One of the questions that I get asked pretty constantly is how I am able to keep surfing most everyday at my semi mature station in life. In other words, “How does a geezer like you stay out there all the time?” I should preface this to say that it is normally other geezers who are asking this question. When you are young you don’t even think about it, you just do it and there are little or no physical consequences. Geeze, I remember being able to surf all day, like 10 hours, and then woof down a half gallon of ice cream before heading to the dance. Hahaha, ok I just realized that sounded just like the “and I walked ten miles through the snow to get to school and didn’t even have a pair of shoes to wear,” kinda thing. But, you get the idea. When you are 20 your body just keeps going and you don’t think about it. When you get a bit older you start to get sore, your body aches, you get tired and you start feeling like it might be a good idea to “take a recovery break today.” I see guys missing really good days because they are sore and their body just hurts too much to give it another go. This is something I try to avoid as I hate missing good days. At my age you don’t want to miss anything, I mean ya just never know.
So, here is my little guide on how to keep an older surfing body in tune so that you can surf as much as possible without pain. First off, don’t let yourself get fat like I am because it makes it that much harder on yourself. I must like it to be hard because I stay fat, but I really do not recommend it. One key to staying in the water is to pace yourself time wise in the water within what you feel good with. Sometimes it is not so much how long you surf but more how hard you surf while you are out there. If you go out and sit there for 2 hours and only ride a few waves, socializing and trying to pick up babes, it’s not as much of a workout as if you surf hard for one hour, riding a ton of waves and going for it. Know your threshold as far as endurance. It is when you push past it that your body really gets angry and you pay the price afterwards. When you start getting noodle armed it’s time to go in.
Secondly, it is super important to stay hydrated. Make sure you drink some water before you surf and have some on hand after you get out. Even though you are in the water your body needs fluids. This is especially true when surfing in the tropics or warm climates. Coffee, cokes, beer and all that stuff does not hydrate you, just the opposite. Drink a lot of water or some sort of hydrating drink like Gatorade etc. This is very important to muscle recovery. If you get a lot of cramps it never hurts to take a pinch of salt here and there too.
I am a firm believer in massage and I think the older you get the more important it is to help your body come back from strenuous activity, like surfing. It also helps get your body ready for it, much like stretching and yoga. A massage a day can work wonders on keeping you surfing. Of course for most people getting a massage everyday is impossible, either for the expense or just the time it takes out of your day or night. Years ago I got one of those great massage chairs that you sometimes see in stores and like to sit in and wish you had one at home. It is a HUMAN TOUCH massage chair that is made by a company called; you guessed it, Human Touch, out of Long Beach. It feels like a real person and it is fabulous. A few minutes in the morning just before I paddle out to loosen me up a bit, a short sesson after surfing and 15 or 20 minutes in the evening is a perfect massage chair daily regime. I can’t even come close to telling you how great this is for my old geezer body and I strongly recommend one.
If you want to stay in the water as much as possible and you are middle aged or older you might want to consider my little suggestions here. If you feel good you keep the stoke. And if you have the stoke then you paddle out. Simple deal.
In this segment of Keeping It Real, real-life customer Christopher shares a detailed review of his new Novo XT Massage Chair.
"I purchased this chair to replace an Osim iMedic 380 that was very worn. At almost ten years old it still worked perfectly, but the vinyl covering was ripped from heavy usage. When I started researching a replacement chair, I learned that some of the newer chairs have an L-track which allows the chair to massage the glutes. As a cycling enthusiast, I decided that my new chair should have this feature as I had always wished my old chair could do this.
Although I had read that the Japanese chairs tend to be a bit more sophisticated and of better quality, I had to rule them out as they don't have this feature or foot-rollers—another feature I wanted. Given that my previous Chinese-made chair never had technical issues, I don't consider this overly risky. I settled on the Novo XT as it was the only chair to my knowledge that had a 3D L-track at the time of purchase. I did not try the chair in-person before ordering.
