Got lower back issues?

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If you sit or stand for long periods of time, your back probably gives you trouble now and then. Or maybe all the time. Or maybe you don’t have to sit or stand for long periods, but your back hurts anyway. Or maybe you run a lot, or lift heavy stuff, or you’re just plain very active. Whatever the situation, if the pain is in your lower back, a product called BaxMax promises to give that area the support that could give some relief.
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BaxMax super-supportive, breathable

The BaxMax is a support device that adjusts to fit around your waist and over the top of your hips. It’s “Power Unit” consists of two discs connected to each other by strong extendible drawstring-type fiber strands. You open the space between the two discs and position it so that the discs are situated with your spine right between them. Then, when you pull the belt snug and connect it with the hook-and-loop closure, the two disks push firmly against the muscles that help support your spine and the front compresses your belly muscles.

Growing up, I remember seeing a strange-looking contraption hanging on the hook on the back of our bathroom door. I remember staring at it for long periods of time while I took a bath or did my kid business. Never asked anyone about it – figured it was some grownup thing I probably wasn’t supposed to know about. Years later I found out one day that it was a sacroiliac support device my dad used when he was working on his milk truck, lifting and pulling and pushing hundreds of pounds of milk bottles and cottage cheese cartons around inside the truck, onto the heavy wheeled hand truck, into the little neighborhood stores and then switching them out for outdated items in his customers’ refrigerated cases.
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My dad’s back device was made of stiff gray cloth and bloomed with what seemed like a mad array of straps and belts. The BaxMax is a much sleeker device, and you don’t have to sport baggy striped overalls like my dad did in order to wear it under your clothes. Of course, you can wear it outside your clothes in situations where support is more important than sleek lines.
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I don’t have any back issues but hoped it would enhance my ability to maintain proper posture while sitting for long stretches at my computer. It was helpful for brief periods. I then asked a friend who has back issues to try it. She is extremely pleased – appreciates the support she gets from the two disks on either side of her spine. Wore it under her dress to a party and loved the relief it gave her. She was also very happy that the material was so breathable. She said her previous devices were rubberized, and she was forever having to change her shirt when she wore them because she got so sweaty.
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Here is an interesting review of the BaxMax on a website that talks about how back support devices work. It says don’t use any belt if you’ve never had a back injury, but that the BaxMax can be very helpful immediately after a back injury or to support your spine while lifting heavy objects (no heavier than you could lift without a belt). Available from BaxMax, the manufacturer, via Amazon at ~$70.
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2 books on improving Boomer bodies

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As we mature into our 50s and beyond, decades of hunching over computers, staring down endlessly at cell phones, and otherwise inadvertently abusing our muscles, tendons and joints, can begin to take a toll. Many of us develop, as a result of too much hunching, a kink in our posture that bodes no good. But, like the 85-year-old stooped-over woman who discovered yoga and regained her properly aligned spine, there are things we can do to rectify the situation no matter how late in the game we start.
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Agreed recently to review a couple of books by Dr. Karl Knopf, a professor of health and fitness for older adults and the disabled. For 40 years he’s worked in multiple areas ranging from personal fitness and therapy to consultation, plus he developed the “Fitness Educators of Older Adults Association” to guide trainers of older adults. Now he’s writing an ongoing series of books on fitness and health topics for older adults.
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Surprising help in this book

Stretching for 50+ is one book in Knopf’s series. I took it with me one day to a place where I had to sit and wait for a long time, which gave me plenty of time to pay serious attention to trying the exercises. The biggest surprise was the stretches relating to posture.

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A family friend who’s a doctor came up to me one Sunday while I was helping my daughter prepare family dinner and said, “I’m worried about you grandma. Your shoulders are getting rounded.” Now this friend is not only a doctor but is also a former personal trainer. So you can bet she doesn’t prescribe drugs if stretching and exercise will solve the problem. She said there was a solution.
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She taught me an exercise that I’ve been working on. But when I read this book, I learned there’s more that can and should be done. It describes stretches to help remedy the situation – whether your poor posture comes from working on a computer all day or using your cell phone for texting and typing emails, which tends to lead towards the “head forward” problem.
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Sensible ways to strengthen bones and and prevent falls

And Dr. Knopf has also written a book called Beat Osteoporosis with Exercise that features low-impact stretches and exercises designed to improve posture, build bone density and increase strength and flexibility – all of which can help prevent falls in the first place.

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Each book includes hundreds of photos so it’s easy to see how the moves are done without having to read an inordinate amount of text. No matter how old you are, you can benefit from incorporating even some of these exercises and stretches into your routine. Remember, this stuff deserves just as much a place in your schedule as all the things you do to keep your mind strong and nimble.
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Time-Life Carol Burnett DVD – Best of Harvey Korman

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Best of Harvey Korman

Reviewing the Time-Life DVD of the Carol Burnett Series: Best of Harvey Korman (a Chicago kid) –  and herewith a  bunch of quick observations so you’ll get a feel for it.

Amazing to see Sid Caesar so young and tall and slender with such broad shoulders – and all that hair! I only remember him as being kind of bald and old. And those fabulous sound effects he produced. He looked smashing in a tuxedo and a black bowtie and a beautiful tuxedo shirt. Never knew the guy looked so good.
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In so many skits Carole is constantly mooning over the young and handsome Lyle Waggoner, the sexy member of the cast.
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And then came a young Ella Fitzgerald, singing Day In, Day Out. In a fabulous sequin-topped gown with a long, artfully designed black satin bottom. She had to lip-synch to a recording of her songs because the musicians were on strike. What a diva. What a voice. What a talent.
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Harvey Korman dressed as a fabulous cross-dressing star. In the same outfit as Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence. With sparkly black trimmed with red ostrich. He does the rehearsal of the number and he’s even sexier than they are. And, as the maid, there’s the star Isabel Sanford who played Weesy in The Jeffersons.
The 1940 bombing of London skit is precious and classic.
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In one skit Carole plays Mae East, sexiest star of all time. Harvey Korman interviews her. She’s so good. And Korman is a great straight man. She treats the Lysle Waggoner character like men typically treat a sexy woman. Truth is funny.
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The skit about the first family is charming. Korman plays the president addressing the nation from San Clemente in his California shorts. Carol Burnett is the president’s wife, and Vicki Lawrence is the mindless blonde daughter.
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Lots of musical numbers with fabulous costumes featuring tons of sequins and oodles of ostrich feathers. A lot of silly fun. OMG, who knew that Bernadette Peters could tap dance? LOL!
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The waterbed skit with Carol and Tim Conway is hysterical. The one with him and Vicki as the hot chick trying to rob the bank is priceless. And there are lots more. Get this fun trip back in time for $10.64 on Amazon as of this writing. Good gift idea for a fellow Boomer.
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