Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

Today in sports medicine and exercise physiology, peak oxygen consumption is known by the ubiquitous acronym VO2 for oxygen in its usual chemical notation, and “max” for maximum.  VO2 max is accepted around the globe as the best single measure of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic power.
In the early days, the question was whether coaches and individuals could raise the maximum uptake so as to increase athletic performance.  The answer emerged quickly: very much so.  Regular aerobic training turned out to increase the size of the heart, most especially its left ventricle — the heart’s largest chamber, which pumps oxygenated blood into the arteries and body.  A bigger left ventricle sent out more blood per beat and more oxygen to the tissues and muscles.  Scientists sought to measure the rise.  It turned out that the cardiac output of elite athletes was about twice that of untrained individuals.
The benefits extended to most anyone who took up vigorous exercise.  In time, scientists found that three months of endurance training could raise VO2 max between 15 and 30 percent.  Two years raised it as much as 50 percent.
The new perspective was a breakthrough.  At last, after many decades of mistakes and misapprehensions, scientists had uncovered what seemed like a dependable guide to human fitness.
The topic was long obscure.  Then Kenneth H. Cooper came along.  A track star in his native Oklahoma, the physician worked for the Air Force and early in his career devised a simple test that provided a good estimate of an individual’s VO2 max.  The test measure how far a person could run in twelve minutes.  Cooper’s rule of thumb let the Air Force quickly assess the fitness of new recruits.  Eager to popularize his insights, he invented a new word, “aerobics,” and in 1968 authored a by the same name.  It drew on his years of research to show what kinds of exercise produced the best cardiovascular workout.  Cooper found that such muscular activities as calisthenics and weight lifting were the least effective.  Participant sports like golf and tennis came in second.  And the big winners?  Challenging sports like running, swimming, and cycling, as well as vigorous participant sports such as handball, squash, and basketball.  His analyses caught on rapidly and helped get millions of people off their chairs and into the streets.  Starting in the 1970s, jogging became fashionable.
The surge of activity resulted in a number of scientific inquiries that examined what aerobic exercise could do not only for athletics but health.  The results were dramatic.  Perhaps most important, the studies showed that aerobic exercise lowered an individual’s risk of heart attack and heart disease — the leading cause of death in the developed world.  It also reduced the prevalence of diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression, dementia, osteoporosis, hypertension, gallstones, diverticulitis, and a dozen forms of cancer.  Finally, it helped patients cope with all kinds of chronic health problems.  Frank Hu, and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, praised the benefits as exceptional.  For general health, he called vigorous exercise “the single thing that comes close to a magic bullet.”
Why did it do so much good?  Scientists found that forceful exercise improved the performance of virtually every tissue in the human body.  For instance, it produced new capillaries in skeletal muscles, the heart, and the brain, increasing the flow of nutrients and the removal of toxins.  Scientists also discovered that it raised the number of circulating red blood cells, improving the transport of oxygen.  Still another repercussion centered on blood vessels.  It caused their walls to produce nitric oxide, a relaxant that increases blood flow.
    —    William J. Broad
From his book:  “The Science of Yoga
On This Day In:
2019 Chained To #45
2018 Some Men Make Their Office As Small As Themselves
2017 Too Many
2016 Not Yet, Anyway
2015 On Pornography
2014 Nudge, Nudge
2013 The Journey Will Be Joy
2012 Hopeful Flights
2011 Irrationally Predictable
Lawful Restraint

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The Grapes Of Wrath (1940) — movie review
Today’s review is for the John Ford directed movie: “The Grapes Of Wrath” starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, Jane Darwell as Ma Joad and John Carradine as Jim Casy.  The movie is based on the novel written by John Steinbeck which was published the year before the movie (1939).  The subject of the movie is the move by the Joad family from Oklahoma to California – what causes the move and what happens during the move.  This is the first time I’ve seen this movie and I never had to read the book while in high school and haven’t read it since.  Yes, I know it’s a “classic”.  Mea culpa, mea culpa.
It seems I’ve been watching a number of Henry Fonda movies lately, so I thought I’d do this review next (after “Once Upon A Time In The West“).  In OUATITW, Fonda plays a cold blooded killer named (only) Frank.  I was surprised to find he is also a killer in this movie.  At the start of the movie, Tom is released from prison (convicted of murder which he claims was in self-defense) and he makes his way to his family’s farm in Oklahoma.  He finds the farm abandoned, but is able to meet up with them at his uncle’s farm nearby.  Unfortunately, his uncle’s farm has also been repossessed, and the family is being forced off of it.
Repossessed is probably not an accurate description, because they don’t actually own the farm.  They are sharecroppers.  As long as the land was productive, they could scrape by enough to feed themselves and pay their rent.  But, when the world was hit by the Great Depression and most of the mid-west was hit by the “dust bowl” of the mid-1930’s, the land was unable to support the families let alone pay for the rents.  Many families were forced to move or starve.
Like many families, the Joad’s decide to move to California on the “promise” of well paying jobs.  The majority of the rest of the movie is about the difficulties of the trip and the eventual realization that “the promise” was merely a means for the owners of the land in Oklahoma to get the sharecroppers to voluntarily move off the land without the owners having to use force.  And, during the course of the movie, Fonda’s character kills again.  This time Tom kills a “deputy” who has just killed Fonda’s friend (Carradine / Casy) for no reason except that he (the deputy) can get away with it.
This movie is a powerful indictment of capitalism, fascism and authoritarianism in the United States during the 1930’s.  It has strong political (anti-communist) undertones which touch on both the “red scare” and anti-unionism as the wealthy, in California, try to take advantage of their fellow Americans who have been driven into poverty and into migrant worker status by weather and economic forces beyond their control.  The movie also uses two specific scenes to demonstrate that average Americans have charity in their hearts – in sharp contrast with those with economic power / wealth.
The movie is generally considered to be one of the greatest American movies of all time – and I agree it one of the most powerfully disturbing movies I’ve ever viewed.  According to Wikipedia: “this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” “
The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards (1941) and won two: Darwell for Best Actress and Ford for Best Director.  Fonda was nominated for Best Actor, but did not win.  He lost to James Stewart in “The Philadelphia Story“.
Final recommendation: very highly recommended!  Disturbing, yes!  Powerful, yes!  If there is ANY downside to the movie, I’d say the weak attempt at an optimistic ending detracted from the overall power of the movie.  Fonda’s “Joad as everyman” in the prior scene was barely believable.  Ma’s “we’re gonna get by cause that’s what we’ve always done” – far less so.  In any case, this is a great / classic movie and well worth viewing in our day due to its message about our own economic / political time.
On This Day In:
2017 Proof Sits In The Oval Office
2016 Tragic Determinism
2015 Maybe It Should Be Clearer
2014 Make It Your Strength
2013 Four Score
2012 The Ruler
2011 Forever
2010 Just Cuz
How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
It’s Alive!! (3rd Pair Shoe Review)

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