23 September 2004

--- Competition, Cooperation and a Healthy Lifestyle

Did you get to watch the magnificent 2-hour conclusion of The Amazing Race last night? I know at least two Filipina bloggers who are Amazing Race fans: Jade-N-Mom and Toni of Wifely Steps. I only began watching it last Thursday over Studio 23 after much prodding from my soulmate who wanted us to watch together. I have never been a reality-show enthusiast, but after watching how Chip and Kim, Colin and Christie, Linda and Karen and Brandon and Nicole poured everything they got in the last two episodes of the show, I became a convert.

For the innocent and the indifferent, The Amazing Race is a reality TV show that features couples with interesting relationships competing against each other in a race that takes them around the world looking for clues and engaging in what may be described as challenging physical activities. They do this for a grand prize of one million dollars.

Unlike other reality TV shows like "The Bachelor," "The Swan," and "For Love or Money," which --- forgive me, for saying this --- are a torture for someone like me with a short attention span, The Amazing Race offers a lively alternative because it is "all about dragging long-term relationships over the red-hot coals of conflict," as Heather Havrilesky of salon.com aptly put it. Those who watched the Philippine episode might still remember how Colin cursed the carabao and shouted disgustedly at Christie when he had that fantastic difficulty of making the carabao move the way he wanted (and they were both from Texas, mind you, where I think there's a lot of cattle).

I must confess that the show is exciting (and I'm hooked now) because it tests the game theory concepts on how cooperation can exist within the context of competition. On the medical aspect, I have also noticed that the couple teams who were eliminated in the race were those who were not as physically fit as the others.

Champions Chip and Kim nearly got eliminated when athletic Brandon easily scaled the limestone cliff, Lagen Wall in El Nido, Palawan. Also, I was huffing with Karen as she stopped in exhaustion when she was I think almost ¾ths to the top of the Lagen Wall. I think even months of bowling --- hence the term: Bowling Moms, were not enough to sustain Karen in climbing Lagen Wall, as persistent and also athletic Colin easily defeated her.

This brings us to my next topic and tip (to win The Amazing Race). If this tip fails to make you win The Amazing Race, I can assure you it can help you achieve a longer life, which, I figure is not too bad a deal at all, right?

Last Tuesday, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) carried a good formula for long life by publishing a study that involved the lifestyle habits of 1,507 apparently healthy men and 832 women, aged 70 to 90 years in 11 European countries [The Healthy Ageing: a Longitudinal study in Europe (HALE) population, the Survey in Europe on Nutrition and the Elderly: a Concerned Action (SENECA) and the Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Elderly (FINE) studies].

In the said study, researchers led by Kim T. B. Knoops, MSc of the Netherlands investigated FOUR FACTORS previously shown to have positive effects on health and their single and combined effects on life expectancy. These FOUR FACTORS and how much protection they give you from death are:
  1. Being physically active - at least 30 minutes of brisk activity daily; this is the biggest single protector against death, with a 37 percent lowering of risk

  2. Being a Non-Smoker - self-explanatory; you know the drill by now; cuts the risk by 35 percent

  3. Having a Mediterranean diet - more on vegetables and olive oil; less on red meat and dairy products; cuts the death risk by 23 percent. For more info on the Mediterranean diet, see this link

  4. Moderate intake of alcohol - about 4 glasses of wine per week, this cuts the death risk by 22 percent

Now, here comes the best part.

According the study, if you have the discipline to combine all FOUR FACTORS as part of your daily lifestyle, you might be able to cut your death risk by as much as --- drumroll please --- 65 percent from coronary heart disease(CHD), cardiovascular diseases(CVD), and cancer. If you are unconvinced, see this and this.

In the same study, among the 1,500 elderly population studied, the researchers found that failure to follow the FOUR FACTORS accounted for:
  • 64 percent of deaths from heart disease
  • 60 percent of all deaths and of deaths from cancer
  • 61 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease
Let me end by using Champion Chip's quote, which you can also see in the right panel of this post: "We work, play, exercise, eat, party, sleep, love, laugh, argue, fuss, and strategize together."

I think there is a 5th FACTOR in healthy living and that is --- happiness. I also think the key word in Chip's quote is "together," and that contributes a lot to one's being happy or not. I might be digressing, but I think it helps a lot to be with somebody when you do something that has 'discipline' and 'healthy' written all over it. Critics, however, will surely debate me on this.

Happiness, after all, is a state of mind.


I got this from Toni of Wifely Steps, who recently discovered the beauty of drinking tea. I have been a tea lover for two years now. This is my first quiz post and it has nothing to do with tea, but what type of flavour will you most likely be, if you were a flavour. Go ahead and give it a spin yourself.

What Flavour Are You? I taste like Menthol.I taste like Menthol.

I am refreshingly different; some people don't appreciate that. My sharp honesty gets up some people's noses, while others really enjoy it. I am something of an acquired taste. What Flavour Are You?

I never imagined I can taste like menthol.

I better ask my soulmate about this.

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