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Somewhat OT: Health Issues

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Scott CarnegieSomewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 4:31:53 am

When I was in my 20's and a full-time EFP/ENG camera op, I was in fairly good shape, quite active in the daily activities that go along with being in the field, running around carrying gear.

Since I became primarily a full-time editor/producer in 2000 I have put on about 20 pounds and have developed some health problems related with that weight gain other things associated with having a more sedentary job. Back problems I've had through the years would prevent me from going back to full-time camera op.

My question is if anyone else has seen this in their lives, what did they do about? I'm in my mid-30's now and the health issues are starting to be more common, which I suspect may be related to the sitting-down-all-day type of work I'm doing now. Obviously the answer is to change job functions, but what do I do when I'm a staff editor?

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Michael HancockRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 11:09:39 am

Start a daily exercise regimen. Even going for a walk every day for twenty or thiry minutes will help.

I also try to get up from my desk every hour to walk a lap or two around the office. It's just enough to get me out of my chair and get some blood moving.


I'll be working late.

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Tim WilsonRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 1:46:47 pm

The same thing happened to me as a I turned 40, a truly miserable time to very suddenly get sedentary. My body was already ready to start spreading, and stopping carrying a BetaSP camera with tripod, batteries and lights into the swamps of the Everglades meant a huge amount of energy dissipated into thin air. I learned a lot of this stuff the hard way, but it worked for me.

Note re: back pain: my wife broke her back, and went through a lot of these same cycles as she recovered. This stuff worked for her too.

To continue Michael's very good advice, start as small as you need to. If you can only walk 2 minutes, do it until you can do more.

As you start to get into a *little* shape from walking around, the new rage is short bursts of something genuinely approaching 110% effort. Even 60-90 seconds, repeated three or four times, of something like running uphill or swimming, will make a huge difference, very quickly.

I've been jumping rope, and pulled off a couple of inches in a month - weight the same, just better shape. When I started, I couldn't even go 30 seconds. Now I barely get 90 seconds before I get wrapped up, but I can unwrap and keep going for another couple of times.

No need to be a hero here. Start with with walking before you do anything else. Start as slow as you need to, build up as you can -- but building isn't the ultimate goal. MOVING is the goal.

What a lot of people experience as back pain is the body reorienting to carry itself with minor muscles as the major muscles get weaker. So I also found that returning to the kinds of weight that I was carrying made a huge difference. That is, carrying a camera is very much oriented toward what is now being called "the core."

Try very slow squats and deadlifts with similar weights -- again, almost certainly starting with NO weight, then building slowly to probably in the 30 pound range, tops. Go slow enough to start that it's more like stretching than "weight lifing." You can pick up hand weights up in this range for a song at a sporting goods store.

All that talk about "the core" comes from Pilates. Look into a class or DVD - even YouTube. Again, do it slow enough that it's more like deep stretching than "exercise." Yoga is worth looking at for the same reason.

I found that my diet had to seriously change. You'll figure out what works for you. I found that gradually transitioning to a vegetarian diet, now vegan when it's practical (better than half the time at the moment). I have a very light frame, and the 50 pounds I gained looked like even more. But I've been able to keep it off for the past nine years, and feel better now than I did then.

(What you may not want to hear: if you're serious about staying in shape, stop drinking. I found that very moderate drinking was costing me 20 lbs./yr. I don't miss meat and dairy AT ALL, but going from 3 or 4 drinks a week to one or two a YEAR was much harder. I won't trade it for how much better I feel though. With both, I'm well past the point of feeling like I gave anything up. I've embraced living longer and feeling better.

Last but not least, spend serious money on a chair. I spent over $1000 on mine. That relieved my pain embarrassingly quickly. I felt like an idiot because I had let money stand in the way of my health -- because once I was no longer hurting (at one point, I couldn't even stand up straight), I was able to do all the stuff I mentioned above. No excuses: spend whatever it takes.

Okay, HERE's the last thing. Do the same with your mattress. You're going to spend around one-third of YOUR ENTIRE LIFE from here on in, and there's no excuse for not spending as much as you need to. I won't tell you how much I spent except to say that it was more than the chair...but again, for both my wife and I, it was the difference between night and day, and the difference between being able to get started or not.

The bottom line is that I'm fitter now approaching 50 than I was at 25. And it took maybe 5 years to get here, starting slooooow.

Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

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Tim WilsonRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:07:18 pm

Speedy follow-ups:

1) re: the bed. Seriously man. Do it.

2) Our household income was maybe $30K when we invested in the expensive chair and bed. When my wife broke her back, she was a student on a teaching fellowship. I was teaching pre-school. Hence my feeling that there are no excuses for investing in your back.

3) You might THINK you need firm mattress because it is what has worked so far, but that's likely because it's the only thing in a certain price range that worked. As you move up, you can be a little more thoughtful. We were SHOCKED at how much better a softer mattress worked as you move up the product line.

Think of it this way. A jeep is fine when you're in your twenties, but it turns out that a luxury car in your 20s is also nice. When you get older, a luxury car is REALLY nice. When you've hurt your back, it's essential. And since we're talking about mattresses not cars, it's an investment in the rest of your life.

4) I'm neither touchy nor feely. In the rest of my life, I'm a shark. A really vicious one. I'm not even very nice.

Still, the vegetarian thing has worked beyond my wildest dreams. I had absolutely no idea how much better I'd feel. And trust me, I'm all about how I feel. :-) If I didn't feel 1000% times better (900% would not have been enough), and wasn't able to keep the weight off for a decade, I wouldn't do it.

Your mileage will vary of course. But along with gradual exercise and money well-invested in my back (okay, and no more drinking), it's a big part of why I'm in better shape than I was 25 years ago.

Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

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Vickie ComrieRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:47:30 am

Great post, Tim. I'm in close to the same boat as your wife--I didn't break my back, but I had a two-level spinal fusion last year that was a huge mistake, and I never really recovered from it. I now have what I believe is arachnoiditis due to either the trauma of the surgery or steroid injections or both, and am struggling, while on Worker's Comp, to get a doctor to concur with me and to treat my symptoms now. I will have to go off WC to get enough money to pay for some tests myself so that I can go back and challenge the Failed Back Syndrome B.S. My doctors failed me by not doing enough medical history and realizing that because of a genetic predisposition to autoimmune problems that I was a very poor candidate for the procedures I underwent. And the sad thing is that all this information is available on the internet, if only they, or I would've done a ton of research beforehand.

So now, at 45, I can only work half-time at best now. I am trying to explore alternative treatments and have had a lot of success for the pain with fish oil and milk thistle, so far. I am trying different things to see if they help, including a change in diet. I have cut down caffeine to a bare minimum, eliminated almost all artificial sweeteners, am working on eliminating glutens too. When I get my settlement I will definitely buy a good chair, maybe a kneeling chair, and a good bed as well for the same reasons you gave.
And I will never trust a doctor again until I have thoroughly explored what others have gone through and consider the worst possible outcomes, weighing that into my decision for any invasive procedure.

I'm really happy for you and your wife, that you have made some serious changes and it's working for you. Thanks for sharing.


Vickie C.

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grinner hesterRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:18:12 pm

For 20 years, with youth and strength, I sat in a dark edit suite pushin' buttons. Now, pushin' forty with a bad back, a bum knee and several years of bodily abuse due to being an adrenaline junkie, I find myself all over the world as a roving hand-held vidiot. What I do to ignore pain is ignore it. After 12 hours of shooting, I fake a grin as if my threshold of pain is not an 8 ona scale from one to ten. The last thing I can afford is folks to think I have any sort of handicap doing my job. Last week found me in a boat crash in the gulf of mexico. I bruised a bone in my shooting shoulder and pinched another nerve in my back. As people on the boat compaired battle wounds, I simply documented them and said nothing.
In typical man fasion, when I get home, that's when I milk sympothy. My wife heals all ailments with love, attention and vast amounts of icey hot. My daughter walks on my back to realign my spine, my boys tell me I kick ass and off I go to do it again.
This method works for me. Miles may vary.
I can tell ya the more ya excersise, the better. Walk a lot, jog if you can. Have as much sex as your wife can stand. Use stairs, not the elevator when not on a shoot. Sit in the sun when chillin'. It simplay aint good for a brother to hang out in a dark suite 60 hours a week every dang week.

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Todd TerryRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:44:50 pm

A couple of years ago, in an effort to make myself move a little, I went out and bought a decent treadmill. This thing is GREAT!... it can literally hold like forty shirts.

But on a more serious note..

As Tim said above, one of my most important pieces of equipment is... my chair.

