I knew it. Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile.
Thirty minutes, they said. You need 30 minutes of good exercise each day.
So how is a normal, hard-working, employed person going to find 30 minutes to exercise in the midst of a busy day? Some people do, and I admire them.
Me? Ten minutes of walking around the office building during my breaks is about all that I can spare. My doctor says that’s not good enough. So I don’t mention it to him any more.
So for all of you good people jogging around the Elkin Park track. For those former co-workers who stop off at a gym after work instead of running home for a hearty supper, as I do. For those who are feeling so good because they have 30 minutes a day to run and lift and squat and curl and sit-up.
I have some bad news. You’ve got to make it two hours. That’s two hours — every day.
So that settles it. I’m quitting my job and exercising full time. Wait till my live-in accountant hears of this.
This bad news comes from a report out earlier this month on exercise. Twelve medical studies concluded that a 30-minute daily workout produced only “modest reductions” in heart problems, according to The Washington Post. But an hour workout cut heart problems by 20 percent and two hours daily produced a 35 percent reduction.
So guess what they want us to do now.
The study does not explain just how are you supposed to do that along with all of the other things you’re supposed to do in a day: work/school, commute, sleep, eat, shop, care for family, keep up the house, participate in church, invest in family, maintain hobbies, read, relax with down time, etc.
In order words, how do you have a life?
As I ponder the dilemma I turn to that great medical sage, the late Mark Twain.
At his 70th birthday party Twain told well wishers, according to Harper’s Weekly at the time, that: “I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping and resting, and I never intend to take any.
“Exercise is loathsome. And it cannot be any benefit when you are tired; I was always tired.”
Twain died of a heart attack in 1910 at the age of 74.
I tend to seek middle ground between Twain and the exercise nuts while casting regular, loving glances toward Twain. I favor the Bible’s advice that “physical training is of some value.” (I Tim. 4:8)
Pardon my skepticism on the hard exercise, but health advice is always shifting, like a rabbit darting this way, then that, while trying to outrun beagles.
Take for instance the latest health news on milk.
Since the 1950s we have been preached to about fat, specifically about avoiding it. One of my first newspaper reporting assignments after I finished school was about a county health worker’s campaign to get grown-ups to switch from whole to skim milk.
The year was 1978, and since then I’ve drank skim milk. I attribute that for my svelte figure over the years.
Now comes a new health claim that whole milk is healthier after all, is the way to go. So there goes 37 years of my smarts down the drain.
“Fears (about whole milk) are not supported by evidence,” said New Zealand researcher Jocelyne R. Benatar, as reported by The Post. “The message that it is OK to have whole fat food, including whole fat milk, is slowly seeping into consciousness.”
Dairy appears to have enough benefits to outweigh its fat, Georgia State University assistant professor of nutrition Desiree Wanders told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She cited whole milk’s phosphorous, calcium and potassium, which have been shown to help combat high-blood pressure.
I first learned of this when my live-in chef came in from the doctor who told her to switch to whole milk. I was horrified. We compromised on 1% milk, for now.
During a congressional hearing on the federal Dietary Guidelines earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota put it well. “Most of them (constituents) don’t believe this stuff anymore,” he said. “You have lost your credibility with a lot of people, and they are just flat out ignoring this stuff.”
I can see the day now. I’ll be in the old folks home holding my glass of skim milk and remembering all of those exercise nuts who put in two hours a day. I’ll rock in the chair, take a sip and smile.
POSTSCRIPT: A couple of weeks ago on this page I introduced you to an 18-year-old State Road area singer, Brooke Sealey. Well, she ended up winning the American Idol-style Exalt! Vocal Talent Showcase, near Charlotte. She won with a finalist rendition of the Carrie Underwood-recorded song, “Something In The Water.” And she did sound like Carrie Underwood. Congratulations, Brooke.
In addition, when the emcee introduced Brooke, he cracked a joke about State Road. Brian Keith of Rock Hill, South Carolina, said from the stage that when he asked Brooke where she was from, she said: “State Road. I said no, where are you from. She said just State Road. We were having a communication problem.”
I know the feeling.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.