And I Shall Dance the Night Away

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to dance. Her parents were ballroom dancers: smooth, gliding, and delightful to watch. She ballroomwanted to do that, too, but there were no ballroom lessons for little girls at that time. She took a tap lesson or two, but the dance school was too far away for her to walk or for her driving shy mother to drive.

Then there was nothing until her junior high school offered dance lessons during the physical education period, all kinds of dance: square, cha-cha, rhumba, mambo, salsa, waltz, foxtrot. That’s when she realized her parents were her best dance teachers… and that dancing was in her blood. When she hit college, she went dancing with her buddies every chance she got. At that time, it was clubs.

Eventually she married, had a family, and only danced at weddings. It wasn’t such a happy time for her. But her children grew older and she found she could bring them to swing dances with her. She was happy again. One of these children grew up to initiate and teach blues dance lessons every week.  She was ecstatic.

That group is Sustainable Blues, Phoenix, and that child is Abby Wegerski. The little dancer grown up? It’s me, as if you hadn’t guess by now. And here’s comes the reason for the dancing introduction to this week’s blog.

We have Chronic Kidney Disease; we need to exercise at least half an hour a day for five days a week, daily if possible. This little tidbit from What Is It and How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease explains why:What is it

“I researched, researched and researched again.  Each explanation of what exercise does for the body was more complicated than the last one I read.  Keeping it simple, basically, there’s a compound released by voluntary muscle contraction.  It tells the body to repair itself and grow stronger.”

I went into this just a bit further in The Book of Blogs: Moderate Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, Part 1:

“With Chronic Kidney Disease, I need the daily exercise to keep my organs – all of them – strong, especially since CKD can eventually affect your IMG_2982other organs.  It’s our not-quite-filtered blood that feeds these organs, so we need to keep them healthy in as many ways as we can.”

Okay. Got it. Now the biggie: Is dancing the exercise we think it is?  I turned to WebMD at http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/dancing-your-way-to-better-health#2 for the following:

(Exercise physiologist Catherine Cram, MS, of Comprehensive Fitness Consulting in Middleton, Wis. is the one being quoted.)

“Once someone gets to the point where they’re getting their heart rate up, they’re actually getting a terrific workout….Dance is a weight-bearing activity, which builds bones. It’s also wonderful for your upper body and strength, says Cram.”

Weight-bearing? I wasn’t so sure I could accept that so I turned to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/Bone_Health/Exercise/default.asp for verification.

“The best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind, which forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing.”

Look at that last word. Finally! My weight is working for me, instead of against me. Of course, I am in no way suggesting you gain weight so you can get more of the weight-bearing benefits of dancing. You know that, don’t you? Don’t you????

But that’s not the only benefit of dancing as a weight-bearing exercise. In The Book of Blogs: Moderate Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, FullSizeRender (3)Part 2 I included part of a Los Angeles Times article about weight-bearing exercise. Potteiger is Jeffrey Potteiger, an exercise physiologist at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

“’Another big advantage … is improving glucose metabolism, which can reduce the risk of diabetes. Strength training boosts the number of proteins that take glucose out of the blood and transport it into the skeletal muscle, giving the muscles more energy and lowering overall blood-glucose levels.If you have uncontrolled glucose levels,’ Potteiger said, ‘that can lead to kidney damage, damage to the circulatory system and loss of eyesight.’”

I found the following list on the website of  Australia’s Victoria State Government Better Health Channel at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/dance-health-benefits after a bit of digging and liked how succinctly it demonstrated just how much we benefit ourselves when we dance.

 Health benefits of dancing

Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:

  • improved condition of your heart and lungs
  • increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • increased aerobic fitness
  • improved muscle tone and strength
  • weight managementdepression-cause-heart-attack-1
  • stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • better coordination, agility and flexibility
  • improved balance and spatial awareness
  • increased physical confidence
  • improved mental functioning
  • improved general and psychological wellbeing
  • greater self-confidence and self-esteem
  • better social skills.

Wow – just wow. Who knew that the little girl who loved dancing would grow up to be the woman who used what she loved to help keep her Chronic Kidney Disease under control?

After all this good news – actually joyful to me – I unfortunately have to end this week’s blog on a cautionary note. It’s been brought to my IMG_2980attention that students are still being tricked into wasting their money by renting my Chronic Kidney Disease books for more than it would cost to buy them or asking their libraries to order copies to be borrowed for free . So, here’s the same warning I published earlier this year in SlowItDownCKD 2015.

“Students: do NOT rent any of these (e.g. my CKD books) for a semester.  The cost for that is much higher than buying the book.  Having been a college instructor, I know you sometimes have to buy your textbooks before the class begins and the instructor has the chance to tell you this.”

College has changed. It’s no longer two or three terms a year. Many college classes have staggered start dates, some weekly, some graduationmonthly. Many of the duped students used their financial aid money to pay these book rental companies. Be careful, students.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Awwww, Do I Have To?