Following are some of my opinions of the Novo XT. Keep in mind that I also get weekly massages from a massage therapist, so my standards for massage are high.
The chair looks good and seems well-built. In my opinion (very subjective) it's the best looking massage chair I've seen. That may not be saying much, though, as I think massage chairs are pretty ugly as a whole. This, at least, is not an ugly chair. The upholstery is tasteful and convincingly leather-like. Definitely a step-up from the vinyl-like material on my previous chair. Hopefully it will be more durable as well.
The L-track does not reach the upper hamstrings, but it does reach the upper to mid-buttocks. You get a decent glute massage with the Novo XT. Additionally, the hip airbags press the IT bands to a certain extent and on some settings can be quite powerful.
Neck, shoulder, back massage is good. It's nice to have the 3D feature which brings the rollers in or out to adjust intensity and as a massage technique. Helpful, because not every user prefers the same level of intensity.
I had initially thought that it was not possible to adjust the intensity for Auto Programs. While this is true for the 3D rollers, I want to mention that adjusting the intensity of the airbags massage (called Cloud Touch on this chair) is possible in all programs, manual or automatic. In fact, Cloud Touch intensity is easily adjusted by pressing the left or right arrow keys on the circular pad of the remote. It's not necessary to enter the settings menu to make an adjustment, although it can be done there as well. In addition, the display does a good job of showing you what the current Cloud Touch intensity setting is.
Although it seems as though the remote allows you to adjust 3D roller intensity with the auto programs, you'll notice in use that after you make a change, the auto program will quickly take over. In other words, if you choose "soft," in the auto program, it won't stay on that level. Now that I've used the chair more, I understand why it's designed this way. When choosing an auto program, the 3D rollers are used at various levels during the massage. At certain times and positions the massage will be deep, and others times it will be soft. This better mimics the techniques of a massage therapist.
In addition to intensity, the 3D feature is used as a massage technique with the automatic and deep tissue programs. The rollers can push into the tissue and not just roll or tap over it to create a stretching or hand-pressing sensation. This chair also has a true 3D mechanism. The effect is not created by simply inflating or deflating the surrounding airbags. Very nice.
Hand/forearm airbags work well. I don't have a lot of experience with these systems, but can't imagine them working much better. They inflate the different zones of the hand, wrist and forearm sequentially which is relaxing and therapeutic.
At first, I did not find the stretch feature to be very useful, but I've been surprised to find that I'm actually using the it. It's not an intense stretch, but I'm starting to like it, nonetheless. The default is to have the leg extension go down when stretching, but I've switched it to go out instead and this seems better to me.
The chair is specified for users up to 6'-9", but at 5'-10", trim and average build, I need to use the second-to-tallest setting for the proper neck height. I'm sure someone taller/heavier can use the machine, but even I find the chair to be a bit more cramped than expected. My understanding is that this is one of the larger chairs, so I'm glad I didn't get one that was smaller.
Calf, leg, foot massage is good. Foot rollers can be a little intense, but adjusting the overall massage intensity in the settings seems to be able to lessen the pressure. This is only possible in the manual program, though. Moving the leg module out with the remote also helps and that's possible at any time with any program.
The chair does not do a body scan before each program. Instead, it allows you to choose your height setting before each program begins. Fortunately, it generally remembers the last setting that was used. I prefer this, as it's faster than having to wait for a body scan simply to figure out your height. You can quickly adjust the back rollers so they don't hit the top of your head or miss your shoulders and you still have the option to change the setting at any time. It takes a little experimenting to figure out your "number," but then it becomes easy.
The chair does self-adjust for leg length which does not take much time and works pretty well. Leg setting is also easily manually adjusted at any time, if necessary. As I wrote above, extending the leg module outward can help if the roller effect is too intense.
