A brisk walk feeds your brain

03/21/2012 10:00 PM

By ANN GERBER

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GET OFF YOUR BUTT and have a brisk walk to give your brain a much-needed workout.

BETTER THAN WEIGHTLIFTING OR STRETCHING, especially for older people, an invigorating walk stimulates your brain and sharpens your memory, reports a study from the University of Illinois.

PRESIDENT HARRY TRUMAN, sharp-tongued until he died at 88, left reporters gasping for breath as he talked to them during his brisk morning walk. And John Glenn, vital and returned to orbit at 77, credits his daily exercise that always included a two-mile walk.

BRAIN RESEARCHERS say new studies on 124 sedentary men and women aged 60 to 75, given either a walking program or an anaerobic regimen of stretching and muscle-toning, for six months, did best with the walking plan.

THE WALKERS WERE 25 PERCENT better at task switching — quickly determining between odd and even numbers and the difference between vowels and consonants. Nonwalkers showed little improvement.

WE ALL KNOW WALKING IS GOOD EXERCISE but sometimes it is so hard to get outside and walk. Try walking fast around your home or apartment and climbing stairs where possible, personal trainers suggest. Move, walk, bend, you know the drill. Keep going. Age is gaining on you.

Gossip, gossip, gossip

WHO IS THE SEXY BRUNETTE, in her 40s, who brags that her husband loves her, her lover adores her, her children respect and obey her and her girlfriends are in awe of her? She’s the gal with the big jewels — a ruby is her “stop” ring, and an emerald is her “go” ring. But she never stops.

POLITICAL POWERHOUSE DAVID AXELROD, communications director for Obama’s re-election campaign, has just closed on a four-bedroom apartment in the Water Tower condo building for $1.9 million.

WHEN BAD BOY DENNIS RODMAN was in Chicago with his own nightclub and wedding gown, he was comparatively quiet, but now the former NBA star is in New York City coaching his unique topless basketball players for their upcoming games in May. Strip club squads from around the country are going to make this sport a wild and crazy addition to mammary madness.

SYMPATHY FOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH surfaced as he went off to prison with many insisting 14 years was too harsh a sentence. “Sure he was arrogant and stupid and greedy but 4 or 5 years would have been enough,” said a high profile lawyer. Everyone within hearing distance at Gibson’s agreed.

TV ISN’T ROSY for Rosie O’Donnell, whose show on Oprah’s cable network hasn’t generated the ratings she and Winfrey hoped for. We are a fan, but there is so much out there and so many talk and interview shows that it would take stars like Queen Elizabeth and weird personalities like an admitted serial killer to make the jaded public sit up and tune in. Even the bizarre Lady Gaga is becoming old hat.

NOW THAT ROSIE’S SHOW has been dumped by Oprah, where will O’Donnell land next?

BEING A SEXIST AND A BIG-MOUTH BIGOT has paid off for Rush Windbag, who gets a $50 million salary for trashing women, liberals, sea turtles and others smarter than he is, but who annoy the great man. We have all seen how GOP biggies worship at his sleazy pulpit, never saying a discouraging word about his latest “slut/prostitute” gaffe. Rush started as a music DJ in Pittsburgh and he proves that you can achieve the American dream with hard work while being an uncouth, lying, miserable excuse for a human being and a public figure. Ewwww.

“WANT A LITTLE SOMETHING ON THE SIDE?” ACTRESS Kristin Chenoweth asks married men who want to fool around, “Try our onion rings.” She’s the adorable bible-quoting star of the new TV show Good Christian Belles (formerly Bitches), and her husband owns a Boobylicious eatery. Think Hooters. The show is a hoot and follows fading Desperate Housewives Sunday nights on ABC. Annie Potts, always on target, is another reason you will like this irreverent comedy-drama. She plays a Big Texas Mama with heart and smarts, protecting her daughter Leslie Bibb, who was a mean girl in high school and is getting venomous treatment from her peers when she returns to Dallas. Leslie’s hubby died in a car crash, driving while having sex. Oh well, you know those Texans.

FASHIONISTAS ARE WONDERING whether their designing icon, Coco Chanel, who birthed “the little black dress,” was a Nazi collaborator. Hal Vaughan, a former foreign correspondent and documentary film maker, published Sleeping with the Enemy, a book about Chanel’s wartime history that reprints travel documents, identity cards, and interrogation records. Among his allegations are that Coco, during the German occupation of Paris, shared her bed with a German intelligence officer 13 years younger than she was, and their affair outlasted the war. Vaughan reminds that Chanel lived at the Ritz, where top Nazis did, and used anti-Jewish laws to try and wrest away control of Chanel No. 5 from a Jewish-owned firm that bought the rights to her perfume.

CHANEL SENT FUNDS to an ailing SS war criminal and was denounced as an enemy agent, but the British ignored her after the war. Born in an asylum for the homeless, Chanel lied about her age and her parents, a peddler and a teen mom who died young. But she was cute, witty and adept at forming alliances with powerful men. Later in life she was the mistress of the wealthy Duke of Westminster, who wouldn’t marry a seamstress. By the early 1950s, the French press dismissed her designs, but American women loved them. Did Coco sleep with the enemy for love, or out of fear? She died in 1971 and to the end, insisted to postwar French interrogators that she never knew powerful Germans. Regardless, we all owe her a debt of gratitude for the little black dress and pearls, an always safe and subtle choice.