I slogged for years in a 80-buck chair from the office supply store. I always thought it was fine but anytime anyone else sat in it they immediately screamed "Oh! My! God!"

My general manager Phil finally had enough, and finally convinced me to spend the money to get really good chairs. It was surprising, since I'm usually the one throwing money around on new toys and he's the tight-fisted bean counter. I gave in.

We chunked all the old office chairs, and bought Herman Miller Aeron chairs for all the suites and offices.

The Aeron is the chair you'll see in high-end offices where people have to sit all day. Wildly, almost shamefully expensive... usually a bit over a thousand dollars (although can sometimes be found for less).

And worth every penny. Your body will thank you.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 3:11:49 pm

Simple things:

Skip elevators and always use the stairs where practical. If you eat out for lunch, try to walk to the place as often as you can, instead of driving.

Cut soda and lose a pound a week, as well as improving your dental health. I can't quit it completely, but i won't have a second can until I have an entire can's worth of plain water first. Byt he time the water's gone, I don't feel the need for the second soda any more.

Eat whatever you like, but let no portion of anything be larger in area on your plate than a deck of cards.

My bad back adores A SUPER-FIRM custom-built Verlo mattress and box spring.

Exercise sucks. But exercise with an ipod full of your favorite pumping music sucks less. When I get on the elliptical machine for a 20-minute session, the music takes me away and I don't notice the time passing.

Try tai chi moves during renders. (But not when clients are around.)

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Chris BlairRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 29, 2009 at 2:27:20 am

Todd Terry: A couple of years ago, in an effort to make myself move a little, I went out and bought a decent treadmill. This thing is GREAT!... it can literally hold like forty shirts.

I almost spit out my coffee when I read your post this morning. Funny and true. And those things are dangerous! They have those keys like motorboats...where you attach it to yourself so if you fall down or off the treadmill (or out of the boat), the key pulls out and stops the motor. And wasn't Mike Tyson's daughter killed while playing on one of those things? (a treadmill..not a motorboat).

I find that as I get older (48 now) I don't feel that different physically, but that's another story. We have a running joke around the office that we should be granted honorary degrees in psychology after all the counseling, support and "treatment" we've given worried, insecure clients.

A couple years ago a client called about a project and said: "I just really need to talk this through...can I come over right now? I need to go through everything one more time? I'd feel a lot better if I could just talk to you one more time." This after we'd already discussed multiple storyboards, scripts, and reviewed movies they'd edited on their PC to show how they wanted the video to look and move. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate all that stuff (since few clients even know what a storyboard is), but I find it amazing that marketing professionals need that kind of reassurance of their ideas.

I've literally sat in the edit suite with 4 or 5 corporate "marketing" executives for an hour as they discussed whether they should fade to black or cut to black at the end of a spot. Or whether to put a shadow on the logo on leave it off. Never mind that the video itself was a re-edit of video shot in 1993 and since dubbed and re-dubbed with the original footage having long ago been lost. I don't think a fade or cut to black really mattered at that point. I think these types of things have affected my mental health much more than anything has affected my physical well-being.

Some of it is funny and makes for great conversation, but sometimes it just steals a little bit of your soul!

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN

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Mike CohenRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 3:12:32 pm

Scott - I would say Health Issues are very much ON TOPIC.

Since we are all either independent operators, small business owners or employees of others - health care and its costs are definitely a business issue. The costs are not only insurance and its associated controversies - but perhaps more importantly - the costs of not being healthy.

True, in our line of work, back injuries are common. I used to transport a 70 pound operating room tripod around the country as checked baggage and carry the full size broadcast camera in bulky Portabrace case on my shoulder and onto the plane - not good. Today, while the camera is smaller, the rolling golf case of gear is still 50 pounds and those wheels don't get it in and out of my car. And carrying a HDV camera case with batteries, mics and tapes on one shoulder and a laptop case in the other hand is still pretty bad for your back.

In the past 2 years, I have taken off maybe 2 days due to back pain, and 5 days for flu-like illness. Neither of them are entirely preventable. But prevention is the key to longevity. Here is my strategy, though I may need to bookmark this post for future reference:

1 - Drink a lot - of water that is. On days when I remember to drink two liters of fresh tap water and have a lot more energy after I leave work, am less grumpy and my urine is nice and clear. Hey this is a health topic and I work in a health related field so we don't mince words when it comes to bodily functions. Clear urine = clean plumbing.

