Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bracknell Forest Mountain Biking

off-road and gripped? ...let's go chew up the dirt

I've recently been on a few mountain biking trips at The Lookout in Bracknell Forest. The first trip was a tentative venture as I hadn't ridden a bike for some 15 years (it turns out that it is, as they say, as easy as riding a bike). The cycle hire place (Swinley Bike Hub) rents out the bikes pictured above for a reasonable fee of £15 for two hours (including helmets), which is just enough time to do run yourself silly on the tracks and finish up feeling totally spent. The sprawling course also provides ample opportunity to get a little lost if you venture off the tracks (thank god for phones with GPS!).

When you pull up to the The Lookout, it looks like a sanitised and family friendly venue, and it is, but once you are on the trails, it can fast become a test of stamina and staying power - one wrong move and you will be wiped out, with potential serious injury. Focus is key and you are forced to lose yourself in the activity. Highly recommended to those who want to do burn up some calories while spraying around a little mud.

Bobby's Almond Fingers

These here are my Achille's heel, the deadly of the deadliest weaknesses that will bring me down. You will find this cake biscuit product in the 'dirty food' corner in many newsagents and corner shops. There is no pretense of organic or natural. No, I imagine these sticks of pure addiction are made in an industrial estate in a desolate post-industrial wasteland where the sun never shines and workers forever dream of escape. The typeface for the listed ingredients is small enough so as not to make me inspect in detail. I am glad there is no information on calories or saturated or trans fats because when I bite into these bad boys and taste the succulent goodness, every swallow pings my brain with a subtle message reminding the better side of my nature that all the soft happiness from the cake comes  from  fats that could well be the collected by waste product from oil changes at car garage...the hint that this is not suitable for human consumption permeates everything to do with this product: the shelve space in the shop (the overlooked section where products often collect a grimy dust), the manufacturer's range of other industrial looking cakes and biscuits, and the long list of 'please don't look too closely' ingredients.

And yet, time after time, I will buy a pack of these and they will all be gone before the day is over.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

On-line Courses in 2014

So far this year, I have completed the following courses on Coursera and edX:

  • Buddhism & Modern Psychology by Robert Wright (Princeton University)
  • A Beginner's Guide to Irrationality by Dan Ariely (Duke University)
  • Think 101x: The Science of Everyday Thinking (University of Queensland)
  • Practical Ethics by Peter Singer (Princeton University)
  • Moralities of Everyday Life by Paul Bloom (Yale University)

Due to time constraints I didn't complete any of the coursework requirements or required readings, although I do appreciate how valuable these activities are.

To make my efforts worthwhile, I really should spend some time consolidating this knowledge. The problem is that around every course lies another interesting course - bookmarked courses for future study include:
  • Unethical Decision Making in Organizations (University of Lausanne)
  • Søren Kierkegaard - Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity (University of Copenhagen)
  • Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World (University of Virginia)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Think101x The Science of Everyday Thinking

I recently completed a course on edX called "Think101x The Science of Everyday Thinking", which was pretty cool. Here is their wrap-up video, which captures key expert insights on how we might go about starting to improve our thinking. See below for the full transcript:


