There’s a TV commercial for a well-known prescription arthritis drug. It shows a man sitting on a porch swing, doing nothing. The narrator says, “It’s simple physics. A body at rest tends to stay at rest while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms.” Then they want you to buy their medication. Talking about a body staying at rest, according to Dr. Mercola’s site, only 5% of adults meet governmental guidelines for physical activity and 1 in 4 get no physical activity at all.
The #1 health concern for children in the U.S. is inactivity, which of course leads to obesity. If sedentary adults are called “Couch Potatoes” then sedentary children, I guess, should be called “Tater Tots.” But that’s where the humor about this ends. Dr. Mercola’s website shares some alarming statistics reporting that only small percentage of schools provide P.E. classes for all their students. When I was a boy, most of us walked or rode our bikes to school, and then 100% of us were required to take P.E. every semester. When we got home, we would play hard outside till Mom made us come home for dinner. We ran, biked, jumped, played catch, and ran some more. Today’s youth text, play video games, watch TV, and surf the web instead.
What’s the outcome of this inactivity? Boredom, obesity, depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, and getting into trouble. And if this inactivity is maintained into the adult years, they will continue to have all these issues plus the added threat of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.
One of the great examples of how a person can get and stay active well into their advanced years is the movie actor Steve Reeves. In his heyday he played Hercules and other handsome, powerful roles. He was kind of the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the 1950s and 1960s. Three or four years ago Barbara Walters conducted a one on one interview with Steve. At one point Barbara said, “Gee, Mr. Reeves, you’re in your seventies and you still look like a Greek God, you must spend hours in the gym every day.”
He replied, “No, in fact, I never go into the gym.”
She said “Are you some kind of genetic freak or something?”
Reeves smiled and said, “Well I’m going on one of my workouts right now; would you like to come along?” Next you saw Reeves wearing an old gray sweat suit, heavy combat boots, and holding a 10 or 15 pound dumbbell in each hand. He said, “Okay, let’s go.”
Off they went down the street with Steve doing a high knee, arm pumping power march. Forty-five minutes later they arrived back at his home still pumping and breathing hard. “That’s it!” he said, “That’s all I do.” He was in such great shape, it would put a Navy Seal to shame. It doesn’t cost a lot to be physically active, but it does take a commitment.
Maxwell Maltz, PhD Psychologist, found that it takes 21 straight days of a new behavior to form a habit. Is your physical activity and wellbeing worth 3 weeks of effort in order to change the simple physics of a body at rest into a body in motion? Sure they are, but human nature is of the “I’ll start tomorrow” mentality. To which a poet stated:
He was going to be all a mortal should be, tomorrow.
No one would be kinder or braver than he would, tomorrow.
On a friend that was troubled and weary he knew,
Who’d be glad of a lift, and who needed one too,
On him he would call and see what he could do, tomorrow.
Each day he stacked up the letters he’d write, tomorrow.
And, thought of the souls that he’d fill with delight, tomorrow.
It was too bad indeed he was busy today,
And hadn’t a moment to stop on his way,
More time he would have, to give others he’d say, tomorrow.
The world’s greatest worker this man would have been, tomorrow.
The world would have known him, had he ever seen tomorrow.
But the fact is he died, and faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through,
Was a mountain of things he intended to do, tomorrow.
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