To sum up, this chair has the ability to give a very good massage that is relaxing and therapeutic. It is good-looking, sturdily built and the upholstery feels and looks great. The 3D L-track is what separates this chair from most others and it works well to reach the glutes and as an added massage technique. The chair is comfortable while massaging and creates a nice cocoon-like feeling. Used as a lounger, the chair may feel hard and uncomfortable and the cocoon-like design works against it. It's a bit noisy, but not a deal-breaker. Remote control is good when using automatic programs, but just OK when using manual selections. The remote's intensity settings are confusing until you figure out that they're only applicable to the manual program. The remote's display, though, is very good."
-Christopher, Real-Life Cutomer
We work hard to improve the lives of ourselves and our loved ones, so it’s important to consider the rewards of any investment we make, whether it be of our time, our money, or our energy.
As many people look into the purchase of a massage chair, they ask themselves whether the purchase is worth the price. The value of a solution is relative to the individual problem it solves, so let’s examine a few different cases.
Massage for Injury Recovery
Whether you’re an athlete or a “Regular Joe,” physical injuries can lessen both your quality of life and the amount of money in your bank account. Missed work and multiple doctor visits come as an unexpected cost, and you’ll find yourself taking your vacation days for errands that are anything but relaxing. Even with health insurance, missed time from work can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If your injury requires massage therapy, this also means taking a few hours per week to visit a therapist that is likely to only be available during your standard business hours.
Inconvenience aside, the cost for a 1-hour massage is generally $75-$125, which can cost up to $150 when you include a 20% tip. Let’s be lenient and say that your injury requires you to have weekly massages for three months. Your total cost is then $600 for one month of massage therapy. That’s more expensive than the cost to own a Human Touch iJOY Active 2.0 massage chair, forever. Even the most luxury massage chair will have paid for its $8,000 price tag in less than two months of daily use.
Massage for Stress Relief
Our stress responses are actually a primitive survival tool, commonly known as our “Fight or Flight response.” When we sense any type of potentially harmful situation, our bodies produce a chemical reaction that increases our heart rate and tightens our muscles. We are physically preparing ourselves to respond to a threat to our well-being. Small doses of stress can allow us to enhance our focus and performance, but long-term stress puts a strain on our bodies that can actually be harmful. Think about tension headaches, body aches, skin rashes, hair loss, and insomnia. Our modern way of life supplies us with plenty of stress, but we aren’t USING that physical response to run, fight, or otherwise exert that energy. Our bodies pump the adrenaline through our systems and it manifests itself as physical strain.
Aside from the same inconveniences of missed work that we mentioned in the previous example, bear in mind the effects that these ailments have on quality of life. Yes, you’re missing work. But, more importantly, you’re missing life. You’re missing play time with your kids, enjoying your weekend bike rides, and waking up refreshed and energized each day.
Some stressors can be avoided, but others can only be managed after they happen. That’s where meditation, exercise, and massage can make all the difference. Calming your mind will help you to manage stress, and easing the tension in your muscles through exercise and massage can save you from emotional, physical, and mental anguish.
Massage for Health Problems
We’ve discussed massage for injuries, but what about long-term illnesses or health problems that can’t be repaired in a few months? Those suffering from ailments such as Fibromyalgia or chronic anxiety may require medication that has a multitude of negative side effects. Stress-related skin problems may require topical medications that heighten sensitivity to the sun, making sunburns even more likely (and dangerous) than they already are. Loss of appetite related to depression can mean nutritional deficiencies with long-reaching and hugely impactful consequences.
Massage can help to stimulate blood flow and relax your muscles, allowing your body to better care for itself. Better blood flow means that you can move more easily, with less stiffness or pain. That means that less pain-management medication is required, which means that your mind can perform without medication-associated brain fog. Stress-relieving massage means flare-ups of eczema or acne are less frequent, which means less inconvenience and discomfort. The sleep-enhancing effects of massage mean that your body is better rested, more able to repair itself, and better charged to handle the small stresses that can develop into physical ailments. Your appetite improves, which means your body can be given the nutrients that fight illness and general lethargy.