"Over the last year, we've traveled right across the planet to talk to some of the best people
in the world about the science of everyday thinking. Starting right here in Australia,
we talked to Ian Frazer about vaccinations, flew to New York to chat with Danny Kahneman
about intuition and rationality. We went to England to talk to Susan Blackmore about consciousness
and her out-of-body experience, and to Arizona to chat with Richard Nisbett about the person and the situation.
Yes. They'd never been asked their advice for how people can improve their everyday thinking, so we asked them.
Start with your intuitions. Watch yourself. Feel those intuitions coming up and question them.
At least part of the answer is a healthy skepticism. Let's see some proof. I want to see some evidence.
A key feature of storage in our memories is that that's a process of linking up any new
information with what we already know. In fact, rather than thinking of your memory
as some sort of box or tape that the more you have in it or on it, the less room you have
—actually, memory storage creates capacity for additional storage. The more knowledge
you have in some domain, the more ways there are to link things up and hook things up.
The best way to think about, "Will I be able to do something well in the future," is to
simulate it in the present. Without a good simulation, we're really going to make a lot
of mistakes about our own abilities and how we will perform in the future.
One is to recognize that we know much less than we think we know. People who think they've
got everything figured out are almost always wrong.
Understanding the scientific process—the fact that you can make a hypothesis, or call
it a guess, if you like, and then test it, and then at the end of the testing be reasonably
confident about whether your guess was correct or not—that is the basis for making decisions about things.
That's the message that I would always leave people with.
Pick a few areas and pick a few things where you want to change what you're doing. Focus
on those. I mean, do not expect that you can generally increase the quality of your thinking
because I think you really cannot. If there are repetitive mistakes that you're prone
to make, if you learn the cues, the situations in which you make that mistake, then maybe
you can learn to eliminate them.
Do not just read things that make you happy because people agree with you. Challenge yourself by stepping outside that.
Just because it's expressed in confidence, in detail, with emotion, it doesn't mean it's
really a true memory. Without independent corroboration, you can't know for sure.
There are a lot of ways in which we could be biased as consumers. From little things
that really shouldn't make a difference—like I was describing earlier, the name of the
wine. That's something very subtle that could impact the consumer.
Read, read, read, read and more reading.
It's also that we're playful with the things that we approach. It helps take something
that might be just a random pile of data typed on papers, laying on the table, and turns
it into something that is real because internalizing it means that you bring it into your head.
People make all kinds of errors because they can't think statistically. They make all kinds
of errors where they don't understand the need for a control group in something.
I mean, 28 people took a weight loss program, and nearly all of them lost weight.
Well, what was the control group for that?
Very clearly, the single best predictor of how good you are is how much you know about
the domain, not what problem-solving skills you bring to bear on it. We began there. That was wrong.
Paying attention to the message of Danny Kahneman's book is a starting point—and that is, there
are many, many sources of error or bias that we learn about in psychology. The message
is: when we're doing one of the tasks that we know that people have difficulty with or
are subject to particular biases, just take a little time, reconsider it.
The equivalent to not pressing the send button when you've written a message that you're not sure about.
It's a good idea just to stop and take a little time and reflect.
I mean, I'd like to think that in general, thinking about the fact that you can test
things yourselves and asking questions about that, that that applies to anything in life,
and so even just the realization, "Can I ask a question about this," and, "How would I
test this if I wanted to find out?" I think it applies to anything.
The kind of advice that I give people about making better decisions is to be careful about
what information you allow yourself to consider. If you're a forensic scientist and you want
to avoid being influenced inappropriately by extraneous information, make sure you don't know that information.
Aside from the obvious: exercise, good diet, get a good night's sleep... No, I don't know
what my research says about that. Part of what it is, if you're thinking about, say,
Danny Kahneman's recent book on thinking fast and slow, there are certain situations you
see outlines where the thinking fast really gets you into trouble, but it also in many,
many situations where it gets you out of trouble, where thinking slow would not. There's not a simple panacea here.
To be honest, I think actually what helps you more is common sense. The problem is that
common sense isn't very common—to use the old phrase. Lots of the time, people cling
to their hopes, and their wishes, and their dreams. They think that without putting much
effort in, these things will somehow come true. That's often underlying a lot of actual
belief in the paranormal and a lot of the self-help literature as well.
If psychology tells us anything, it's for the most part, success is associated with hard work.
In terms of every day thinking, I would say you've got to put the time in. There's no shortcuts here."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hola borderless internet!

 

Hola.org makes accessing restricted US websites extremely easy. I installed the software in my Firefox browser in a matter of seconds and headed over to Netflix to view the massive selection available in the US catalogue, which is so much broader and fresher than the UK version. It's dead simple to switch between countries and what's more, the service is free!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Game group

Just read they are planning to re float on the stock market with a value of around 400 million pounds. It hasn't been that long since they went into administration.

May be time to start sharpening the 'shorting' knives ; )

Meal frequency

Since the start of the year I have been following an interesting eating pattern, which I fell in to. On most working days I will not eat solid food during until late afternoon, say around 4:30pm. I do drink a bit of milk (1-2 mugs, which is probably around 150kcal), but this is pretty much an intermittent fasting mode of eating. I didn't realise intermittent fasting is a fad that is doing the rounds right now, and I don't do it to lose weight. I do it because I have found that if I have breakfast then I am hungry again at around 10-11 a.m. and again at lunch, and after lunch I would often suffer a slight energy dip. By taking food out of the equation I have more time and I also save money as I don't need to buy lunch. On many days I also feel that I have more energy.

I have no trouble achieving my caloric targets and I can eat with reckless abandon when I get home, which is a nice treat. I do generally end up in a slight caloric deficit over the weekdays but then I will make up for it on non-working days, when I eat more frequently and in larger quantities.

