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Jumping For Health

Jumping For Health by Dr. Morton Walker, DPM

Article Published in "Townsend Letter For Doctors"

In the spring of 1981, 28-year old Samuel J. Kofsky of Manchester, New Hampshire, a Ph.D. candidate attending the School of Economics at Dartmouth University, lay in a Hanover, New Hampshire hospital room, recovering from the surgical excision of an apparent cyst. Soon after the operation, his surgeon and an oncologist entered the room and walked hesitantly to the foot of the patient's bed. The surgeon said, "Sam, I don't want to shock you, but our hospital pathology department reports that your biopsy shows you have a connective tissue cancer. It's a rare form of fibrosarcoma, which develops suddenly from small bumps on the skin like what I thought was your cyst. Sam, I'm sorry to tell you that there's an 80% chance it will take your life within four years."


The oncologist had come along to confirm the young man's diagnosis and prognosis. Then he suggested further treatment.


Soon Sam Kofsky found himself faced with daily radiation therapy and then intravenous chemotherapy which the late Senator Hubert H. Humphrey had once referred to during a TV interview as "bottled death!" For graduate student it was devastating treatment routine. He felt that his body being assaulted, burned, and poisoned.


To sustain himself through chemotherapy, and to believe that he was doing something positive to help himself, Mr. Kofsky took up exercise of the aerobic type. Aerobics is the steady state of exercising which, when performed over a period of months or years, develops the cardiopulmonary system's ability to take in and utilize more oxygen. This elevated amount of "oxygen uptake" increases cellular metabolism of oxygen molecules as nutrients. Besides competitive team sports such as football, basketball, racquetball and tennis, aerobic exercises include speed walking, running, sustained jogging, swimming, rowing, bicycle riding, calisthenics performed in a specific time frame, and rope jumping.


As it happens, Mr. Kofsky became intrigued with rebounding, which is similar to jumping rope except that it's performed on a kind of mini-trampoline (see Photograph 1 on the next page). Since the jumping surface of a rebounding device has cushioning spring to it, any jarring to one's ankle joints, knees, and back is removed. While rebounding, too, a person can work out outdoors or indoors and simultaneously speak on the telephone, watch television, listen to music, and do other things. Jumping on the mini-trampoline is the ultimate aerobic exercise able to be performed anywhere, even in hotel rooms with a carryon, foldable-type rebounding device As he was being treated with toxic chemicals, Mr. Kofsky engaged in rebounding for his health several hours every day, including 60 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whenever possible, he carried his rebounding device out-of-doors to bound under the trees. Also he ate a nutritious diet, took supplements, and engaged in other exercises for diversity. At regular intervals he swam a full mile at the local health club, furiously punched the heavy bag, and ran a consistent six-minute mile over a ten-mile course. His weight plummeted 36 pounds from a high of 193 not from cancer, but from his strenuous amount of daily exercising.


The exercise was good psychologically for Mr. Kofsky, since so much activity had him believing that he was "winning" his battle against cancer. Philosopher Michael Novak has described winning as "a form of thumbing one's nose, for a moment, at the cancers and diseases that, in the end, strike down all of us." The patient pushed himself harder each day. By the end of a year, he had doubled his daily rebounding time and was seemingly able to go into a meditative state even as he bounced on the device. Mr. Kofsky additionally increased the number of swimming laps, miles run, and time punching the bag. He gained a new confidence.


Since he needed to research his Ph.D. thesis, later the student was forced to drop back on his two more time-consuming sports at the gym and swimming pool. But he never diminished the amount of his jumping for health, because he traveled with a portable rebounder which folded into its own airplane carryon bag.


I met Sam Kofsky 120 feet below the ocean's surface at Grand Cayman Island when we buddied during a morning scuba dive on the North Wall's underwater drop off. Returning aboard our dive boat, he enthusiastically told me of his involvement with rebounding. I told him then of my having authored a book on the same subject. We met often during that vacation trip and spoke about other alternative methods of healing. Our conversations took place in January 1995, and we've stayed in touch since. Kofsky, now age forty-two, had already lived well past his prior dire prognosis. He attributed the circumstance of his thriving to his jumping for health and life.


The same time that he took chemotherapy and engaged in his prolonged exercise therapy, the Dartmouth student finished his doctoral thesis. He is now an assistant professor of economics at a midwestern university. Dr. Kofsky needs no chemicals for cancer and feels fitter than ever today. Perhaps the malignancy still lurks somewhere in his body, for once cancer has been present the potential for its return always remains. Still, this economics professor knows that he has fought it off the best way he could. Dr. Kofsky continues to rebound and participate in other sports activities.


Dr. Morton Walker, DPM

Dr. Walker has established himself as a major author in the self-help and holistic health fields. He is an award-winning professional medical writer, having over fifty books to his credit, as well as over 1000 magazine articles. He is a highly sought after lecturer and appears on TV and radio shows.


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