Self-Care: Is It Worth The Cost?
When making a purchase of any kind, you should always consider whether the product/service is worth the price. But you should also consider the long-term effect of your investment. Some people find it challenging to motivate themselves to drive to work each day, but we do it because we know that it will allow us to create something worthwhile, engage in personal development, and provide for our families. Words like “investment” can make us feel like we’re in a business meeting, but an investment in our health can mean avoiding a hospital room and enjoying the outdoors instead. And a better, longer, more fulfilling life doesn’t come with a price tag.
Human Touch was recently able to show support for the American Cancer Society at the 2016 Relay for Life event. There, we donated two HT-Reflex 2 Foot and Calf Massagers to the team Beautiful Feet, which was captained by 16 year-old Carissa Dahlia. These Reflex2’s were featured in the Beautiful Feet booth at their May 1st event, offering some much-needed relief to its participants.
Relay for Life is an event that raises money for the American Cancer Society to put toward cancer research, as well as patient resources and programs. Beautiful Feet is a chapter of Chapman University’s event, in which the goal of each team was to have someone on the track walking to raise money for cancer for a full 24 hours. Carissa Dahlia also made it her goal to walk roughly 16 miles barefoot, despite the hot cement of the sidewalk route, in tribute to the hardships that cancer patients go through every day. In 2016, she increased that goal to 26 miles.
Carissa’s story is truly inspirational, as this young woman formed her team in memory of her maternal grandfather, Terry Borchard, who lost his battle with Multiple Myeloma cancer in 2014. Borchard had been a missionary and Bible translator in Papua New Guinea for over 40 years, and led a generous lifestyle that inspired Carissa and her family to also lead similar purpose-filled lives. Carissa’s team raised approximately $900 for Relay for Life in 2015, and another $1209 (so far) in 2016.
Here are a few quotes directly from Carissa throughout her experience:
"Once again I have created a Relay for Life team called Beautiful Feet. Last year I walked 16 miles barefoot at Relay for Life. Everyone thought I was crazy. It was hot. We were walking on cement. And yet I had ditched my shoes in our tent. At the time I didn’t have a real answer for why I was walking barefoot, I just knew deep down that I needed to do it. I now have the answer to why. The pain I experienced from walking barefoot on that hot cement for 16 miles was fleeting. Of course it hurt at the time and for a week or so afterwards, but it was nothing compared to the pain experienced by those fighting cancer or any other diseases. The pain I experienced was momentary and my choice. Theirs is not.”
“Walking barefooted reminds me of the real reason that we relay. We relay for the people. The people we’ve lost, the people still fighting, and the future people who might have to hear those fateful words. Relay is not just about the cancer and funding research. It’s about the people who will benefit from that research. The people it will save.”
“26+ miles completed barefoot and I am done walking. Or rather my legs are done walking. So I am reflecting on the reason that I have done this to my legs. Because of my Grandpa, both my grandmas, and countless others, I relay for them. I relay for the hope of a cure, the hope that one day all cancers will be treatable. I relay for love, the love I have for all those I've lost. And finally, I relay to help kick cancer into the past so that no one else has to hear those three words, "You have cancer."
"It has been one week since Relay for Life and my reasoning for walking barefoot has changed so much. As I walked so many more reasons came flooding to me, especially at night with the luminaries surrounding the track. I realized that as you watch a loved one suffer through their treatment you constantly say that you wish you could take some of their pain from them, walking barefoot allowed me to feel as though I had taken some of that pain from them. It also allowed me to physically feel the progression as my legs went from strong to weak to unable to walk. Walking barefoot for me was similar to my grandfather's cancer journey, like Multiple Myeloma, the pain would go away or subside, but it would always come back. I felt really connected to my grandpa during this experience, and while it hurt a lot, I will definitely do it again next year."
Additional details on the Beautiful Feet team can be found on their Relay for Life page here: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/?team_id=1976151&pg=team&fr_id=71676
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