This seems to work pretty well for me but always causes concern when people find out I am backloading my food intake instead of having lots of small meals, and I am missing that 'most important meal of the day' which is breakfast. I have tried to find a decent scientific study that suggests I should change my patterns but there is nothing out there. In fact, this study was recently published comparing a group of people who ate two meals a day to those who ate six meals spread over the day. Lo and behold, the two meal group actually had better health outcomes. The study is small and so can't really be used to make a convincing general statement on the question, but it is interesting. The NHS notes of the study:

"Based on their diet diaries, there was no significant difference in calorie intake with the different patterns, or in physical activity (steps per month).
The researchers found that people lost weight with both meal patterns. They lost significantly more weight when they were on the two meal pattern (3.7 kg lost on average) than with the six meal pattern (2.3 kg lost on average). The two meal pattern was associated with better fasting blood glucose levels."

"Researchers are not certain why eating the same amount of calories, but in different patterns through the day, might have differing effects. They made various suggestions, including differing effects on resting energy expenditure or on the nervous system and hormones affecting hunger, or an impact on our bodies’ daily rhythms.
This is a complex area and is likely to be studied in further research."

In this age of rationality, we like to think that much of what we do is evidence based and that the remaining legacy patterns of behaviour that are based on custom or age old wisdom are well grounded, but this isn't always the case. Always ask, "where's the evidence?" and acknowledge that what works for others may not work for you. Experiment, play around, and question, question, question. 

The egg white-yolk spread

It appears that Americans are demanding more and more products that use egg whites instead of using whole eggs. McDonalds has the egg white muffin which hasn't hit our shores yet, and which McD's say is "destined to become a classic".

I'm not anti McDonalds but this burger doesn't look very appealing:

Interestingly, the Financial Times reports that egg white and yolks are traded as separate commodity products and the spread has widened as the egg white stocks have taken a dive, which of course pushes up prices.

I find this a bit odd as people seem to be driven by health concerns, and yet the cholesterol in a person's diet has been shown not to have the relationship to cholesterol in the human body that we once thought. The science on this is quite clear and health advice even from the likes of the British Heart Foundation has acknowledged the facts. This suggests the egg white burger is not designed to become a classic but a flash in the pan, until the next dietary fad has its way.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

vitamin d - nice

NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, recently published draft public guidance which significantly favours a more proactive approach in the administration of vitamin D, something doctors will hopefully start to take notice of (why they don't already is a mystery). If you click on the link to the guidance note, you will see the recommendations include:

  • Clarifying which groups are at risk of deficiency and providing clarity on the wording of existing recommendations on vitamin d. This includes telling people they don't need to take vitamin d combined with calcium if their calcium intake is sufficient already.
  • Increase access to vitamin d supplements and encourage promotion to at-risk groups.
  • Public Health England should develop a national campaign emphasising the importance of vitamin d for good health.
  • "Health and social care professionals should recommend a daily vitamin d supplement to people from at-risk groups at every available opportunity"
  • Raising awareness of the importance of the vitamin among health care professionals.
This is all good stuff.

NICE also note that from mid-October to the beginning of April, there is no ambient ultraviolet sunlight  of the appropriate wavelength to generate vitamin d. During this period, the body relies its stores of the vitamin and obtains what it can from dietary intake.

Tricep pain continued

Around a week ago, I self-diagnosed an annoying elbow condition as 'golfer's elbow', or medial epicondoloytis. I purchased an arm strap for a mere £2.99 on Amazon, which takes the load off during sports and seems to be having a beneficial/protective effect.

However, further investigations (poking of the tendons connecting the triceps to the elbow) suggest the condition may be golfer's elbow but it could also be mild triceps tendinitis along with a case of dislocation of the ulnar nerve, which creates a mild fuzzy feeling of the 'funny bone' being knocked and makes plank exercises impossible to perform due to to the weight placed on this part of the arm.

I will be doing as many of the below stretching/strengthening exercises as possible to provide maximum benefit. Rehab exercises (includes those mentioned in the earlier post):

- Yoga position placing bodweight on forearms (mentioned previously)
- Wrist active range of motion: Flexion and extension (2 x 15)
- Wrist stretch (wrist up: 3 x 15-30 seconds, repeat with wrist down)
- Forearm pronation and supination (2 x 15)
- Eccentric wrist flexion (3 x 15)
- Eccentric wrist extension (3 x 15)
- Grip strengthening - squeezing ball for 5 seconds (2 x 15)
- Forearm pronation and supination strengthening (2 x 15)
- Resisted elbow flexion and extension (2 x 15)

Some new additions:
- Use a tennis ball against the wall to massage the arms, focusing on the knotted area
- Practice an eccentric negative pull-down exercise using the cable: adopt the stance of one-arm tricep pull down with horseshoe grip. Have the elbow tucked in and arm out at 90 degrees, and palm down. Use your good hand to draw the cable down to the straight arm position, and then use the bad arm to slowly control the release back up to the 90 degree position. Note, as light weights are used I imagine you could get a fair chunk of the benefit by simple using the good hand to act as a cable, providing some counterforce that is pulling the hand up.

