Today, I set out for a run with my dog. An avid Cesar Milan fan, I try to make sure Bailey gets plenty of exercise every day. Until Saturday that usually meant running a mile or so, which Bailey loved. Every time I put on my running shoes, he gets excited; it's his favorite half hour of the whole day, but we won't be running together any more.
Saturday, only minutes after starting our gentle warmup jog, Baily darted in front of me. Now, mind you, I keep him on a short leash, but he was on my left-hand side, and, apparently there was an incredibly irresistible smell coming from the grass to the right of the sidewalk.
I went flying, but only for an instant, because the next instant I was face down on the concrete. Luckily, my palms, knee, and shoulder took the brunt of the fall. Unfortunately, the sidewalk took part of them as well. Anyway, nothing was broken except my spirit, and that - anyone who knows me will attest - is hard to do.
It hurt a lot, as much because my dear Bailey caused it as because my wounds were painful. I limped home, telling Bailey we would not be running any more, and I meant it. It never seemed dangerous, but . . . next time I may break a bone, and so far I have a clean record in the broken bone department.
When I mentioned my fall to a friend, she told me that she once knew somone who broke her back when she tripped while running with her dog.
That was the second time it had happened to me. The first time was a couple of years ago when Bailey darted after another dog. That time, entangled in his leash, I hit the asphalt, but there was no blood. This time it's been several days, and I am still nursing my wounds with Neosporin and band aids.
So, today, I took Bailey to the dog park where he can roam off leash. Before I left, I was yearning to crack open a book I had just checked out titled Move a Little, Lose a Lot by James A. Levine, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic with Selene Yeager. I thought I would read on the bench at the park, but for some reason, I decided to try reading and walking. I had seen people do this before, occasionally, but I didn't think I could manage it. Reading in the car gives me a headache, so I just knew walking would do the same.
Well, it actually turned out very well. I walked two miles while falling in love with this book. Dr. Levine is right on target. No magical hocus pocus here, just common sense and a giant helping of that. The book's premise is that the obese population needs to get moving. Of course, everyone knows that, but his point is that people spend far too much time sitting, and humans really weren't meant to do that. It slows down our metabolism and burns very few calories. Now, I'm not obese, and I'm not overweight, but like most runners, I'd be delighted to lose ten pounds just the same.
Dr. Levine points out that just 50 years ago, our parents and their parents had no weight problems. They also walked to the grocery store, washed their own car - you get the picture. The main problem, he says, is that we sit too much. He calls it "sitting disease," and he says people who sit at a desk all day have a "desk sentence." Clever, but more importantly, true.
So, after reading just the first couple of chapters, I did something I had been planning for a while. When I got home, I located an appropriately sized piece of wood in our garage, attached it to my treadmill with bungee cords and, voila, I had a laptop station. I secured my laptop, and I am typing this post two miles into my new contraption's existence.
Levine is a world leader in the fight against obesity. He has influenced whole nations and transformed the populations of major corporations, teaching them to have walking conferences, outfitting them with treadmill workstations, and educating them about the simple steps they can take to improve their lives by moving more.
He doesn't have a problem with traditional exercise, but his point is that most people still only exercise a few hours a week. If we change our lifestyles to be more mobile throughout the day, it will make a huge difference because that ends up being many more active hours. Even if the calories burned are fewer per hour, multiplied by many hours, the impact can be huge.
While I get lots and lots of exercise via swimming, running, spinning, weight training, and biking, at least 8 hours a week, believe it or not, I still get a backache when I sit at the computer very long, no matter where I sit, no matter what chair I sit in.
Dr. Levine does says the human body was not designed for sitting; I know mine wasn't. When I was teaching school, I stood all day. Well, to be precise, I sat about an hour or two hours including lunch and conference period. Otherwise, I was on my feet. And I never had backaches. Yes, I am sure sitting is the culprit for me.
So, today begins my test. I'll review Dr. Levine's whole book when I finish it, and I'll report on my treadmill progress as well. In the meantime, Bailey is not terribly happy. He can't cuddle up against me while I am walking on the treadmill, but if he gets to go to the dog park more often, I guess he won't mind this new arrangement too much.