. That is a completely different kettle of fish, which I’m not discussing in this article.

Games

The bigger cafes will have a small stage in a public area and if you tell them it is your birthday, you may get invited up onto the stage to play some kind of kids game in front of everyone. Again it’s all pretty much harmless fun. I would say these place tends to attract mostly young men and (dare I say it – otaku), though I saw a few foreigners and some young couples also.

Butler Cafes

There is also the male equivalent – the Butler café. I can’t speak for butler cafés. I imagine they are the same concept as maid cafes, but instead of being served by young women in maid outfits, you will be served by young handsome men in butler outfits. I can image this type of café being more popular with women. I think I’ll give this one a miss.

Gundam and AKB48 cafes

The other options is the Gundam cafe. Gundam is a kind of action robot figurine which is based on a popular anime. I didn’t go in, as I’m not a Gundam fan, although perhaps I’ll give it a try in the future. Another more well-known café is the AKB48 café close to Akihabara station. AKB48 is a phenomenally huge all girls-pop group consisting of approximately 48 young girls. You can google them to get an idea. They are massive in Japan and have led to a few copy-cat bands. For example there is SK48. Again, I haven’t been to this one yet but I have looked through the window outside. I haven’t quite had enough courage to go in yet.

Finally baby cafes

In Daikanyama, the fashionable district of Tokyo, I visited a baby cafe. Put simply it’s a baby-friendly café where mothers and some fathers can have coffee and cake and bring along their babies. There are large flat sofa-like cushioned areas where their babies can be put down to stretch out and wiggle around as babies do. Yes, I did go with my baby.

It seems to be catered for the babies age group of 0-1.5. I didn’t see any toddlers there on the day I want. It has a kind of French theme to it, with its decor and music, so if I recall, it was kind of French bread, soup and special cakes. The place was very popular with mommies who could meet up, although you had to make a booking as it was very popular. There were a couple of other Western women on the day I went there. I do recall, there only seemed to be one toilet which meant you had to wait a little if you needed to change a baby. Otherwise it was a pleasant relaxing experience and kind of unusual to be in a large room full of mostly women and babies. As one of the few males in there, I did feel slightly self-conscious, but not terribly so.

Theme cafes in Japan: Lonely Planet’s Guide

I’m not sure if theme cafes are included in in the newest version of Lonely Planet travel guide. If not, they definitely should be. In fact, they have far more than place in this guide-book than the Tsukiji fish market, which a few years ago had to stop allowing visitors because they got fed up of tourists turning up, taking pictures and generally getting in the way of the workers. This is because Tsukiji fish market is not actually a tourist attraction. It is actually a fish market, that for some reason got hyped up as a tourist attraction.

If you visit Japan, I recommend you try out at least one type of theme café. I can understand people may be embarrassed or see it as stupid, but give it a shot. The point is about letting go of your seriousness and be playful for a little while. We have enough seriousness in our lives with money, work and family obligations and wearing our masks. Sometimes it’s just fun to let it go and relax but in an innocent playful way. At the very least, you will get to drink a good coffee and eat some delicious cake.

Modern living makes us weak

We are not designed to sit down all day.

Imagine a lion in the wild chasing after a wildebeest, or a monkey swinging in the trees. Or a bear plodding miles through the forest. They’re pretty content doing their own thing. Then some lab scientists tired of experimenting on lab rats decided to up their game.

‘I know’, they say, ‘lets try chaining that lion or that monkey or even a polar bear to a desk for 8 hours and see how it responds. It could be a test to see if modern life makes us weak. We can study the effects of civilised living on animals’. ‘Good idea’ the other lab scientists agree.

So they grab some animals from the wild and chain them up at desks in front of computers, or tie them to the steering wheels of HGVs or to the check-outs in supermarkets. They even go a bit further and force them to travel an hour in a crowded train or sit in a car twice a day…

No doubt at first, they would go all go mad, rebel and try to escape. So then the scientists would have to tranquillize them. Perhaps give them lots of heavy sugary carbohydrate oily based food – cakes, biscuits to keep the animals happy and slow them down a bit. Though, they’d have to feed them quite a lot of that kind of food. Maybe they’d make them watch lots of bright images on TV screens during their rest periods showing lots of nubile young healthy looking animals in the wild.

Results

And so a few weeks later, after the initial transition period, The animals would gradually adapt and get used to their captivity just like animals do in the zoo.
And then in a years time, the scientists would take some bloods and do some muscle testing. What will be the result?

I’d put my money on them being weaker. They’d have less muscle mass, less flexibility. More body fat, possibly even the odd chronic disease or beginnings of one. I’m pretty sure they be depressed as well and the zest for living would be diminished.

Zoos

A few years ago, I went to a zoo in Yokohama in Japan. Japanese zoos are pleasant experiences, but one sight was a bit disturbing. There was a polar bear in the sealed off water area. It stood on all fours shaking his head in a set pattern from left to right. Then it would take four steps forward, shake its head some more, then take four steps backward, shake its head and then repeat again and again.
One of the other visitors exclaimed to his girlfriend, ‘that bear must be mentally sick’. I agreed. It was quite a disturbing sight and put me off zoos.

What this teaches us about health

Our bodies are designed to move, not to sit down or stand in one place for 8 hours a day. It’s normal to feel great and refreshed after a day of physical activity – skiing, gardening, swimming, surfing, running, going to the gym. Conversely, it’s quite unnatural to keep our bodies in a constrained fixed pose as well as for our bodies or our minds. There’s too much yin and not enough yang.

But we must pay bills, most work is like this these days. I agree. The antidote is to balance the yin with the yang. Exercise in your spare time, walk to work, go to the gym on weekends or exercise at home if you have family commitments. Avoid the carb treats at work. Cake is just adding more yin to yin. It’s no good. Treat yourself occasionally and get up and walk around when you can. Talk to others, keep the energy flowing.

When I found myself working a desk bound job, after some time, I felt this urge to get up and move around, find a reason to visit another area or speak to someone new. It kept me mentally active. It also kept me slim. If I didn’t do it, I would suffer a kind of mental fatigue particularly at the end of the day, which made me crave or binge on sugary food or junk and really want to drink a beer.

So we are living and working in unusually unnatural ways compared to our ancestors. Our world gives us many benefits which I am grateful for, though it does weaken us in other ways. So in order to counter these negative effects, first be aware that we are physical beings and that we have to balance these periods of yin inactivity with some form of yang activity.

*****

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