General recovery approach:
- Rest from the weights section of the gym for a couple of weeks
- Go back to the gym with light exercise sessions, starting with 20% volume and building up gradually
- Observe all exercises that play havoc with the tricep and elbows and eliminate these completely. This list will sadly include tricep station dips, overhead tricep extensions, skill crushers and possibly even press-ups. Try the painful exercises with wide grips before assigning them to the grave! The key is not to aggravate any pain, which could easily lead to chronic degeneration.
- Observe the ulnar nerve instability when the arm bends past 90 degrees, which is when the nerve is at its most stretched and rubs or slips against the elbow bone. I can actually see this happening when I look in the mirror which is a bit disconcerting. Visit the doctor if concerned. (I'm pretty sure this has always been there). When this condition is really bad, people have ultrasounds and MRIs, and often have surgery relocating the nerve.

I'm fairly positive that these measures will give me a good chance at a quick-ish recovery. One of the key aims of going to the gym is for health benefit reasons, not to bust myself up (although going hard is enjoyable at times), so it would be a stupid thing indeed if I just worked 'through the pain' and ended up with a serious injury!

Films recently enjoyed

Marvel are getting better and better with their superhero movies (putting the constantly rebooted Spiderman aside). I recently watched Captain America one (okay) followed by Captain America 2 (fantastic). I then watched Avengers Assemble (fantastic), followed by the first Thor (way better than I thought it would be), and am looking forward to Thor 2.

Favourite line from Thor: "This moral form has grown weak. I need sustenance!"

Another film I watched recently is a great little film called Locke, which features Tom Hardy driving to London to make good on a moral decision. There are no other actors beyond the voices he has in-car telephone conversations with, and yet, despite this basic premise, it is a very good watch, but it is not a fun watch.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Quotes: The Art of Living Treasure Chest by Wilferd A.Peterson (part 7/7)


The Art of REVOLUTION

Revolution is the process of drastic change.

Sometimes there is a need for a personal revolution within ourselves.

In a personal revolution you are your own enemy and self-conquest is your goal.

A personal revolution is a revolt against wrong, despondent, hopeless thinking.

It is a bold offensive to change habits, thought patterns, actions, and establish a new way of life.

It is an about-face. It is turning a corner, taking a new road, moving in a new direction.

It is breaking the bonds of slavery to the past that your may walk in freedom.

It is implanting creative and constructive thoughts in your mind, to destroy the weeds of negative thinking.

It is sweeping away the decaying foundations of your life that stronger and mkore enduring ones may be laid for you to build upon.

It is shaking yourself awake, coming alive, re-establishing your hopes and dreams.

It is waging a battle against complacency, self-satisfaction and inertia. It is stopping drift. It is grabbing the oars and rowing with purpose.

It is overcoming the failure complex by beginning to act as though you cannot fail.

It is a declaration of independence from all that would drag you down, and it is reaching our for all that will lift you up.

The Art of COURTESY

It is being courteous even to those who are discourteous. Is is striving to avoid a reaction of irritation in spite of the most severe provocation.

It is coming forward to meet others with warmth, graciousness and a hospitable spirit.

It is using a shock-absorber to smooth the jars and jolts of daily living; words that express kindness, consideration and gratitude.

It is putting people at ease, helping them to relax. It is recognising the worth of the individual, protecting his dignity, inspiring him to think well of himself.

It is keeping constantly in mind the words of Emerson: “Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy”.

The Art of TENSION

The philosophy of “easy does it” meets no challenge, records no progress.

Man does not win a race, climb a mountain, write a book, give a speech, paint a picture, develop an invention, found a business, or do anything that matters without tension. Tension quickens the senses, alerts the mind and body.

Tension is your friend. It is concern, excitement, stimulation, drive. It is you mobilised, applying best that is in you to the task before you. It is all of your powers organised and concentrated for victory.

Tension has an evil side. When extreme and sustained, it often kills. Extreme rest and ease, on the other hand, deadens initiative and extinguishes the creative spark. The secret is this: Balance tension with rest.

The Master of men withdrew to the mountain, desert and lake to rest, meditate and renew His spirit that he might return with new strength to His great work. He said: “Come ye apart into a desert place and rest awhile.”

Every man needs a place of rest…his own Walden Pond. Thus he recharges himself, so he can be tense again in a good cause.

Tension and relaxation can be instantly balanced even in the midst of action. Close your eyes for a moment and fly away from tension on the wings of imagination…see yourself on the shores of a quiet kale or walking through a sunny meadow. A wise scientists counsels: “Use you moments of unavoidable delay to relax and build up your energy reserves.”

