When I’m sitting I think, “Why am I just sitting here?”
So I stand.
Then I think, “If I’m standing I might as well do my stretches.”
So I stretch.
Then I think, “Since I’m stretching, I might as well walk.”
So I walk.
Then I think, “Biking is faster than walking. If I ride my bike I could return my books, save gas, and exercise.”
So I bike to the library.
Then I think, “Biking to the library isn’t far, I could bike around the lake.”
So I bike around the lake.
Then I think, “I’m tired. I’ll sit for a while.”
So I sit and then it starts all over again.
A while back Mike and I met our friends, Raida and Ned, in Lake Geneva for lunch. I mentioned to Mike that we could hike a portion of the Lake Geneva walking trail before meeting them. Or even better, Raida and Ned might want to hike as well!
What I thought a brilliant suggestion, Mike dismissed with an eyeroll. Specifically, he said, “You’d add activity to EVERYTHING we do.”
And he’s right, I would.
Apparently that’s annoying.
Going to the Civic Opera house? Let’s walk to Millennium Park for a cocktail first.
Grocery shopping? There’s a bike path to Jewel.
Boating on Crystal Lake? We could anchor and swim laps.
My need to move increased as I aged. For the most part my friends laced up their sneakers, pumped up their bicycle tires, and resigned themselves to a hike before cocktails.
Here are the ways to incorporate activity into your life and become a healthy annoyance to your friends and family.
Most mornings I stretch before my feet hit the floor. Upon waking, toes curl and ankles rotate (both clock and counter clockwise).
Do a downward dog, upward cat, or sideways cow upon waking. (Okay, I made up the last two.) Youtube a stretching double feature and then ACTUALLY follow along.
Round up your friends and challenge the current “largest simultaneous stretch in one location.” On August 8, 2011, twenty thousand five hundred thirty-four Australians stretched together before a fun run in Sydney.
No matter how flexible you become you won’t surpass the female octopus. She’s able to stretch her arm to twice the length.
Avoid these stretches; don’t stretch the truth, stretch yourself too thin, or stretch a point.
On a recent Michigan vacation, Mike and I hunted waterfalls. Mike anticipated leisurely shaded strolls to tumbling waters. The sign indicating 800 feet to Munising Falls neglected the detail that many of those feet involved climbing stairs.
“We’ve got to earn the view!” I said with more relish than I meant to reveal.
“I thought this was the easy one,” Mike said with no relish at all.
Tahquamenon Falls sported both a brink view (94 stairs) and a gorge view (181 stairs).
“I wonder if stair climbing is a recognized sport,” I said.
“I wonder if the brewery has stout,” Mike said.
(A side note to readers, stair climbing, officially tower running, is an organized sport and the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub carries Black Bear Stout. I don’t think there’s a sport combining stair climbing and beer drinking, but if there is it probably originated in Wisconsin.)
The Sable Falls sign reminded waterfall viewers of Newton’s third law: to every Action there is always an equal Reaction. The 168 stair descent becomes a 168 stair ascent after taking a selfie.
When shopping with friends offer to drive and park in the farthest space from the store. Once inside ditch the elevator and escalator and take the stairs.
Unless you’ve befriended a mountain goat, you may beat your friends up the stairs. A mountain goat climbs 1,500 feet in 20 minutes. Your friends, not so much. Wait for your pals and shout encouragement like “We’re almost there” and “I think the food court has a bar.”
Stair climbing strengthens bones and increases heart rate. One climbing to avoid is social climbing. A social climber drinks buckets of champagne and lays around on yachts. That’s not healthy.
I’ve reframed standing in line from a nuisance to, well, less of a nuisance.
Standing in check out lines and check in lines and waiting lines burn 100-200 calories per hour (even more if you impatiently tap your foot.) Standing versus sitting improves your balance, energy level, and mood (Except if you’ve been waiting in line to use the bathroom. Then the mood improves AFTER you’ve stood in line). Standing reduces the risks of heart disease and diabetes. It also eases back pain. Standing even reduces the risk of cancer by increasing circulation which reduces inflammation.
Once you’ve reached the head of the line at the grocery store, refrain from celebrating the achievement with an impulse Snickers purchase. Snickers does nothing for back pain.
When I FaceTime my friend, Mary Ellen, I often meander my within Wi-Fi coveraged garden sharing the latest hydrangea blooms. In return she offers glimpses of her potted plants. (Apparently Rockport, Texas isn’t know for fertile soil.) Little did we know that we were both keeping type 2 diabetes at bay.
Elephants and horses take standing to a higher level. Through a complicated system of tendons and ligaments that lock their joints, they sleep standing up.
While I hope that your hair doesn’t stand on end or you are ever perceived as standoffish, I do encourage you stand your ground and help your country become healthier and fairer.
Educate yourself about issues. Make an informed vote. Take a stand!