DONALDSON EXERCISE - How to be Healthy and Fit with a Good Sense of Humor

How Roryd integrates mind, body and heart in order to go life's full distance and live like an athlete. As Gypsy Boots so clearly put it, "Don't panic, go organic. Laugh your way to health." As Metallica puts it, "My lifestyle determines my deathstyle."

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States


Thursday, October 15, 2015


"Everyone is an experiment of one," George Sheehan

Roryd sez: I love exercise. To respond to friends and acquaintances who ask about what I do to stay healthy and fit with a good sense of humor, I post these bones and bonuses.
When people come to me with prescriptions about how I should exercise, I sprinkle glass in their running shoes and send them away. I have enough experience to suspect other people's prescriptions. As my Number One exercise guru, George Sheehan, admonished me, "Do not tell me what I should do. Tell me what you do." What I do may suggest some ideas. I hope it does. But keep in mind, it's what I do, not what you should do.
I got turned on to regular exercise during my first Outward Bound course in 1971. I have been exercising, with momentary lapses, ever since. Currently I am averaging 10.5 hours of exercise a week. I know this because I have been keeping count in my exercise diary ever since I joined Weight Watchers March 19, 2003 to accelerate the loss of a few extra pounds of "ugly fat." Were I perfect I'd work out 12 hours a week, but I have excuses and only average 10.5. Here's my current schedule:
Sunday - Rest
Monday - Gentle Jogging 1 hour; light weights and stretching 1 hour
Tuesday - Bicycling 1 hour; light weights and stretching 1 hour
Wednesday - Gentle Jogging 1 hour; light weights and stretching 1 hour
Thursday - Bicycling 1 hour; light weights and stretching 1 hour
Friday - Gentle Jogging 1 hour; light weights and stretching 1 hour
Saturday - Bicycling 1 hour; light weights and stretching 1 hour
I am a "cross trainer." My primary endurance activities are running (mixed with walking) and cycling, and I alternate between these two activities so that I don't use the same muscle groups two days in a row, allowing 48 hours of recovery between similar efforts. I also mix up my activity with rollerblading (I use poles for upper body and balance) and swimming (with fins). Sticking to this "cross training" philosophy, I alternate my weight training between upper and lower-body muscle groups and try to get in plenty of stretching (all of this while simultaneously reaching for another high-fiber oat stout or trans-fat-free chocolate chip cookie).
When athletes tell me they run "every day," or repeat any activity "every day," I wonder why. Experience indicates they would benefit more, feel more energized, have more fun, and reduce injury, by mixing it up. Muscles like about 48 hours of rest between efforts. It is during these rest periods that they actually grow stronger. To insure plenty of time to grow stronger, I take off at least one day a week.
SUMMARY: I average of 10.5 hours of exercise a week: five hours of endurance training; five hours of light weights and stretching. I commonly get my hour of weights and stretching during lunch. I get my hour of jogging and cycling when I get home, either out on the roads or on a treadmill or turbo-trainer. I do not fatigue the same muscle groups two days in a row and intersperse scheduled rest days. My training is based on a "cross training" plan that I have cobbled together from thirty years of personal experience and reading that began with my first Outward Bound course in 1971.

My current reading recommendations include:

Anything by George Sheehan you are able to find
Chi Kung, Way of Power by Master Lam Kam Chuen
Getting Stronger by Bill Pearls
Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot by John Parker
Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness 2nd Edition by Phil Campbell
Stretching by Bob and Jean Anderson
The Energies of Men by William James
Ultimate Fitness by Gina Kolata
Guidelines for Successful Jogging by Rory Donaldson

1) Sheehan, is the connection between mind, body and spirit.
2) Master Lam Kam Chen advises on chi.
3) Bill Pearl's book has a variety of very good weight training routines.
4) The advantage of John Parker's book is that it accurately describes the relationship between pulse-rate and training.
5) Phil Campbell keeps me working hard enough to stimulate the few pituitary secretions I may have left.
6) Bob and Jean Anderson's discussion of stretching is indispensable.
7) This 1907 paper by William James is included because of my desire to pierce the lazy veil of habit.
8) Ms. Kolata confirms the dearth of data that passes as science in the world of fitness and health.
9) I wrote this book when I was the Editor and Program Director for the National Jogging Association, way back in the "golden age" of running and jogging, 1976. "Mother Earth News" has published a great deal of it here, for free. The fundamental recommendations are the same, "If you're going to jog, jog gently."

Keep in mind a couple of tips I learned from Arthur Lydiard, the famed Olympic coach: "To become a strong runner, first become a strong walker;" "Adopt a hard/easy schedule, really mixing it up." With these two tips in mind, nearly everyone has the basics of a great fitness program straight out his/her front door.

These books are recommended because they have all helped me achieve my goals.


  • Health and fitness with a good sense of humor
  • To cross the finish line smiling
  • Play
  • Minimal injury and pain-free movement
  • Triggering Human Growth Hormone
  • Using a whole lotta muscles
  • Staying lean and toned
  • Burning ugly fat
  • Staying young
  • Overcoming diffidence
  • Living like an athlete
  • Enjoying life
  • Realizing my purpose
  • Fun
  • Enlightenment and the courage to fly
My exercise is a secondary source of energy. My primary source is a spark some call "God." The Maharishi calls it "bliss consciousness." Master Lam Kam Chuen calls is "Wu Chi." It's a little positive spark that says "Yes!" to life. As this primary force is realized, the fun, love, beauty and adventure of existence peeks through. In touch with this affirmation and energy I climb Cold Mountain; I optimize my chances; I choose the gifts I have been given; I touch eternity and the infinite; I praise the Lord and am thankful.