No tension alone, not relaxation alone, but both in balance is the key to creative living.

The Art of FORGIVENESS

It is having a humble spirit and being done with pride and self-pity. It is taking a step toward the practice of forgiveness. Hate is death, forgiveness is life.

When you forgive you change others and you change yourself.

Forgiveness is the way to personal peace.

The Art of HUMILITY

When he acknowledges that he is the heir of infinite riches he did not create.

When he considers how little he knows of all there is to know. When he understand how the philosopher Will Durant felt, when he wrote on his seventy-fifth birthday: “I feel like a drop of water trying to understand the ocean”

Because he knows so little about so much he becomes teachable, open-minded and flexible. He never stops growing.

Because he realises his own limitations he becomes more tolerant and understanding of others.

The Art of CREATING IDEAS

Man’s greatest freedom is the freedom to think.

Man’s mind has immense scope. “The mind”, wrote Lewis Mumford, “is a power station, a storage warehouse, a library, a theatre, a museum, a hall of archives, a court of justice, a seat of government.”

The Art of TOLERANCE

Tolerance radiates good will. It disagrees agreeably. It unites men in spirit even though they are a thousand miles apart in their convictions.

Tolerance refuses to hate. Booker T.Washington put it well when he said, “I will not permit any man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”

The Art of COMMON SENSE

Common sense is pragmatic. It is what William James called “the cash value of an idea” It is a method that works, a truth that can be applied.

The Art of CRISIS

Crisis is challenge. It can challenge you to create a new life. Out of disappointment and defeat, out of illness and despair you can find victory.

Crisis is a test and those who meet it and overcome it become stronger in the process.

Crisis is your chance to meet a problem head-on, wrestle with it and win.

The art of a crisis is to meet each new crisis with a heroic spirit.

The Art of MIRACLES

Out of a block of ivory, Pygmalion chiselled the form of a beautiful woman, Galatea. As he worked with the inspired zeal a miracle happened. Galatea cam to life!

Work miracles with praise. Appreciations accelerates accomplishment. Men go on to bigger things when they are made to feel that their work is worthwhile.

Work miracles by painting visions. Help men to see themselves as the men they can become.

Promising careers have been abandoned because men were afraid. Cheer people on. Instill courage in their hearts.

The power of a good example is greatest miracle-working power of all.

The Art of EDUCATION

Grow from what you are into what you desire. Live to learn and learn to live.

Grow in all directions. Cultivate the whole man. Develop a desire for goodness, an eagerness for knowledge, a capacity for friendship, an appreciation for beauty, a concern for others.

Grow an inquisitive mind. Remember the Chinese proverb: “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes, he who does not ask a question is a fool forever.”  You can learn from everyone and everything.

Grow in awareness. Keep the channels of your senses alert to all that goes on outside of you.

Grow in new directions. Do not stagnate in the back-wash of outworn tradition. Respect the past, learn its lessons, then be alive to inquiry and change. Explore new areas and ideas.

Grow! Man is never finished. Man never arrives. Education never stops.

The Art of JOY
The art of joy is having a love affair with life.

It is looking for the joys that come in small, precious packages and making the most of them, knowing that big packages of joy are few and far between.

The Art of TALKING TO YOURSELF

More important that what others say to him is what he says to himself. A man’s life is shaped by the way he habitually talks to himself.

A man can transform his life by switching the emphasis of his inner conversation to words that lift and inspire.

He can talk strength into his backbone so he will have the courage to stand up to life.

He can talk himself into accepting hardships and handicaps and enduring them with a gallant spirit.

He can talk himself into seeing his duties and responsibilities in a new light – as opportunities and privileges.

He can talk to himself about the beauty, glory, and wonder of life so it will glow with a new radiance.

He can talk to himself about his dreams, hopes and aspirations. He can convince himself that there is a place for him and an important work for him to do.

“Nobody”, wrote Cicero, “can give you wiser advice than yourself”

The Art of DECISION

Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made nothing happens.

Decision does not straddle the fence. It takes a firm stand on one side or the other.

Decision can lead to the mountaintop. It can also cause a man to fall to the valley below. But without decision no mountains are climbed.

Deciding to delay making a decision can be a decision in itself. Many times it is best for one calmly and expectantly to “wait on the Lord” until more light comes.

Decision often concentrates resolve.

Decision awakens the spirit of man. It gives him a goal, a purpose, a reason for being alive…The great decision comes first, the great work follows.

Decide now who you will serve. Decisions is the first step toward going somewhere.

