Focus on the Big 5 & Get Moving
 
Get physical. Know your numbers. Eat a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables. Oh, and put down that Oreo.

June is Men's Health Month so Cincy asked University Hospital's Dr. Robert Wones for his advice to men on staying healthy.

Start early, Dr. Wones urges. "If you are in your 20s, start now. It will get harder. Just build your workout into a schedule and protect it." If you are past that, even well past it, it's not too late to start walking or cycling and watching what you eat.

Focus on what he calls the "Big Five":

Heart disease
Erectile dysfunction
Sports injury
Prostate and bladder issues
Obesity

At age 40-45, "Men start to have the experience of someone about their age dropping dead from a heart attack," Dr. Wones says. It's the number one cause of death among men. No need to wait until you drop over. Exercise. Watch your weight.

"A little bit of low-tech health care is appropriate," he says. Know your numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index. The Centers for Disease Control suggests men analyze them with the same scrutiny they apply to
batting averages and yards rushed. "There is no way, if your DNA has you programmed for high cholesterol, to overcome that with diet. Ditto on blood pressure." Work with your doctor on the best medicine for you and control the risk factors you can influence.

For men in their 50s, erectile dysfunction is a relatively frequent problem and a major concern. High blood pressure and obesity-related diabetes can be factors. "Good overall health is the way to keep it working," according to the doctor.

Sports injuries can sideline you at any age. Knee, ankle, and tennis-elbow injuries are common among younger "weekend warriors" who play hard and tough because that's how they've always played "” five years ago. (Well, maybe 10.) Exercise regularly and don't forget proper training, and you are less likely to injure yourself.

You only need to count the TV ads during prime time and sports to realize prostate and bladder issues are almost universal for men as they age. The best course is to maintain your overall health and follow doctor's orders.

"One issue that I don't think that most men would list, but I would, is obesity," Dr. Wones cautions. It's the ubiquitous factor in cardiac health, orthopedics "” including hip and knee issues, high blood pressure, right down the list. Your metabolic rates change at 40. "Even if you used to be able to eat with abandon. You can't do at 45 what you did at 25."

It's important to make changes to meet the changes "” in your body, your schedule, your metabolism. Dr. Wones calls the 40s "the Decade of Responsibility. Men are pretty involved in their career. They have a family. They may be taking care of parents. That's when they start putting on weight." It figures out to be an additional eight pounds a decade, and those extra pounds can be the result of just a few excess calories a day over time.

So why haven't we learned? Knowing what we know, why aren't we healthy?

"It's not all bad news "” we are healthier in many ways," Dr. Wones says. "There are huge decreases in rates of coronary disease. Decreased smoking. Improvements in medical care. In many cases we are taking better care of ourselves, except for obesity."

When folks lived on farms, diet and exercise were controlled naturally. People ate what they grew and physical labor was automatic. Now we're surrounded by food ads and ready sources of concentrated calories. Dr. Wones adds, "Our entire culture is oriented toward food. Even during sports events, look at the commercials."

"Unlike smoking, we can't quit eating."

He challenges men to find the exercise that works for them and make it an almost-daily commitment. Five days a week is OK, but six is better. By the way, Dr. Wones points out with a smile, "weight lifting is not exercise, it's more a vanity sport." He suggests running, walking, cycling and racquet sports. "Find something that you like or at least you don't hate. Otherwise, it won't happen."
 
- Dianne Gebhardt-French
 

Performance Cars
Muscle Makes a Comeback, But It Wears a Tuxedo
 
Bring up muscle cars in a crowd and there are two predictable reactions: One guy will wax poetic about cams and headers, while another clutches the keys to his minivan and slinks off for another slice of quiche. But the image that comes to mind for both is probably the same:

A fire-breathing, smoke-coughing, rubber-burning, prehistoric heavy-metal monster with a scary name like Barracuda, Sting Ray or Firebird. They come from the almost mythical Golden Age of Muscle Cars "” about 1964-1972.

Those old drag-strip dragons are still available at high-octane prices. But here's the headline: Muscle cars are back "” but they're in disguise. Instead of T-shirts rolled up to hold a pack of Camels in the sleeve, they wear silk tuxedos. And they often outperform the old street racers without straining a fuel-injected muscle.

Some modern muscle cars are obvious throwbacks. But they can talk about fuel economy without blushing.

The new Camaro boasts 28 mpg on the highway with a 306-hp V6. Even in the steroid-enhanced SS trim, with a 426 hp V8, it still gets 24 mpg on the highway.

Ditto for the Dodge Challenger (25 mpg with a 372 hp Hemi V8) and Ford Mustang GT (29 mpg with 305 hp V6).