 

blues

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my internal dialogue every day when it’s time to exercise… except when my exercise for the day is Sustainable Blues at the Blooze Bar on Sundays at 5. (32 St.  & Cactus, just in case you were thinking of flying out to Phoenix, Arizona, to join us.)

Here’s a link to a YouTube showing me dancing there, after the lesson, with the charming Robert Mullen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XFAd6eh1MA. Just copy and paste it into your search function.

Anyway, back to the answer to my question. My answer to myself is inevitably a resounding, YES!!! Okay, I know I have Chronic Kidney Disease – still holding at stage 3, thank you very much – and need to exercise to slow down the progression of the disease.  But why?  I mean, how does that help?

I’m going to quote heavily from What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease here. I’ve already done the research to answer the question but, quite frankly, have forgotten what I found. It’s in the book.Book signing

Got your digital edition pulled up on your reading device so you can do a phrase search?  Great.  For those using the print version of the book (OMG, I feel like I’m teaching college again.), let’s turn to page 100 in Chapter 10: Getting the Necessary Exercise.

I knew exercise was important to control my weight.  It would also improve my blood pressure and lower my cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The greater your triglycerides, the greater the risk of increasing your creatinine.  There were other benefits, too, although you didn’t have to have CKD to enjoy them: better sleep, and improved muscle function and strength. But, as with everything else you do that might impinge upon your health, check with your doctor before you start.

I researched, researched and researched again.  Each explanation of what exercise does for the body was more complicated than the last one I read.  Keeping it simple, basically, there’s a compound released by voluntary muscle contraction.  It tells the body to repair itself and grow stronger. The idea is to start exercising slowly and then intensify your activity.

  Yikes!  There are some terms there those of you without the book may not know.  Here’s a little glossary for you:

blood pressure 300dpi jpgBlood pressure: the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels. Blood pressure depends on the strength of the heartbeat, thickness and
volume of the blood, the elasticity of the artery walls, and general health. (Encarta Dictionary)

Cholesterol: while the basis for both sex hormones and bile, can cause blockages if it accumulates in the lining of a blood vessel. (What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease)

Creatinine: chemical waste product that’s produced by our muscle metabolism and to a smaller extent by eating meat. (MayoClinic.org)

Triglycerides: a type of fat found in your blood. Too much of this type of fat may raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women. (Medline Plus)

I’ve used different sources for the definitions so as to bring you the most easily understood ones.  After all, we’re not doctors here.GFR

Okay, I get it.  Exercise is absolutely necessary since CKD prevents your body from adequately filtering wastes – like creatinine – from itself.

Now my task was to find more exercise that I don’t mind doing… like blues dancing. Even though I seem to be dancing at half time, I come out of the bar thoroughly soaked despite the air conditioning.  That’s my personal indicator for effective exercise.

After almost a year (Bear’s surgery and recuperation, remember?) we went to the gun range yesterday.  I had decided several years back that I no longer want to compete, even though the Single Action Shooters’ Society competitions were fun to a point, but I did still want to target shoot.Rae%208x10%205792%20Sepia%20TinType[1]

On a whim, I started playing with the internet to see if target shooting burned enough calories to be considered exercise.

Whoopee!  It does!  It burns almost as many calories as half an hour on the stationary bike and uses a whole bunch of different muscles.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the calorie counter at: http://www.fitday.com/webfit/burned/calories_burned_Pistol_shooting_or_trap_shooting_standing.html.  Oh goody, another exercise I enjoy.

I have to admit that I enjoy the stationary bike, too, IF one of ‘my’ shows is on TV or I have a good book.  I’m wondering how long I can do this type of exercise, though, since my knees have started declaring their presence in a demanding, non-loving way. Enter knee supports.

And, yes, I still do the Leslie Sansone Walking Tapes I described in the book, but you’ve got to remember that your body becomes accustomed to a certain kind of exercise and then it isn’t as effective anymore… and I was wearing knee supports for this, too.

water walkingI do the water walking I wrote about a few blogs back (no knee supports) as often as I can.  Of course, no sooner did I decide I liked it then monsoon season started here.  It’s certainly not as bad as it’s been in years past, but I’m still not going into a pool when there’s rain.  And then, there are the haboobs (dust storms).  No thanks, I’ll find some kind of indoor exercise if there’s a warning for one of those.

By the way, we are not alone in exercising more.  We may do it because we have to, but the whole country is interested in exercising lately. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eNews headline of 5/15/14, “Neighborhood Support of Physical Activity on the Rise.”

I’ll be publishing this blog from New York where we will have traveled to see family and friends.  I’ve already got it figured out.  We’ll be gone eight days, so I’m taking the knee supports and plan to walk my brains out.

And stairs!  New York buildings have loads of stair.  My brother actually lives on the 11th floor of his building.  I could walk up to his apartment!

Well, unless another, more fun opportunity for exercise presents itself. I wonder if dragging two big pieces of luggage on rollers count?

Until next week (when I’ll be back in lovely monsoony, habooby Arizona),

Keep living your life!