2 - Eat on a regular schedule. First have breakfast before you leave the house. If you have a 6am call time or flight, the last thing you want to do is get up extra early and toast a bagel. If I have an early day ahead of me, I sometimes stop on the way home from work and get a pastry or some flavor of bagel that tastes good un-toasted to eat in the car. Also try to have a good portion of liquid in the AM to replenish your body post-sleep.

Eat healthy choices, shop the perimeter of the supermarket. Any food package that says it is healthy might be lying. Low fat pasta? Of course it's low fat, it's pasta. But fat does not make you fat. Carbs make you fat. Fat gives you heart disease. Food manufacturers are catching on to the fact that people are paying attention to what they are eating - that was not always the case.

3 - If you keep food at work try to find something either healthy or a small enough portion that it does not kill your diet. When I was in my 20's I stocked my desk drawer with Little Debbie products and juice boxes. Did not affect my waistline due to my high metabolism, but probably didn't make me any healthier. My parents both have diabetes, so I'd better watch my sugar intake if I know what's good for me.

4 - If you are sedentary a lot, and we all are, there are a few things to do. I agree about the good chair. I'm saving up. Our chairs are actually pretty adjustable, just need extra cushioning.
Try to sit with your back as straight as possible. Those chairs with a lot of levers let you lean way back or have a rocking chair. That's fine if you are playing video games or if you are the CEO. But for long duration computer work, you need all your parts in alignment. Feet flat on the floor, elbows on arm rests with fore-arms angled slightly down from the elbows. Thus the keyboard and mouse should be around the level of your navel.

Another problem with being sedentary is what happens on the inside. Sitting down a lot can cause problems down below. This is another reason to drink lots of water. One coffee a day may be ok, different people react differently to caffeine. I drink a lot of green tea in the winter. Constipation and other problems in that neighborhood can result from lots of sitting. Eat enough fiber to compensate. That should keep you running!

5. Sleeping. We too invested in a nice pillow top bed. My wife and I both sleep with our backs elevated 45 degrees and a good sized pillow under our knees. The pillow behind the back prevent snoring and helps drain the sinuses. The pillow under the knees keeps the spine in alignment which is good for the next day spent in a chair.

6. Exercise. Anything is better than nothing. In the warm weather I try to walk around the building a few times a day, or even into town a 1/2 mile. Even in the winter I will bundle up and go for a jaunt.
But even inside the office, I do a lot of MBWA so I am always in other offices. On days with a hot deadline for FedEx I move even faster.

As for actual cardio or resistance work - I have some dumbells in my bedroom. I'll do a dozen reps in the morning if I think of it. Stretching is very helpful. I ride my bike but not very often and should get more exercise overall. But don't be fooled into thinking you have to workout to exhaustion to keep weight off. When you run for your life, your body thinks it is being chased by a velociraptor and increases cortisol to give you that energy boost. That is not going to help you lose weight but it might improve your muscle tone. And when you eat a lot of carbs, your body thinks you are preparing for hibernation, so it stores that away as fat storage. Then when you don't hibernate or increase your activity level, but keep eating, the body keeps packing on the fat.

In other words, a healthy diet with deliberate food choices, moderation, and regular activity, strenuous or otherwise, is a good idea for all of us. If you have additional middle-aged health concerns like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, then all bets are off - do what they tell you to do.

7. Unplug. Have an outlet for spending time that is not your job. The COW for example - still sitting at a computer but using a different part of your brain. Have a hobby that is not shooting video. I go to the library every 2 weeks and get a suitcase full of books. Fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, travel books, biographies. Keep that brain running. I bought my obligatory economy stimulation 40" LCD television last year, and almost never use it. I also write short fiction and screenplays for my own amusement, but it is not work. Free your mind and the rest will follow.

Mike Cohen

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Tim WilsonRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 4:59:11 pm

[Mike Cohen] "1 - Drink a lot - of water that is."

Very wise to put this at #1, Mike. I agree.

re: DRW and the Aeron - a great place to start. The cool thing is that they were de rigeur in corporate life for quite a while. You used to be able to pick them up on eBay for a couple of hundred bucks. People are getting back to work (yes, really), so those deals aren't as common...but still worth a look.

Note that you'll find a wide range of prices. That's because Herman Miller put out a couple of different versions, at different price points. Even the "bottom" of the line ($600-ish) is wonderful. Do check around.

