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Content Source: Newsweek Magazine

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Kyle Case: Hello and welcome to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. My name is Kyle Case and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in the studio today is my copilot Jeff Harding. Jeff, how are you doing today?

Jeff Harding: Most excellent dude.

Kyle Case: I'm glad. I'm glad.

Jeff Harding: A little bit of Bill and Ted there.

Kyle Case: Yeah. No, I knew exactly where that was coming from. A little Point Break, a little Bill and Ted. All good surfer stuff. Jeff, listen we all know that we're supposed to exercise right?

Jeff Harding: Right.

Kyle Case: We know that. Exercise is good for your heart. It's good for your lungs. There's so much research, especially recently that it's good for your brain.

Jeff Harding: Right.

Kyle Case: We agree that it's good for you. Here's the big question that I have. Maybe you've had the same question. What is the right amount of exercise to help you get the most benefit?

Jeff Harding: Well, I figure the little beads of sweat start forming on my head, I'm topped off.

Kyle Case: That's the right amount. If it's hot outside, then you just start.

Jeff Harding: Then I'm done.

Kyle Case: You start with the right amount, even before you get going right?

Jeff Harding: Right.

Kyle Case: I think that's a legitimate question right?

Jeff Harding: I bet you have some studies that are going to tell us.

Kyle Case: Well I do. I actually, you are in luck, because I do have some information that I'm going to share with you.

Jeff Harding: Well good.

Kyle Case: It's actually a new study that I found in Newsweek Magazine.

Jeff Harding: Oh cool.

Kyle Case: It says that researchers think that they've actually pin pointed how much exercise could actually, and listen to this, prevent the heart from aging.

Jeff Harding: Wow.

Kyle Case: I mean, that's big stuff right?

Jeff Harding: Yeah, so you'd be dead but your heart is going to still be beating in your chest?

Kyle Case: No, that's not it.

Jeff Harding: Okay.

Kyle Case: No.

Jeff Harding: Alright.

Kyle Case: Listen. As we grow older, our arteries can stiffen and make us prone to heart disease.

Jeff Harding: Not to mention our backs.

Kyle Case: Yeah, that's just part of getting older, right.

Jeff Harding: Right, right.

Kyle Case: Those problems are heightened if we're inactive.

Jeff Harding: Right, well they are.

Kyle Case: We know that. Research has found that. Common sense says that. The researchers who performed this particular study, they wanted to understand how much exercise an individual needs to perform in order to prevent their heart and their blood vessels from aging and again, I think that's a fair question. That's what I want to know as well.

Jeff Harding: It is. It is. We want to make sure we're doing enough.

Kyle Case: Right, and not doing too much.

Jeff Harding: Well, we don't want to overdo it.

Kyle Case: We got to find the sweet spot right.

Jeff Harding: This is the active life, not the overactive life.

Kyle Case: Listen, building on previous research, which shows that exercise cuts the risk of heart disease, these researchers found that varying amounts of exercise affects arteries of varying sizes differently, which I thought was really interesting.

Jeff Harding: It is.

Kyle Case: That's interesting. Listen to this, exercising for 30 minutes two to three days per week was found to keep the middle sized arteries, these are the arteries that supply the head and the neck from aging, but larger arteries, which sends blood to the chest and to the abdomen, those arteries benefit from 30 minutes of exercise four to five days a week.

Jeff Harding: We just need to do it a couple more days a week.

Kyle Case: Well, that's what they're finding is that in this case, more is better.

Jeff Harding: Right.

Kyle Case: This is the way they found it. The researchers made their findings by carrying out an analysis of 102 people, aged 60 years old and over who were grouped into four categories. These are the categories, sedentary, which they defined as less than two 30 minute exercise sessions per week for the past 25 years. They were sedentary.

Jeff Harding: Yeah.

Kyle Case: Casual means that they got two to three sessions in per week. Committed exercisers were doing four to five sessions and what they call master athletes were doing something six to seven. Almost every day of the week, and then the team-

Jeff Harding: The research team did.

Kyle Case: Yeah, the researchers did. Right, so these are people who have been sedentary, casually exercising, committed exercise or master athletes for 25 years. This is a legitimate study.

Jeff Harding: Long term.

Kyle Case: This is what they found. Casual exercise was found to be enough to keep the middle sized arteries youthful, but those who completed four to five sessions a week, had younger seeming large, central arteries.