OVER THE PAST 16 YEARS, THE MAKING HISTORY AWARDS have honored 78 whose enduring contributions to our community have made our city a better and more vibrant place to live. The annual event supports the mission of the History Museum. Last year’s honorees were Barbara Bowman, for social services; Renee Crown, for civic leadership; Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra, for distinction in journalism and communications; and David Speer of Illinois Tool Works, for corporate achievement. Co-chairs of the banquet at the Four Seasons were James Alexander of the Elizabeth Morse Trusts, John Rowe of Exelon and James Skinner of McDonald’s Corp.

MAKING HISTORY AWARDS COMMITTEE included Alison de Frise, Vince Allocco, Paul Dykstra, Michael Ebner, M.H. Hammock, Francia Harrington, Susan Higinbotham, Phil Hummer, Dan Jaffe, Gary Johnson, Erica Meyer, Jo Minow, James O’Connor, Potter Palmer, Jesse Ruiz, Larry Selander, Steve Solomon, Joan Steel, Liz Stiffel, Joan Werhane and Noren Ungaretti.

TV DOCUMENTARY JOURNALIST and producer Bill Kurtis is a multimedia production company president, network and major market news anchor, currently seen nightly on CBS 2 with Walter Jacobson. In 1990, he founded Kurtis Productions, creating the Peabody award series The New Explorers for PBS as well as programs for CNBC, A&E and the National Geographic Channel. Kurtis is also the author of three books, including The Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice. Donna La Pietra has been at his side for the past 20 years and has her own impressive record of accomplishment in film and TV, including raising millions of dollars for worthy charities.

ONE OF THE MOST ACTIVE AND EFFECTIVE women’s boards is that of the Field Museum, led by Jeani Jernstedt, which hosted a most successful black tie gala last fall, chaired by Mrs. William Osborn and Mrs. Alan Lacy. It celebrated the opening of the Abbott Hall of Conservation Restoring Earth. Supporters included Mrs. John Ahearne, Mrs. Laura Anderson, Mrs. Rober Beatty, Mrs. Philip Block III, Mrs. Norman Bobbins, Lenore Cameron, Mrs. John Canning Jr., Mrs. Roosevelt Collins, Mrs. Lester Crown, Mrs. John Daniels, Mrs. Robert Darnall, Mrs. Craig Duchossois, Karen Gray, Mrs. Byron Karzas, Mrs. Jerry Pearlman, Mrs. Patrick Ryan, Mrs. Miles White, Mrs. Gordon Segal, Mrs. David Speer, Mrs. John McCarter Jr., Mrs. King Harris, Mrs. Jack Greenberg, Mrs. Jeffrey Sharp, Mrs. Neele Stearns Jr. and Carole Wood. When these gals plan a benefit, guests know the event will be glam and fun.

VAL WARNER OF CHANNEL 7 is a busy mom as well as a TV personality. Her daughter Zoe sometimes accompanies her to benefits and luncheons. We saw them at the Service Club Day on the Terrace.

FASHION MENTOR MACY’S is showing the way to stimulate future designers with its incubator programs. Taking a cue from Chicago, San Francisco is also helping launch new careers with a March nonprofit incubator like the four-year-old Windy City plan. Each designer will pay $250 a month for a shared year’s lease on a fully equipped workshop at Macy’s. They will also get business advice, and meet industry insiders. They are heartened by the fact that of the 18 graduates in Chicago, 16 are still in business. How to craft a collection, how to cost it and how to keep focused on the customer are strong points.

WHEN THE HARVARD CLUB honored Frank Clark of ComEd, Paula Conrad of ComEd was there to support the award ceremony at the Chicago Club.

COMPOSER BURT BACHARACH is hoping his new musical, after tryouts in San Diego, will make it to Broadway. Called Some Lovers and based on O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi, Burt co-wrote it with lyricist Steven Sater. At 83, Bacharach keeps busy although his last musical, Promises, Promises, is now 40 years old. Alfie remains his favorite song out of more than 100 hits. The acclaimed songstress Dionne Warwick has been Burt’s “voice” since the 60s, as this talented man admits “I am always trying to make a miniature movie when I write songs.”

SEEN LUNCHING IN THE STANDARD CLUB at an Adler Planetarium event honoring Women in Space were Andrea Edwards, Nadine Schneller and Brandy Masoncup. Col. Pam Melroy received the Adler Space Science Award before 300 young girls from local schools arrived for an afternoon science program to stimulate their interest.

IT IS A GRAVE SITUATION as cemetery thieves steal bronze vases from grave markers to sell as metal prices soar. Copper wire is a highly desirable goal for thieves who are brazenly stripping vacant homes as well as new copper drainpipes in affluent areas. Police are reporting that manhole covers, street lights and parts of fire hydrants are attracting metal-hungry robbers. More than 115 vases were stolen from one Reno, Nev. cemetery and in Elmhurst, Ill., police recovered 410 vases believed to have been stolen from 15 cemeteries.

FIREMEN, MUSCLED AND ATTRACTIVE, are being added to fashion show benefits so the female audience gets more than just silk, cashmere, wool. When the Service Club held its last style parade at the Peninsula, hunky guys were a big hit. Mary Lasky and Sally Jo Morris welcomed the fire fighters to the luncheon.

“WHEN I BUY COOKIES I EAT JUST FOUR AND THROW THE REST AWAY. BUT FIRST I SPRAY THEM WITH RAID SO I WON’T DIG THEM OUT OF THE GARBAGE LATER. BE CAREFUL, THOUGH, BECAUSE THE RAID REALLY DOESN’T TASTE THAT BAD.” —JANETTE BARBER

CONTACT: annbgerber@gmail.com or 847-677-2232



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