The one I went with is the Humanscale Freedom chair. Rather than coming from the world of office furniture like Herman Miller (although REAL Herman Miller is hardly what you think of when you say "office furniture" - I don't have anything that nice in my house...besides the bed...), Humanscale comes from the world of ergonomic accessories.

The idea of "Freedom" includes freedom from the kind of careful set-up that most good office chairs require....but the big one for me is that it readjusts itself automatically as you fidget. As soon as I tried it, I realized that a big part of what hurt my back in other chairs is that the chair was forcing me to be as rigid as the chair!! Not good.

Anyway, the Aeron was the chair that sparked a revolution. The Freedom is 2.0. (Leap is another company that has done great things in the second generation.) If you look around, you'll see that we're well into the THIRD generation of ergonomic chair design. As is the way with such things, plenty of folks like me and DRW who are plenty happy with the first 2 generations. :-)

If you have a serious office furniture store nearby (most definitely NOT Office Depot, Staples, Walmart, etc.), it's worth spending a little time trying some stuff out. That's how I chose the Freedom.

Drink lots of water before you go, and when you come back. :-)

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Jon SchillingRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 5:32:00 pm

I've lost 25 pounds so far since May not drinking soda. I also bike 6 the 6 miles to work whenever possible, save gas, is healthy & I'm more awake & don't need my morning coffee.

I saw Shane Ross at the LAFCPUG meeting, (haven't seen him for awhile) & he said "you've lost weight huh"? So it's noticeable.

Jon Schilling | Director of Business Development
CalDigit Inc
phone 714-572-9889 X234
fax 714-572-9881
skype cgijon
office 1941 Miraloma Ave. #B Placentia, CA 92870

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Todd TerryRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 6:23:51 pm

As for getting heartburn over the cost of the Aeron or any of the other high-end chairs... just remember to think of them as an investment and another piece of important equipment. You wouldn't bat an eye at spending $1200 for a piece of video or film equipment.

Also... unlike the office supply store chairs, these not only sit great and help your bod, but they are built to last. My Aeron is several years old now and still looks and sits like it did the day it was delivered. The film lab that we use is full of Aeron chairs in all of their daVinci suites, and I think the last time I was there the colorist told me they were more than ten years old, but still looking new. Also, I can't speak for the chair that Tim has, but mine has a 12-year warranty and I bet his does too.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Timothy J. AllenRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 10:21:53 pm

As you can see, this is a common problem for those who go from production to post production. It's a double whammy as you get older and start spending more time at the desk just as your metabolism is naturally slowing down. The only way to counteract "The Editor's 20" is to find time to get that activity back some other way. The last thing you want to do is go home and watch more TV. ;-)

I suggest that you take up a low-contact sport that you aren't too good at yet, but that you'd like to explore. Pick something that's easy to get started with, but allows you to grow with it as you get better. (i.e. tennis, bowling, rock climbing, swimming...)

Actually, if you can find a way to get exercise in an activity that's social in nature, that's even better - especially if you spend a good portion of time at work editing alone. That way you exercise your mind, body and spirit.

You'll find that not only do you feel better, you get more creative ideas when you are at your desk.

By the way, the Aeron chair is the only piece of office equipment I have that's might be considered a "luxury item". Even though I thought I'd feel guilty for using it, I now consider that it's most likely paid for itself in productivity gains during the two years I've had it. That and a decent bed have made a HUGE difference in my energy and health.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 28, 2009 at 11:26:03 pm

Swimming is good, but just getting in the pool will do wonders for back, knees, hips even if you don't flail like Michael Phelps doing laps. Just being in that water causes you to burn extra calories for heat, even doing nothing but bobbing around.

"Editor's 20"? Hmm, I need to trim more than a few frames off of THAT. :-)

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Bill DavisRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 29, 2009 at 1:00:40 am

One small thing that's working here is I ordered bottled water and a cooler for my studio and then in a moment of clarity, placed it not outside the edit bay for clients - but INSIDE the edit bay - directly beside the doorway - not 4 feet from my edit chair - for ME.

Now I can't head for the refrigerator room without walking past the water cooler.

That change alone has cut my soft drink consumption by 75% - since getting thirsty OR hungry and heading for the refer puts cold, fresh water directly into my line of sight.

We are visual creatures after all.