Jeff Harding: Wow.

Kyle Case: I think that that's what we're looking for here is the most healthy arteries that we can come up with right. The authors did acknowledge that the results of their study may have been limited by participants being categorized according to their exercise levels, rather than factors such as the type of exercise they did or demographic data or life style choices. All of those things play a large role in development of cardiovascular disease. All those things set aside, they found that we really should be working out probably 30 minutes a day, four to five days a week, if we want our heart and our arteries to be healthy, which I think we all want.

Jeff Harding: I think we do, yeah.

Kyle Case: I can't think of anybody that if I asked, "Hey do you want your heart to be healthy?"

Jeff Harding: No I want these crinkly, old arteries that are just going to break on me.

Kyle Case: No I want my heart to be unhealthy. Right? We all want that.

Jeff Harding: Right.

Kyle Case: It sounds to me like that's the key. That's kind of the answer to the question that we always have. How much is enough? How much is not enough? It sounds like 30 minutes of exercise per day, four to five days a week, is going to give you the most bang for your buck.

Jeff Harding: Well, cool then I'm in that window then.

Kyle Case: You're in the window there, so you're good to go. That's awesome.

Jeff Harding: I have young arteries.

Kyle Case: They did also find that a study could be useful in the future to help create exercise programs that are designed to protect heart health, while further research could reveal whether exercise can actually reverse heart aging, which would be interesting to know.

Jeff Harding: That would be very useful.

Kyle Case: If you'd been going along for a long time and not doing the stuff that you're supposed to do, can you start doing something that will help reverse some of those negative effects?

Jeff Harding: Yeah, yeah that would be cool to know.

Kyle Case: Worth finding out I think. Anyways, ways to keep your heart healthy. I think that's good information.

Jeff Harding: Great information.

Kyle Case: Jeff today's guest is another one of our amazing athletes at the Huntsman World Senior Games, Mr. Jerry Ladd. Jerry has played table tennis most of his life and is now the director of a table tennis event called the Henderson Senior Warm Up. Jerry, we're excited to visit with you. Thanks for joining us on the show today.

Jerry Ladd: Oh thank you for having me. I'm looking forward to this.

Kyle Case: Excellent, so Jerry I want to talk just a little bit about your table tennis career and how it started and when it started.

Jeff Harding: Before you start that though Kyle, we should probably differentiate between ping pong and table tennis. Ping pong is what I play in my basement. Table tennis is what the real competitive people play.

Kyle Case: There is a difference. That was one of the very first things I learned when I started working with multi sport events.

Jeff Harding: Yes, if you're competitive. It's table tennis. It's not ping pong. Is that not right Jerry?

Jerry Ladd: Oh that's totally correct. Ping pong is basically try and see how long you can keep the ball going back and forth. Table tennis, is rather than outlive the point you take the point.

Jeff Harding: That's right.

Jerry Ladd: You're actually getting a lot more motion, a lot more exercise, a lot more intense with table tennis than typically with ping pong.

Kyle Case: I love that, outlive the point.

Jeff Harding: I like that too.

Kyle Case: Or take the point. I think there's a life lesson in there somewhere. That's great Jerry. I love that.

Jeff Harding: If you've watched a table tennis tournament, you know what he's talking about.

Kyle Case: Absolutely. Tell us Jerry. When did you start playing table tennis?

Jerry Ladd: Well I started playing ping pong back in my junior year in high school.

Kyle Case: Okay.

Jerry Ladd: I managed to win a little high school tournament there, and I actually thought I was pretty good. It turned out I just played a little better ping pong than the other guy.

Kyle Case: Yeah.

Jerry Ladd: I then played a little bit in college at the University of New Mexico and again, I played ping pong but a little bit more aggressive ping pong. Again, I thought I was pretty good because I won the championship there.

Kyle Case: Yeah.

Jerry Ladd: I thought I was good, but what I found out the hard way that good is a relative statement. Good compared to who?