The ultimate in horsepower-per-gallon is the new Porsche 918 supercar hybrid that gets 78 mpg with more than 700 hp.

Old-school muscle cars with big-block V8s guzzled gas like frat boys at a kegger "” and often had less horsepower. The fabled 1964 Pontiac GTO was 325 hp. The 1967 Camaro Z-28, 290 hp.; the 1965 Mustang, 225 hp.

Any of those would be left in the weeds by mild-mannered family sedans in the 2010 performance parking lot, such as the Cadillac CTS V, Acura TL, Infiniti G-35, BMW M3 and even the Volvo S60R with 300 hp.

It's like having your tire-smoking cake and eating fuel-efficient ice cream too.

Then again... they're not making 427 Corvettes anymore. They get more valuable every day.

Noel Grace is an auto broker who restore vintage Corvettes. His Performance Plus Corvettes showroom in Fairfield turned out as many as a half-dozen reborn Vettes each year until the lending crisis shut him down.

"I'm still selling cars," he says. "The market has cut back a little, but there are still plenty of people who are willing to buy."

His niche is 1966-67 Corvettes with the big-block, fuel-injected 427. After purchase and restoration costs of about $130,000, they sell for $220,000-$260,000, he says.

His advice: "About 80 percent of the cars out there are not what people claim them to be. To find a righteous car can take awhile."

For one buyer, he spent three months and inspected 20 cars.

And if that sounds too easy, guys who know how to pull a wrench can do their own restoration. It takes about as long as building an aircraft carrier "” but an aircraft carrier is eventually finished and costs less.

Custom-tailored or off the rack, the selection has never been better. This could be the new Golden Age of Muscle Cars.
 
- Peter Bronson
 

 
A Playground for Boaters and Golfers

Two golfers are standing on a tee-box overlooking a river. One says to the other, "Look at those boaters out there in the rain. They must be nuts."

Which only goes to show, one man's passion is another man's puzzle.

Nothing makes men more passionate and puzzled than golf and boating. And both outdoor sports are blessed in Cincinnati.

All Aboard

Boaters have miles of rivers and lakes within easy driving distance.

"The most popular destination for people who are buying boats from us is the Ohio River," says Edward Alf III, president of Sea Ray of Cincinnati.

The rest of his top five, roughly in order: Norris Lake (Tenn.), Lake Cumberland (Ky.), Brookville Lake (Ind.) and Caesar's Creek (Ohio).

Alf sells Boston Whalers, Meridian Yachts and Sea Rays up to 48 feet. He recommends boats of at least 20 feet to navigate the Ohio River. "The heavier and wider, the better. It will handle better when dealing with other wakes."

Among the latest innovations for boaters: more fuel-efficient motors, more responsive computerized throttles, and joystick controls that allow new boaters to dock without fear. "They can spin the boat or even walk it in sideways to the dock," Alf says.

Although the economy has affected sales, "No doubt about it," boaters are still buying. "People who are passionate about the sport want to get a boat or get a bigger boat.

"We're still selling a fair amount of boats," Alf says.

Fore!

Traffic is also staying strong at local golf courses. One of the best-kept regional secrets is that Cincinnati is a golfer's paradise.

"You're hard pressed to find better golf for the money anywhere else," says Gene Powell, the pro at The Mill Course on West Sharon Road.

Local golfers can play country-club quality courses for less than $50. Including the Mill Course, the Hamilton County Park District has seven courses, such as The Vineyard, rated four-and-a-half stars by Golf Digest, which called it the best municipal course in Ohio for 2000-10; and Sharon Woods, a consistent four-star classic opened in 1936 when Bobbie Jones teed up the first shot.

Blue Ash, Kings Island and the City of Cincinnati's five courses also offer top-notch golf at bargain prices.

Among the other excellent courses open to the public in the Tristate: Shaker Run, Aston Oaks, Legendary Run, Boone Links, Hueston Woods, Stonelick Hills, Walden Pond, Fox Run, Beckett Ridge, Elk's Run, Belterra and Sugar Ridge.

Powell's advice to new golfers: "If you're starting something new, you need to be able to be successful and enjoy it. If not, why would you continue?"

In fact, many don't. And that has held the total number of golfers static for years. For each rookie hacker who tees it up, someone else throws a club and quits.

So Powell urges new golfers to tackle shorter courses. "There's no reason for beginners to stay away from any courses, but there are times to pick the ball up and move on. People should have fun, enjoy the day and not be too serious."

Hamilton County Parks District Golf Manager Doug Stultz agrees that Cincinnati is an undiscovered golfing destination, and a great place to learn at very reasonable prices. "There's plenty of courses to choose from, and lots of variety. It definitely is a golfer's haven."