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Bob ZelinRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 31, 2009 at 2:01:04 am

finding a way to relive stress is very important. Some people find going to the gym and hitting a bag a great stress releaver. Me ? Creative Cow works wonders !

Bob Zelin

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Tim WilsonRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 31, 2009 at 2:17:13 am

I love hitting a bag, and the jumping rope I mentioned earlier is boxing-style. But I really miss getting in the ring. Nothing to clear your mind like getting punched in the face.

It's generally true for me that ANY exercise is a great mental booster: I'm more focused, productive and creative when I'm working out, riding a bike or gardening.

As you can tell, I'm currently doing none of those things.

Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

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Kai CheongRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 31, 2009 at 4:39:57 pm

Great topic!

I hit the gym at least once a week and always work on my back, with deadlifts and pull-ups. Mostly functional exercises, rather than those designed to pump up the vanity muscles. From anecdotal accounts over the Internet, some people who worked out their backs often managed to bounce back quickly from car crashes. So I'm sure for people like us who sit around for hours on end, a strong back could do wonders for our overall health.

We've recently gotten some new chairs which are similar to the fancy ergonomic chairs being talked about... at first, I was somewhat skeptical about such high prices for 'just a chair?'. But now that I've moulded myself into my chair, I could feel the difference.

So strong back + ergo chair = good stuff.

I'm also smoke-free and drink only very occasionally [a drink every few months]. Since we're a small shop, we don't have the 'privilege' of having unlimited supply of coffee/soda/junk food... in fact, we're a pretty health-conscious bunch [including many of the freelancers we work with]. In an industry where it's common that at least one person in the crew goes off for a smoke break every so often, we don't really see that happening on our shoots/edits.

I don't miss not having the 'perks' of unlimited caffeine/booze/candies at my disposable ;] It's always just water at my bay.

Granted I'm only in my mid-twenties and I feel like such a non-groovy monk at times, but I hope to keep at this for long time to come.

FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
Now 'LIVE'! Check Out The Intuitive Films Blog @

At Intuitive Films, We Create: TV Commercials, Documentaries, Corporate Videos and Feature Films
Visit us @
MacBook Pro 2.4GHz | 4GB RAM | FCP 5.1.4 | Mac OS X 10.5.2

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Tim WilsonRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Aug 31, 2009 at 9:18:42 pm

[Kai Cheong] "I hit the gym at least once a week and always work on my back, with deadlifts and pull-ups. Mostly functional exercises, rather than those designed to pump up the vanity muscles"

Great point! I'd add squats to the list - but that's really it. Skip leg presses (no need if you're doing squats), curls (you don't need those muscles to be any stronger than they already are), bench press (ditto), and all the others. Squat, deadlift, chins.

Lazy bastard that I am, I usually skipped the chins. :-)

But nothing like squats and deads to keep your back protected when totin' gear...or sitting. As we're all discovering, sitting can be hazardous to your health too!!

Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

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Bob ColeRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:12:54 am

[Tim Wilson] "Great point! I'd add squats to the list - but that's really it. Skip leg presses (no need if you're doing squats), curls (you don't need those muscles to be any stronger than they already are), bench press (ditto), and all the others. Squat, deadlift, chins."

Tim, a great idea for an article: interview an exercise expert who can give some guidance geared to this business -- both the editors who sit all day and the production folks who have to lift heavy stuff.

Sport recommendation, and don't jeer: indoor badminton. Like squash or racquetball, it's a real workout, but cheaper and not quite as bald-faced aggressive.

Bob C

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Kai CheongRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:19:09 pm

Funny you'd mention badminton, as I was just going to reply to Tim that squats used to feature quite a bit in my routine - until I sprained my ankle (quite badly) playing badminton... On location... With my director.

'A Different Kind Of Editing Exercise' - or something along that line sounds like a great idea for an article!

I remember reading about our favorite editor, Walter Murch, who said that when he's editing a film, he leads quite a simple and healthy lifestyle. Exact quotes are vague to me as it's been some time since I've read The Conversations. But I believe it is also good professionalism to keep your mind & body in good shape because to a certain extent, so much of the work an editor does is in their head & made through a certain process - it will take some time to find a replacement & get the ball rolling again if you fall suddenly.

FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
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Tim WilsonRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:51:48 pm

[Kai Cheong] "Funny you'd mention badminton"

I used to snicker at badminton - especially at my friend in college who used to compete on the university team. On one hand, he looked kind of badass walking across campus in his whites with a couple of rackets under his arm. On the other hand, DUDE, it's BADMINTON!

Guy was totally unselfconscious. Wasn't the least bit defensive. It didn't even occur to him. As far as he was concerned, he was an elite athlete, and that was that. Not the tiniest bit of arrogance.

Then I saw him play. Goodness, he was a demon! Very truly one of the most athletic guys I've ever seen.

Except maybe for the classmate who was an alternate for the Olympic handball team. Handball? Dude, SERIOUSLY? And then I saw him play. Sweetest guy you'd ever want to meet. A beatific smile, genuinely hilarious, humbly spiritual. He became a missionary. Yet, forever after seeing him play, I was a little afraid of the guy.

And it turns out that, aside from squats, jumping rope is the most demanding exercise I've ever done. So there you go.

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Bob ColeRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:49:58 pm

[Tim Wilson] "[Kai Cheong] "Funny you'd mention badminton"

I used to snicker at badminton"

Me too. Until I started playing with a club, and realized that one game of indoor badminton took as much out of me as a set of tennis. And that was when I was playing with the senior citizens in the club.

It's a great, low-impact (usually) sport. The best part of it is that you can play at as low or as high a level as your ability and commitment allow. In international play, the feathered "bird" reaches speeds of 200 mph.

And it's fun.

Back more directly to the health issue: this has been covered extensively elsewhere on the COW, but standing up even while doing desk work or editing helps tremendously.

Bob C

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Charles MercerRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 3, 2009 at 7:15:08 am

There's no easy answer to this one. It seems the body starts to spread in our mid-forties, no matter how careful we are with our diets. I started to gain around the waist and when I realsised the next pants size was going to be 42" I said enough was enough. My son persuaded me to go to the gym and it has really worked for me. I've lost 18 pounds in just over a year with a twice weekly routine. A brief workout with weights plus 1,000 yards on the rowing machine does the trick. But, and it's a big but, you need the personal discipline to keep it going, especially on the days when you just don't feel lke going.

Most people have trouble fitting exercise into a busy routine. The benefits and the feel better factor make it worth it and I regard exercise now as part of my work routine. I just have to get to the gym twice a week - no excuses. And my waist size now? I can fit into a size 38" but wear 40" for comfort, it's a joy.

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Joe HaydenRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 3, 2009 at 2:41:26 pm

I have set two recurrent alarms on my ical (Mac computer) everyday. 1 at 11:00am and 1 at 2:45pm.

It pops on my computer screen and says stretch and walk. Most of the time I actually do it.

7 minutes later I sit back down and get to work... or visit the COW!

I also walk when I play golf. I try to limit the "12 ounce curls" at the 19th hole.




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Dave MortonRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:11:20 pm

You can move more or eat less. I choose eating less. It takes about 3 hours of wrestling to burn about 600 calories or 2 less Snickers bars per day to reduce your caloric intake by the same amount(about 300 each).

I didn't go on any healthy quest, just eat less. The loss was slow yet steady - 40 pounds later I have the energy to do more and feel a whole lot better.

This approach didn't require me to become a new person, just a smaller one.

Here is the plan - You know how much you eat now? Don't eat that much.


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Richard DoleshRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 4, 2009 at 5:36:43 pm

As an editor/designer I have spent some 16 years doing a lot of sitting. In 2008 my whole medical journey started with gallstones. Then a gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy). Then researching vaccines before our daughter's 2 month appointment. (I can't even get into what I found out here but learn of the tremendous dangers before you get a vaccine.) I started to read everything I could about digestion, bile, body’s function and the like.

After reading some good posts to your topic, most of them cover 4 of the 5 critical steps.
I want to stress 3 & 4 ( #5 is way too much to get into here )

1. Diet
2. Exercise (helps eliminate toxins from your body)
3. Reducing Toxic intake (preservatives/ junk food/ mercury/heavy metals/drugs)
4. Supplementing your diet: God's way Herbs/Supplements
5. Faith / Metal imaging / DeStressing

Are you on any medications?
Most of us run for the Tylenol when we get a headache. But to my dismay, the medications I have considered the 'staple' of my health, couldn't be further from the truth. Have you ever heard of wildlife thriving after an oil spill disaster? Think of that picture when you take medications/drugs. I know this is a hard pill to big Phama video/animation productions are some of the slickest in the industry. I have not yet found a drug that is safe: 1. They mask the symptom and create a host of side effects, and 2. They ALWAYS produce Toxicity in your body, that you liver/kidneys need to work harder to clean up your blood, which is dangerous when you body is already in disrepair. But, this is great for Pharma because drugs beget more drugs. Thought: if drugs can make a well person sick, how can they make a sick person well?