The Art of THE GREAT LIFE

It is great to be alive to the best in life. To be alive to only material possessions and goals is to live in the shallows. Launch out into the deep where the treasures are!


It is great to have a free mind. Break down the walls of prejudice, fear and limitation. Have the courage to think your own thoughts, speak your own mind and live your own life.

In an age of push use the magnetic pull of gentleness.

It is great to multiply greatness. Feed other minds and help them to grow. Guide them in the art of discovery. Inspire others to live great lives.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Snappin' up the elbows

Like some kind of crazed fool, over the course of just three days last week I played tennis, partook in a yoga session, hit the gym three times, went on a 2-hour off-road bike trip and played two rounds of golf. As a consequence of this frenzy of physical activity, I now have annoying tingly, shooting pains in my elbows and am hindered in all physical pursuits.

Further research may be required but on reflection I think a heavy gym session is to blame. I simply used too much weight on the bench press too soon, and also tried to do push-ups with a small jump on the up part of the motion, which can put the elbows under strain if you do it wrong ... which I imagine I did. The self diagnosis is a mild case of 'golfer's elbow' (medial epicondylitis). The key difference to tennis elbow is that the pain is on the inside of the elbow versus the outside.

A review of elbow and joint injuries tells me that rest is crucial and that continuing when experiencing pain is just going to aggravate and prolong the injury. So it looks like any gym exercises involving the elbow are strictly off limits for a couple of weeks, which just about includes everything except leg exercises, shoulder pulldowns, cardio and core work.

As their isn't much pain, ice and ibuprofen is not required, but I have ordered a cheap elbow strap on the off chance that this helps by transferring some of the strain further down the arm.

In addition, there are a whole bunch of recovery exercises I'll be doing (see below), along with this yoga activity which seems to have helped quite a few people.

Hopefully the diagnosis is correct and these sensible measures all help. I'll be finding out soon enough..

---

Here are some stretches from a site called the Summit Medical Group that look like they are worth trying:

You may do the stretching exercises right away. You may do the strengthening exercises when stretching is nearly painless.

Stretching exercises
  • Wrist active range of motion: Flexion and extension: Bend the wrist of your injured arm forward and back as far as you can. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Wrist stretch: Press the back of the hand on your injured side with your other hand to help bend your wrist. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Next, stretch the hand back by pressing the fingers in a backward direction. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep the arm on your injured side straight during this exercise. Do 3 sets.
  • Forearm pronation and supination: Bend the elbow of your injured arm 90 degrees, keeping your elbow at your side. Turn your palm up and hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly turn your palm down and hold for 5 seconds. Make sure you keep your elbow at your side and bent 90 degrees while you do the exercise. Do 2 sets of 15.
Strengthening exercises
  • Eccentric wrist flexion: Hold a can or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm up. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15. Gradually increase the weight you are holding.
  • Eccentric wrist extension: Hold a soup can or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm facing down. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15. Gradually increase the weight you are holding.
  • Grip strengthening: Squeeze a soft rubber ball and hold the squeeze for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Forearm pronation and supination strengthening: Hold a soup can or hammer handle in your hand and bend your elbow 90 degrees. Slowly turn your hand so your palm is up and then down. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Resisted elbow flexion and extension: Hold a can of soup with your palm up. Slowly bend your elbow so that your hand is coming toward your shoulder. Then lower it slowly so your arm is completely straight. Do 2 sets of 15. Slowly increase the weight you are using.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Book Quotes: The Art of Living Treasure Chest by Wilferd A.Peterson (part 6/7)


The Art of WORDS

The dictionary is full of words. It is how words are used that makes the big difference.  Words can lift us into heaven or lower us into hell….”Good words anoint a man, ill words kill a man”, wrote John Florio.

The art of words is to use them creatively, to select and arrange them to inspire the mind, stir the heart, lift the spirit.

Words are symbols of man’s finest qualities. Words such as valiant, radiant, triumphant, vibrant, heroic…These are words to live by!

The Art of ACTION

The greatest truths of God and the mightiest ideas of man remain static and unfruitful when imprisoned in books and chained to pages of paper.

Your own dreams, hopes, aims, purposes mark the time until you start them marching.

Goethe gave us the magic key: “Only begin and then the mind grows heated; only begin and the task will be completed.”

The Art of LIVING EACH DAY

What we cannot do for a lifetime we can do for a daytime.

“Anyone,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, “can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down”.

Anyone can hold his temper for a day and guard the words he speaks.

Anyone can carry his burden heroically for one day.

Anyone can strive to be happy for a day and to spread happiness around.

Anyone can radiate love for a day.

Anyone can rise above fear for a day and meet each situation with courage.