Kyle Case: There is a difference isn't there. I got to tell you. I had a friend once. I used to run the Utah Summer Games up in Cedar City, Utah and I had a friend that I actually went to school with and when I took over the games, I knew that he played a little bit of ping pong and kind of considered himself pretty good. I kept kind of working on him. You got to sign up. You got to register. This is your sport. This is something you're going to enjoy. You're going to have fun. I finally talked him into doing it, and again just like you Jerry, he thought he was pretty good. He was better than I was. I mean, he could definitely beat me, but he came to the event and I went up to the venue just to see how things were going with the sport and to check on my buddy, and he meets me at the doorway and he's like, "This is not what I was expecting. This is not what I was expecting."

Kyle Case: Then I went in and I talked to the director and he said, "Kyle, listen, I can't find a division bad enough for your friend to play in. I'm trying to get him a good experience but I can't find anybody bad enough for him to play against."

Kyle Case: Jerry, as you said, there is a difference between playing ping pong and playing table tennis, for sure. You got to start somewhere right?

Jerry Ladd: Indeed, indeed. You start playing and trying to improve yourself as you're going, while even ping pong is good for the exercise portion but again, you find out the difference between the good and not so good.

Kyle Case: I found that is true so much with table tennis. Every sport has their levels, you know. There's beginners and then there's the experts but boy there is a jump, a big jump between a beginner table tennis player or ping pong player versus an expert and you see it right away.

Jeff Harding: Jerry, how did your eyes get opened?

Jerry Ladd: Well, I ended up being effectively drafted out of college in 1961. Rather than being drafted to the Army I joined the Navy.

Kyle Case: Okay.

Jerry Ladd: I was stationed in San Diego for my boot camp. I got out of boot camp and went down to a local Y there in San Diego and I met a gentleman by the name of Gene Lee who introduced me to table tennis. Again, I had thought I was pretty good and I found out that well, I wasn't as good as I thought I was.

Jerry Ladd: He introduced me to a club in San Diego, the San Diego Table Tennis Club, and so I started going there. I truly found out the difference. When I first walked in to the club in San Diego, this young man asked me if I wanted to play. I said, sure I'll show this guy how the game is played. Well, boy did I ever get a lesson. He beat me up one side and down the other and turned me ever which way but loose. I was totally embarrassed so I asked him, "Well what are you? The club champion?" He said, no, I'm just a novice. The ranking system was novice, to D to Z to B to A and then to championship. He was a novice. I thought I was good. He cleaned my plow. Well, I found out right then, well then good is totally relative.

Jeff Harding: Yeah.

Jerry Ladd: I was good compared to those that didn't have a clue but I wasn't so good compared to those who did.

Kyle Case: That is so true. Like you said, good is definitely relative. What is the difference? I think most of us have probably played a game of ping pong at a family reunion or whatever, and some have us have been able to watch a high level of play, and of course, Jerry you're right there playing at that high level. What's the difference between just a regular kind of P-I-N-G back and forth, versus a highly competitive table tennis game?

Jerry Ladd: Basically, that's it. The beginner ping pong or whatever you want to call him, is typically holds the paddle a little differently than a true table tennis player. They just bounce the ball back and forth and typically a foot or two or three or even four foot over the net. It's a very high ball. They just keep trying to keep it going and return it.

Jerry Ladd: Well, a table tennis player, as soon as you give him one of those balls, it's a little bit higher over the net, like even as little as six inches to a foot. You end up eating it. They smash it.

Kyle Case: It comes right back at you.

Jerry Ladd: That becomes their point right away. It's not a case of hit the ball back and forth, 10, 20, 30 times. It's hit the ball once hard once and or away from your opponent once, and the point is yours. That's what this guy did to me. I bounced the ball back pretty high and he'd smash it and I'd go chase it. It was serve, repeat, serve, repeat. It was anything but what I thought it was going to be.

Jerry Ladd: I found out that well, you got to be a little more aggressive. You got to be a whole lot more active. You can't just stand there in one spot and bounce the ball back and forth. You've got to be moving quite a lot, quite rapidly to get in position, to hit a shot. That's what I eventually learned how to do. I worked my way up from the novice level myself, up to the A level, and even played a few in the championship level. Even in those levels, there's large differences between capabilities and experience and whatever. The more experienced players, they can do things to the ball that the inexperienced player can't even believe. Well, I learned to believe.

Kyle Case: You're listening to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. We're visiting with Jerry Ladd, a table tennis player at the Huntsman World Senior Games and we're just talking about the difference between what we affectionately term ping pong versus a real table tennis player. I had kind of a similar experience on a much smaller scale.

