“Our ‘convenience culture’ translates into too-available entertainment options, fast food, sedentary transportation, and the like. The fact is, if you want to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle, you have to work at it.”~Bruce Broussard
I’m reminded of one of those rather cheesy riddles/questions we used to throw around for fun as teenagers. It went this way:
Q. What did one chair say to the other?
A. Yonder comes another bum!”
Fast forward to the present. When one chair says to the other, “Yonder comes another bum,” you better take it literally! We are on our derrieres more often these days and for longer periods. Kudos to the health freaks that jog, run, walk, swim, and go gymming regularly, but though they are in greater numbers today than a decade ago, they are still a minority.
I was just “another bum” until seven years back. I was so #sedentary that I could grow roots, branches, moss and all, together. Yes, I grew, you know, I grew, and grew, like Alice but unlike her, I grew horizontally and found that it wasn’t only the mirror that was getting smaller; so were my clothes, and a few arm-chairs too.
I had reached this stage because of a deficiency that affected my bones and caused severe lumbar and cervical disc problems. The wrong diagnosis and the wrong treatment made it worse. My mother had suffered from it, and she was bedridden for a long time until she died. I expected to go down the same way.
Every time I decided to exercise or go out for a #walk, the pain in my bones sent me back to the chair. What I needed was a stronger will and the conviction that exercises (certain ones) would help me immensely. I had to believe that; bear the pain, and start with ‘baby steps’ literally. But skeptic me would not budge.
“What if you can’t do what you once did, like run and jump up and down? You can walk, which is also good for your mind and mental attitude. You can do simpler exercises, like getting up and down from a chair without using your hands. You can stay fairly flexible. The most important thing is to not become sedentary.”~Richard Simmons
The stronger the doubts became, the more beached I got… a beached whale! The doctor persisted tirelessly in goading me to lift myself out of defeat, depression, and that chair. Nothing worked. As fate would have it, a shift to Chile brought about the much-needed push. It took an #earthquake (literally!) to rock the chair I had permanently lodged myself in. Read about it here:
Measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, it rocked and rolled not just the city but my life as well. We had to evacuate and we were on the 6th level; there were a lot of stairs to go down and out of the building. Then the walk to a safer place. I could barely walk. This spoke to me.
The doc had said that I could “walk” myself out of a bad situation if I tried. So if I could pull myself out of that chair, I should go for it… I should, at the least, try it both physically and mentally too!
Finally, reality had hit hard and I got up and walked out of that chair in my head. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a quick fix. It took a long time, a very long time and some more tremors and earthquakes before I started with 5-7 steps which would take more minutes than the steps I took. That was as much as my initial ‘walks’ were.
But this time around, I gritted my teeth; I bore the pain, pushed myself, and was encouraged by the extra step or steps I would take from day to day… one laborious step at a time. Finally, the day came when I was counting a thousand steps! It is hard to explain the elation. The “I did it!” jubilation.
“When you stimulate your body, your brains come alive in ways you can’t stimulate in a sedentary position.”~Twyla Tharp
Today, I’m addicted to my daily walks. I count my steps and clock my time; I’m counting my steps to a healthier me. I’ve realized the importance of doing my physio exercises, as the Ortho advised, and I’ve seen the huge benefits. Exercises and my walks in the fresh outdoors have added benefits of de-stressing the mind, stimulating the digestive system, and giving me a ‘feel good’ feeling within. And I’m the better for it.
The chair and I are still friends, however, I would like to spend less time in it, but alas! My work demands that I sit on a chair in front of a laptop for hours on weekdays. That being said, I’m less of a “bum” and it has stopped being my #crutch.
“Health is wealth” is an old adage. I didn’t realize the literal, hard truth behind it until I lost health and with it a lot of wealth. I see many young people at the Orthopedic’s with lumbar, cervical problems. Modern life has made us sedentary and that’s a mild way of putting it. In truth, comparatively speaking, it has made us want everything to be easy, quick and readily available. In the bargain, we’re becoming lazy and unhealthy. Everything is instant gratification… we want easy and fast.
“Barry L. Jacobs and colleagues from the neuroscience program at Princeton University showed that when mice ran every day on an exercise wheel, they developed more brain cells and they learned faster than sedentary controls. I believe in mice.”~Bernd Heinrich
If due to various reasons, running is not possible and highly unadvisable, as for me, the next best thing is walking! The main point is to do some form of exercise.
Fitness and Food
The other important thing is diet. This cannot be emphasized enough.
How does this combo tie-in with staying healthier? Well, both; what you eat and how you exercise are important in the larger picture. Just exercising without eating a healthy, balanced diet according to your needs, would not do much. And it applies vice versa too! I have benefitted more by following a restricted diet that is suited to my condition in tandem with recommended exercises.
However… the times they are a-changing.
There was a time when food meant fresh food cooked daily. Most people, I’ve met and spoken to, eat pre-cooked food bought at the super-stores, or canned stuff. They justify this by saying that they don’t have the time or that they don’t like to cook or anything that lets them off the cooking routine. The day has the same twenty-four hours for everyone, but time management is not the same for everyone… that’s got to be learned along with organization, which helps immensely.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”~Jim Rohn
I’m not just saying that because it’s the thing to say. I’ve done it, with two jobs going. As a single, working mom, with no one to whom I could delegate jobs, it was tough but possible. However, if I didn’t manage my time and didn’t #organize things at home, it would have become impossible. I could even do fast and easy meals without compromising on fresh, healthy, and delicious meals, three times a day, with the other domestic tasks done in time.
With time management & Organization.
I kept things simple. I had a simple, manageable, to-do plan for everything (even menus!). I divided them into holidays and weekend to-dos and weekday ones. This made it manageable and sustainable for a long period. It meant I could manage my time better, and it brought in routine. Though my weekdays were hectic with no time to indulge in any activity that sounded like “hobby” or “leisure,” it left enough time at the weekends; to relax and enjoy meeting friends and family or just sitting and reading or watching my fav shows.
The other thing is – Food – daily diet – cooking it!
“Cooking and baking is both physical and mental therapy.” ~Mary Berry
Balanced diets, freshly cooked home food and exercise involve time and work. So, if ever you don’t get time to exercise, a day or two, your work in the kitchen will stand in fine. Better than no exercise at all! But don’t make it a habit… nothing can substitute a good walk.
Everyone has 24 hours in their day. How you use those hours and how much you accomplish depends on how you plan your schedule, both, work (if you are a working woman) and your home chores. That means #discipline is important. You can draw up N-number of schedules and plans, but if you do not keep to it, it’s a sheer waste of time.
“Don’t we do enough work at our desks and don’t we deserve ‘easy and fast’, especially at home?”
Yes, you do work hard. Yes, you do deserve rest but would you want it even if it means compromises? I guess you’ll make the right choice here.
If your answer to that is “no compromise on exercise and fresh-cooked home meals,” you’re a part of the moving-toward-a-healthier-life minority, Yay!
But if it is a “Yes”…Hmm… can’t blame the chair for its #sarcastic #humor!