Monday, May 21, 2012

Father's Day Pick: Drop Dead Healthy

Drop Dead Healthy
by A.J. Jacobs
Simon & Schuster
402 pages with extensive index

Just in time for Father's Day, this gem of a self-help book will have fathers rolling on the floor laughing--it may be the best exercise yet. A.J. Jacobs, best-selling writer and editor at large of Esquire Magazine, takes on the topic of good health and turns it into a laugh riot. He tackles each body system with a passion reporting his findings in this very funny self-help book. This is the perfect gift for any man in your life: brothers, uncles, fathers, husbands and sons. Any male who is trying to improve his health will appeciate Jacobs' dry wit.

When he begins his experiment, Jacobs has a middle age paunch and tries never to exercise. He devotes almost a year to reading self-help books and hooking up with experts, gurus, doctors, and wacky individuals whose ideas run the gamut: the Caveman Workout, the Running Barefoot Movement, acupuncture, self-massage, chewdaism, relieving stress, and conquering noise pollution.

Jacobs tries everything. He spends a week trying out each new exercise or diet regime. He even tries to sleep with a mask that helps people who suffer sleep apnea, and he records his findings in this book inluding how many miles he's racked up on his treadmill "desk"--he writes the book while walking on his treadmill--how many pounds he's lost/gained, and he even records hours of sleep he gets each night.

To give a snapshot of the extensiveness of his research, here is a partial list from the index:

aerobic exercise, 348
brainpower, boosted by, 174-5
for eyes, 329
for Finger Fitness, 305-7, 309
in guerrilla exercises, 353-54
longevity linked to, 44-45
schedule for, 33
slow fitness vs., 158-61

When Jacobs goes to meet Paul McGlothin, director of research for a non-profit group, Calorie Restriction Society, he says,

"He's skinny, but not the POW skinny I was expecting. More like lead-singer-of-an-emo-band skinny." Funny, right? His observations are spot-on and comedic.

Jacobs spends three hours in Central Park "huffing and puffing" and acting like a Caveman with a few other New York exercise enthusiasts. He decides to give up on the Caveman regime after meeting over-achiever Caveman Vlad.

I learned a lot about health and healthy ideas from this book, and I was entertained the entire time. When was the last time you actually laughed about calories, dieting and exercising?

From "The Ten Best Pieces of Food Advice I've Gotten All Year":

"Don't eat white stuff unless you want to get fatter.
Make it crunchy.
If you are going to eat meat, make it a side dish.
Protein and fats for breakfast.
Eat your colors.
Buy a steamer."

Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy today. You'll spend hours laughing with and at A.J. Jacobs.

Highly, highly recommended for anyone with a sense of humor who is interested in health, nutrition, exercise, and good plain fun. Recommended for health and fitness collections.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I bought this book after reading about it in a magazine aboard a Southwest flight. I purchased it for myself.

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