Kyle Case: There were four brothers in my family and we're all very competitive. I have one older brother and then I'm the second. My older brother just beat me at everything. Everything we ever did, he just beat me at, basketball, football, wrestling, hula-hoop. It didn't matter. He beat me at everything. One day just a few years ago, we were down in my uncle's basement, as Jeff said. The ping pong table was there.

Jeff Harding: Sure, that's where they go, in the basement.

Kyle Case: I'm like, let's play a game, you know. We were kind of just, you know how you serve to see who serves? You just play that P-I-N-G game back and forth. We were playing that just a little bit and I was like, able to return his strikes and I thought, hey we're fairly evenly matched here. This is going to be a game. Well, once who was starting the game was determined, that was pretty much it. I mean, he had figured out the spin. I don't think that my brother is an expert table tennis player, but he certainly was better than I am. He kept hitting it and it would be coming at me, and then with the spin Jerry, you know all about this, it would veer off to the other side and he's like, "Are you seeing a difference in the way that we were playing in the beginning versus now?" I was like, just shut up. Yeah, I spent a lot of time chasing the ball that day.

Jeff Harding: That brings up a good question. How effective are the spins and how do you learn to read the spins as a table tennis player?

Jerry Ladd: Practice and experience. A couple of things becomes pretty obvious. If it's side spin you can recognize that by the virtue of the way the ball is moving. It'll curve to some degree as it's coming across. That'll tell you which side spin is on it, just by which way it's curving, just based on aerodynamics. The same thing with top spin and under spin. A top spin ball will kind of come over the net and die when it hits the table and jump out, whereas an under spin will look more like it's kind of floating. It's a flatter path as it comes over. Then it bounces more straight up, so you learn to watch the ball very carefully and see what it's doing. That's the main way.

Jerry Ladd: Another little clue for even some of the more experienced but not totally experienced player is if you don't recognize and can't recognize exactly what the spin is, then the saying is, impart your will upon the ball. In other words, you play the ball rather than let the ball play you.

Kyle Case: Right.

Jerry Ladd: You don't take control of the spin with your own spin and power.

Kyle Case: I like that.

Jerry Ladd: That's typically the answer is to something they don't recognize is just trying to overwhelm whatever spin is on it yourself.

Kyle Case: Jerry, it sounds like you've had obviously a lot of experience in your life and you've played in a variety of different places. I'm wondering, you know we're talking about table tennis specifically and some of the moves and the techniques that's involved. What has table tennis taught you about life?

Jerry Ladd: To expect the unexpected and to keep moving. You got to stay active. You got to keep with it, otherwise life itself will pass you by. In table tennis, the capabilities of your opponents will pass you by unless you stay active, stay at it, and actually work to keep yourself in good shape.

Jeff Harding: That's a great analogy.

Kyle Case: Great advice. Great, great advice. Let's talk a little bit about some of the experience. You've done some traveling to play table tennis. What's maybe one of the best memories you have?

Jerry Ladd: I did quite a bit when I first got out of boot camp. Like I say, I joined the San Diego Club and I was very, very anxious to improve so I kept working, playing and getting my tush whipped, but I kept at it and kept trying to learn. Eventually, within oh probably eight, nine months or so, I played in a little tournament at the Fleet Training Center in San Diego, where I was stationed then. They had a little tournament and I ended up winning that tournament so I went to special services from the Navy and they decided to start sponsoring me to tournaments throughout the southwest, primarily southern California. They sent me to one in Las Vegas here, some in San Francisco, Santa Barbara and all over the LA area.

Jeff Harding: did you get to meet Forest Gump, because that's what he did too?

Jerry Ladd: Yeah, I guess I was the original Forest Gump, except I actually played table tennis rather than what you see Forest Gump doing.

Jeff Harding: Yeah.

Jerry Ladd: That was a huge difference really. Anyway, yeah the Navy sponsored me throughout the southwest. I won my share of events at my levels as I improved. I never did win a championship level, but in the US Open I guess it was in 1963 or four. I don't remember the exact year, the US Open was held in the LA area. I think it was Anaheim or Pasadena or one of those. I don't remember exactly. Anyway, I was entered and I was entered into the draw. The draw is 512 players, all single elimination. Then they have one prior round to even get into the draw, which was where I was. I won my way into the draw and I ended up winning about four or five rounds into the actual draw itself. I thought that was a pretty good accomplishment for the rookie from New Mexico that didn't have a clue what he was doing originally. It was a lot of fun.

