I recently received a comment from a reader in Houston, Texas–one that I feel is important to share with you today.
“I’m growing nauseated with the ‘simple walk around the block’ non-solution presented as a cure-all. In Houston, a person with even minimal allergies is faced with unhealthy air many days of the year. One with the normal-for-Houston allergies might well gain negative health effects from challenging breathing. Life is filled with simple solutions which don’t work. Your walk around the block is suspect.”
Kay’s words are a little harsh. But she raises a good point here. Air quality, especially in the summer, can be a big problem for people with asthma or allergies.
But you know what? That’s no excuse.
Rain is also a big problem for people who don’t like getting wet. And cold temperatures are a big problem for people who’d rather stay nice and toasty inside.
My response to all of these concerns: Stay inside, then. Join a local gym, or spring for a treadmill to put in your basement. (It’s worth the investment–and there’s always someone selling used equipment if you’re trying to save a buck.)
Can’t afford a gym, even if it’s at home? Then lace up your shoes and walk around the mall. It’s temperature controlled and totally free. And if you get there early, there won’t be any crowds, either.
Is this a “cure-all” as Kay calls it? Of course not. Personally, I’d like to see you do a lot more with your body than just walk. (I certainly do.) But we all start somewhere. And if your choice comes down to taking an after-dinner walk or spending a night on the couch, well, guess what?
That after-dinner walk–or leisurely bike ride, morning swim, or drop-in yoga class–will always be the healthier choice. It’s not a non-solution. It’s plain old common sense (that just happens to have tons of scientific support).
Which brings me to another reader comment I’d like to share, this time from a follower named MaryLou on Facebook. (And if you haven’t yet, “like” my page.)
“In June I started an aqua exercise program and I am amazed at how much better I feel. I retired in January and went from an active job as an O.R. nurse to nothing, and it’s true what they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Now back to exercising regularly, I feel much better again. The more active I am, the more energy I have! I am not diabetic, but it just goes to show: exercise helps everyone!”
I really couldn’t have said it better myself. The bottom line? If you want to stay healthy, regular exercise is a non-negotiable term. Period.
I don’t care how, and I don’t care where. To borrow a phrase from Nike… just do it.