Last March, Tara Parker-Pope wrote in the New York Times about the how the simple push-up remains an enduring symbol of health and vitality. And it reminded me about a really interesting article on geriatrics in the New Yorker the spring before. The New Yorker article talked about how many doctors are so focused on treating the multiple diseases common to old age, they don't focus on some very simple issues that geriatric specialists credit for having enormous impact on senior life. One of those issues, which Parker-Pope addresses as well, is the importance of upper body strength in breaking a fall, and enabling you to get up if you have fallen. (BTW, they still market LifeAlert, the successor to LifeCall, which seared "I've fallen and I can't get up" into my generation's consciousness.) And there's no simpler way for increasing/maintaining your upper body strength, than doing push-ups. In general, I'm not a big fan of home exercise equipment, and can assure you that none of the bodies you see in those infomercials can be achieved with 30 minutes of exercise a day that you can do while watching TV. But it's pretty easy to start doing push-ups, and while you don't need any equipment to do, them, I really like the
Perfect Pushup. It allows you to increase your range of motion, without straining your wrists. But don't buy it today. Bookmark this page, and start doing daily push-ups without it. If on December 1st you've done your push-ups at least three times, order it for $31.96 at Amazon.com.