This is too much to get into here but, just want to suggest to seek much safer alternative medicine. The problem is: Lack of Information about alternative treatments/supplements.
(The FDA prohibits any type of health claim unless it is a ‘drug’.) But this is changing:
The Bible says: “In the presence of many counselors, there is wisdom” Proverbs 11:14. The trouble is, we don't want to do the work (reading researching, on sites like and other holistic sites) it's much easier to show up for an apointment and have the doc write you a ticket.

I had to overcome tremendous strongholds in my thinking! I used to laugh when a naturopathic doctor would warn about the dangers of sugar—( It has tons of pesticides and suppresses the immune system) because so many of the things we eat have sugar processed into them. When we eat God’s food, (organic foods) our symptoms start disappearing! It become true 'medicine'. See: It's like we live in the Matrix...But some are opening our eyes to America's disease economy:

Tim's post about vegan is good start, I agree, and unless you can get RAW dairy, I would agree with him to stay away from dairy. In the effort of making the dairy safe, they have killed anything that was good in it through the pasteurization process. We live in Ohio and had to buy a herdshare to get raw milk ( It's also a tremendous way to go green) The milk we drink is brimming with living organisms that help digestion...soon I will be making my own kefir. See: Or read here if you really want to get healthy:

Finally, and most importantly, I praise God for being my ultimate healer….science is really starting to catch up to what believers have known all along:

Richard Dolesh

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Phil EastabrookRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 5, 2009 at 8:38:52 am

Is this off-topic? No. Despite our fixation with kit of all kinds, there's one piece of equipment that is absolutely vital to our business survival, and that's our bodies.

There are some great thoughts and ideas in the posts responding to this. One I haven't seen (although I didn't get all the way to the end) that made a big difference to me was simply recognizing this fact and putting aside the guilt that by going out for a run, a swim, a bike ride, or going to the gym I was just indulging myself when I should have been working.

If I add up the hours spent fixing, updating, resolving software conflicts etc (even reading the Cow so I can avoid the mistakes of others - boy, am I glad as an XDCAM user right now I haven't UG to Snow Leopard yet!) then exercising for an hour a few times a week seems like a sensible and justifiable precautionary maintenance schedule.

Also, I used to suffer from bad backs a lot more than I do now, despite the fact that I'm a lot older now. Part of the improvement I think is down to lots of core exercising and stretching.

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Karen FraserRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 5, 2009 at 3:05:08 pm

My friend Jeremy was an online editor for many years and as a direct result developed repetitive strain injury in his wrist. There was nothing he could do about it except leave the job behind. He has now travelled to Australia and is learning permaculture.
take care

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Markus WeilgunyRe: Somewhat OT: Health Issues
by on Sep 11, 2009 at 5:04:03 pm

i guess i'm one of the youngest contributors here. i've had a bit of a bad back since i was a kid – probably the chair topic gone wrong in school :) but now i'm doing well, physically, as well as working freelance.

all the big topics have been covered, and of course sitting, sleeping, moving and eating are the essential points in all of our lives, and everyone is trying to find the best, individually ideal way.

something i've been hearing a lot from colleagues and training partners is that they chose martial arts (tai chi, boxing and pilates have been mentioned here) as a form of staying fit, not only as a means of a physical and mental excercise, but for their complexity:

i spend my day improving my skills in my application or technology of choice, but after work i want to do something different. still, that keenness for improvement and making use of my time remains - so dully doing push-ups to activate a couple of muscle regions is not my idea of good fun.

in martial arts, i get to do all sorts of complex, demanding stuff that is great fun for me at every moment, even when someone is trying to make me cry (reminds me of work). and the good thing? i strain all parts of my body (even those i didn't know existed before), without ever needing to motivate myself to go on for another 100 repetitions.

another absolutely essential question in choosing any sport for me is this: are there people above 60 doing the sport, and are some of them better than their 30 year-old colleagues? if yes, i know i won't be wasting my time and ruining my body.

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