Kyle Case: Well, that's awesome. Congratulations on some of those victories.

Jeff Harding: oh yeah, for sure.

Kyle Case: Now, you continue to play even to this day, but you've also moved into the administration arena and you're running events now. What are some things that you've learned as an administrator that you didn't know when you were just playing?

Jerry Ladd: Well, I found out that running an event, setting up the event is a lot more difficult than I initially thought because it's setting up the draw, is easier said than done. You learn how to seed the players properly so that you don't have the top two players playing in the first round and whatever. You play and set it up so that they have to work their way up to the finals if they can. It becomes quite challenge.

Jerry Ladd: Another challenge is putting up with some of the players who tend to think that you gave them an unfavorable draw on purpose or whatever. I've gone through that a few times. Just putting up with some of the people and their eccentricities is different, shall we say.

Kyle Case: There are a lot of things-

Jerry Ladd: I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. I started doing that by virtue of, well when I was in San Diego I became tournament director there, but that was so many years ago, I don't remember a whole heck of a lot about that. That was in the early 60s again. When I started in the administrative section here in Henderson, it was by virtue of one of the directors at one of the recreation centers asking me after a small tournament that we had at the rec center, asked me if I would form a club there, which I did.

Jerry Ladd: Then another director of a different rec center asked me if I'd form a club there. I ended up having two clubs at two different rec centers and eventually we all moved over into the one rec center which had much better facilities, better lighting, a larger gym. Moved all the tables into there.

Kyle Case: Away you went.

Jerry Ladd: Yeah, I got involved with the Henderson Senior Games. That was what started the whole thing. Then, I got involved and the Nevada Senior Games. Then, by virtue of the Nevada Senior Games being right in front of the Huntsman World Senior Games up in St. George, a lot of players even from foreign countries. They had people from England, from Germany, from Russia, whatever coming in for the Nevada Senior Games and I decided I wanted to see if I could get some of them to come to the Henderson as well so that our people there could see different styles, different levels of play and all that. I started what the call the Henderson Senior Warm Up, which we held initially just on Thursday and then expanded to Wednesday and Thursday, added doubles in. Then, Nevada Senior Games were Friday and Saturday. Then Sunday everybody would pile into their cars or cabs or whatever and drive up to St. George for the Huntsman. We set our tournaments up purposely to attract the world class players from different companies, right in front of the Huntsman, because we knew that they were coming to the Huntsman.

Kyle Case: Well, Jerry thank you.

Jerry Ladd: There was a method to our madness.

Kyle Case: Thank you so much for the support at the games and also for your experience and for joining us on the show. Congratulations on an incredible career as a table tennis player. That's all the time that we've got.

Jeff Harding: You've been a great guest.

Kyle Case: We appreciate your time. Thanks so much.

Jerry Ladd: I thank you much. Very enjoyable, appreciate it.

Kyle Case: Jeff, now is the time to register for the Huntsman World Senior Games.

Jeff Harding: Yes, get on it.

Kyle Case: As of this morning, we have over 5,400 registered participants and a few sports have already reached their participation caps as you know. Don't delay.

Jeff Harding: No.

Kyle Case: You want to visit seniorgames.net today and register for the sport of your choice. We do offer table tennis.

Jeff Harding: We do.

Kyle Case: That's available.

Jeff Harding: Not ping pong, but table tennis.

Kyle Case: The 2018 dates of the Huntsman World Senior Games are October 8th through the 20th so you've got some time to get yourselves prepared. Don't forget to tune in next and every Thursday at 5:30pm Mountain time on AM1450 or FM93.1 for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. You can also subscribe to our podcast pretty much wherever podcasts are available, and Jeff you can now ask your smart speaker to play our show.

Jeff Harding: Wow.

Kyle Case: Just ask Siri, Alexa or your Google home device to play the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life podcast and you will be in Active Life heaven.

Jeff Harding: That's true.

Kyle Case: Our inspirational thought for the day. Don't look back. You're not going that way.

Jeff Harding: That's true too.

Kyle Case: Until next Thursday, stay active.

Jeff Harding: By everyone.