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July 26, 2011



I definitely am hoping in exercise and appropriate diet. Being a proud Tennessean and a family historian, I have learned that most of my predecessors (for whom we have records) died of strokes (usually in a series) or heart attacks. My grandmothers both had a series of strokes, one left immobile and speechless, the other slowly robbed of her mind and body by severe personal neglect and inactivity. I don't want to go there.
I won't have a true success story for another 50 years, I guess, but I can say that anxiety induced by some severely stressful situations in the past year has been greatly alleviated by balanced exercise, rest, and good food. When your world seems to be crumbling, sometimes a good hard workout, a delicious dinner, and a soft bed are just what the doctor should have ordered.


Wow, this was good news for me. I have been walking about an hour a day for 25 years now. I have recently added rowing to my routine and am considering yoga. I am indeed pinning my hopes on exercise and a vegan diet to maintain my brain as I age.

There were no strokes in my family but both my parents died from their poor lifestyle choices.

My brother and I watched and learned.

Thanks as always for these postings. I devour them!

Donna Cash

My mother died of Alzheimer's at 80, with a slow progression over the past 15 years of her life. While never overweight, she had high blood pressure and lived a mostly inactive lifestyle. I don't want to go there so do anything and everything I can - daily exercise, clean eating, constant learning, and maintaining a happy attitude. Thank you so much for these postings !

Linda P.

I, too, am pinning my hopes on diet and exercise. My father had a several massive heart attacks, the first in his mid 50's, and a series of strokes that eventually took his life. My brother, 60 now and just 13 months younger than I am, has 80% and 90% blockages in his femoral arteries in each leg, with his second stent to be placed tomorrow. (I gave him Dr. Esselstyn's book, but I don't believe he read it.) In addition, I have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, with this autoimmune disorder being associated with heightened risk of death due to cardiovascular reasons, even in the absence of cardiovascular disease. Doctors theorize that RA acts on the cardiovascular system differently than is seen with other risk factors. My own cardiovascular workup came out clean, and, for the last year, I've used a no-added-oils vegan diet to keep my cholesterol below 150 without medications. However, the brain MRI done along the way to diagnosing the RA did show some small "incidental" bright spots, probably damage done when I was on a "healthy, low fat" American diet for many years. That chicken-and-fish, low-fat Mediterranean-style diet was still too much for me, apparently, with my risk factors. I was grateful that I'd already switched and had my cholesterol, weight and blood pressure well controlled before I saw that report that my neurologist brushed off as not anything, but that I didn't brush off! I've been exercising regularly and vigorously since I was 35, but now the RA complicates that. With the help of medication to control the RA, I'm working myself back up to some semblance of my previous workout routine, doing all I can, and I'm reassured that my efforts are important and helpful.

Chris G.

I fully agree that enhanced physical activity leads to improved mental function, in both the long term and even the short term. It never ceases to amaze me the creative solutions to complex work or home problems that suddenly 'come to me' during long runs (7 - 10 miles) in solitude (deep woods); almost every time. Its clear to me that the physical - mental connection is real and has both short and long term ramifications.


Zumba! <3 it. If you get a chance, give it a try!

The Healthy Librarian

Chris--100% agree with you about the creative problem-solving during solitary exercise outside. I never expect it to happen--but it just does. Brazier spends a lot of time discusses this in his book, Thrive.

JK--Why has it taken me so long to Zumba. No doubt I'd love it. You've motivated to start work early this Weds. so I can make the 5:00 pm Zumba class at my gym! I've been wanting to do it for so long.


Can't wait to hear what you think of Zumba! Zumba <3 to you!

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