Anyone can endeavour to learn something new each day and mark some growth.

The supreme art of living is to strive to live each day well.

The Art of BECOMING RICH

The art of becoming rich is simply to live richly in body, mind, heart and spirit.

You become physically rich when you have rich sensations:  When your senses are alert and attuned to life so that the very fact of being alive takes on new dimensions and simple experiences have new meaning...

You become mentally rich when you think rich thought: When you immerse your mind in the noble thoughts of men, preserved through the ages in books, when you are curious to learn all you can about the world and its people, the earth beneath your feet and the farthest star in infinite space; when you develop an appreciation of beauty in painting and sculpture, poetry and music; when you expand your mind to encompass great ideas’ when you use the magic of your mind to create and serve…

You become emotionally rich when you have rich feelings.

You become spiritually rich when you discover the richness of the kingdom within: When you have a consciousness of the oneness of all life, when you experience kinship with nature….

The best definition of a rich man is a man with a rich self. What a man is, now what he has, is the measure of real wealth.

The Art of STAYING HOME

A home should be a stockade, a refuge from the flaming arrows of anxiety, tension and worry.

Stay at home to let go. Drop your cares. Learn the satisfaction of doing as you please. Let time slip by without a thought of the future.

Stay home to find happiness. Realise the wisdom of simplicity.

Stay home to prepare for tomorrow, that you may go forth as a new person, with a new spirit, to meet triumphantly the challenges of the outside world.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Act quick for a good H&M offer

You can currently stack the following promotional codes at the clothing store H&M:

1693 - for free delivery
1304 - £5 off when you spend £11 or more (you may need to buy something from the sale section for this code to work)

There's nothing quite like a good bargain to start the bank holiday!

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

At the start of the year I challenged my grey cells to memorise a poem, and after a good bit of searching around I settled on "If" by Rudyard Kipling. It is a wonderful poem and is one of the nation's favourites. Scroll below the poem to view some excellent recitings by the likes of Dennis Hopper, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel!


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!







The ephemeral moment of golfing glory

A few days ago, I reported on a personal best in my golf game. Well, I've just had another round where I scored an abysmal 50+ on both the front 9 and back 9. Drives were wayward, irons were scuffed, and several short putts were missed. To make matters worse, I also 'donated' half a dozen balls to the course. Ah, the game I love and know.

Here are some of the 'special' factors behind my record round, noted for posterity:

  • Gym training just before the round, strengthening core stability (positive)
  • Under dressed, wearing a single layer polo-shirt in cold evening conditions (negative)
  • Forgot to bring golf spikes, leaving me to wear my less stable trainers on the course (negative)
  • Stepped into a big puddle, resulting in a soaking of my foot (negative)
  • Heavily waterlogged course, knocking yards off our drives and irons but also making the greens more 'controlled' with a less 'glassy' feeling (positive and negative)

What is your baby really thinking?


Saturday, May 03, 2014

Interrupting the book quotes series with a golfing personal best


I managed to score a personal best (45) on the back 9 at our local golf course (par 36) this evening, with five pars, a few bogeys, and a mare of a final hole (took a 9) which I'd like to pretend never happened!

It's difficult to say what drove this rare bout of relative consistency. Having just been to the gym, I felt a bit more innately powerful and controlled than usual (did the cable wood chop exercise help?), and my mind was also less lofty in its ambitions and zest, allowing me to get on with the basics. Of course, had I blown out in the round I would have find a way to blame these very same factors. The reality is I don't know what elements were casual here, so may just have to resort to superstitious ritual following, hoping for a repeat performance!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Book Quotes: The Art of Living Treasure Chest by Wilferd A.Peterson (part 5/7)


The Art of WORK

Work brings man to life, sets him in motion. Work is man in action, doing things. Nothing happens until people go to work. Work creates the world we live in.

It is abolishing the concept of work as chains and slavery, and seeing it as freedom to create and build and help.

It is discovering the great healing power of work. If you are lonely…work! If you are worried or fearful…work! If you are discouraged or defeated …work! Work is the key to happiness.

It is making your work you. It is putting the stamp of your unique personality into your task. It is making your work a reflection of your faith, your integrity, your ideals.

The Art of LIVING FOREVER

No man stands alone. Through all centuries of recorded time, men have set into motion influences that affect your life today….

As you throw your influence on the side of the good, the true and the beautiful, your life will achieve an endless splendour.

The Art of CHANGING YOURSELF

You cannot climb a hill by thinking downhill thoughts. If your world is gloomy and hopeless, it is because you are gloomy and hopeless. You must change your mind to change the world.

Change demands self-discipline. Command yourself and do what needs to be done.

Change requires the substituting of new habits for old.

The Art of FREEDOM

Freedom is a personal thing.

Freedom is a ladder, but you must climb it.

Freedom is an open door, but you must walk through it.

Freedom is yours now, this very minute, and what you do with it is up to you. You can aim at the highest goal.

The Art of LOAFING (equivalent to mindfulness?)

It is reminding yourself of the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise that you may know that the race is not always to the swift, that there is more to life than increasing its speed.

It is slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a book.

It is using your hands to plane a board, paint a picture or plant a garden.

The art of loafing can add dimension and scope to your life. It can change your perspective and renew your spirit. Just as rests and pauses are a part of great music, so are they also a part of great living.

The Art of GETTING ALONG

He learns that a man’s size is often measures by the size of the thing it takes to get his goat…that the conquest of petty irritations is vital to success.

He learns that carrying tales and gossip about others is the easiest way to become unpopular.

He learns that giving others a mental life by showing appreciation and praise is the best way to lift his own spirits.

The Art of WALKING

Walking exercises the whole man.

Walking exercises the body. It gives the arms and legs a workout. It stimulates the flow of blood, expands the lungs. It is gentle and relaxing.

Walking exercises the mind. It shakes up the brain cells. It fills them with oxygen; drives out the cobwebs. A famous scientist says he does his best thinking on the two miles of sidewalk between his home and his office.

Walking exercises the emotions. It gives you a chance to observe and enjoy the world. Open your eyes to beauty. See the homes, the trees, the gardens. See the shining faces of little children. Listen for church chimes, signing birds and the laughter of happy people.

Walking uplifts the spirit.

Walk with the sense of being part of a vast universe. Consider the thousands of miles of earth beneath your feet; think of the limitless expanse of space above your head. Walk in awe, wonder and humility.

Walk in all kinds of weather. Experience the glory of Earth coming back to life in springtime; the warming rays of the sun in summer; the zest of October’s bright blue weather; the rugged desolation of winter. Walk in the rain and in a blizzard.

Walk alone mostly, but if with a companion, choose one who knows the secret of quietness.

The Art of EMPATHY

Through empathy a man learns not to judge others in terms of how own personal interests, likes and dislikes, but in terms of what life means to them.

Practicing the art of empathy will enlarge a man’s life.

It will broaden his humanity, expand his understanding and inspire tolerance and forbearance, compassion and forgiveness.

The Art of BEING HUMAN (is)

To accept life as it is and go along with it, bravely trying to change what needs to be changed and serenely adapting myself to what cannot be changed.

To admit that, being human, I am bound to make mistakes, but to make as few as possible and to try to avoid making the same mistake twice.

To recognise the frailties and foibles and of human nature and to try to be everlastingly patient, forgiving and understanding.

To admit that, being human, I often fail to live up to my own philosophy, but to keep trying nevertheless. 

The Art of LISTENING

Listen to the good. Tune your ears to love, hope and courage. Tune out gossip, fear and resentment.

Listen to the beautiful. Relax to the music of the masters; listen to the symphony of nature – hum of the wind in the treetops, bird songs, thundering surf.

Listen critically. Mentally challenge assertions, ideas, philosophies. See the truth with an open mind.

Listen creatively. Listen carefully for ideas or the germs of ideas. Listen for hints or clues that will spark creative projects.

Listen to yourself. Listen to your deepest yearnings, your highest aspirations, your noblest impulses. Listen to the better man within you.

Listen with depth. Be still and meditate.

The Art of MATURITY

That is never wise to become too elated or too discouraged. As Robert Louis Stevenson suggested, we should strive to “go on in fortune and misfortune like a clock in a thunderstorm”.

..It is wide to live a balanced and varied life without permitting anyone or anything to enslave us.

That we must learn to distinguish between the important and the unimportant. Then trifles will not trip us up and we can devote our lives to the meaningful and the significant.

The Art of SIMPLICITY

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” wrote Thoreau. “I say let your affair be as one, two, three and not as a hundred or a thousand”.

The art of simplicity is to simplify.

Simplicity is a mark of greatness. “To be simple is to be great”, wrote Emerson. Only little men pretend, big men are genuine and sincere.

Simplicity uses little words. It practices the wisdom of Lincoln, who said, “Make it so simple a child will understand it, then no one will misunderstand.”

Simplicity is the arrow of the spirit.

The Art of MEMORY

Tomorrow’s memory depends on today’s impressions. The art of memory is seeking impressions that will enrich your life.

Your memory builds your personality, your personality builds your character, and your character determines your destiny.

Memory is a form of immortality. Those you remember never die. They continue to walk and talk with you, their influence is with you always.