about physical fitness is not unlike writing about personal security.
I have not yet recovered from the devastating news of the attack
on our country nor do I expect to. The range of feelings that rapidly
invaded my system has thus flooded yours I am sure: sorrow, anger,
disgust, helplessness, vulnerability and fear.
year ago I took a drive to Colorado Springs to get away from the
old backyard, see the sights and restore my rusting perspective.
I hadn't left the Golden State before I began to relax and observe
the fleeting scenery and my fleeting gasoline; the gauge
read empty. The interstate off ramp offered a selection of fuels
and a wide choice of fast food joints. I pulled into an incongruous
cafe that boasted home cooking with a twenty-four hour breakfast
menu and dared them to ruin a ham and cheese omelet.
A family of four walked slowly in my direction and climbed into
the booth next to me. They looked tired, like it was a long hike
from the front counter but they made it. The dad was a gentle guy
who, after brief negotiations, ordered the food. Mom fussed in her
purse and passed what appeared to be recently snapped photos to
the kids, a girl and a boy in their middle teens. Comments were
made; smiles and reactions filled the table. They were good people
and when the food came I was saddened. I saw what was happening
and where these sweet folks were headed. They were silent while
they devoured their extra large portions of pasta, pizza, burgers,
fries and coke. They ordered dessert and I tried not to look.
parents were not yet forty, retaining remnants of attractive youth
and thirty extra pounds each. The kids were shy and cute and innocent
and held fifty too many pounds between them. I believe they all
knew it and I wanted to cry for the girl. I paid my bill and glanced
at the early evening crowd in the restaurant. There were a lot of
large people with forks in their hands and mouths busy at work.
was enlightening. I'd been ensconced on the California coast for
ten years and forgot what people outside my zone looked like. The
diversion I had originally planned took on another form. I started
to keep mental notes of the human condition now set in my mind.
The eating habits, the bulk and the lack of muscle tone, the attitude,
appearance and the countenance of the men, women, boys and girls
around me became my general focus.
I noticed a discomfort within me that I could not define. I was
happy yet discouraged. Life was good, roller coaster that it is,
yet I was depressed. I strive to be positive amidst the fray and
seldom fail. What was wrong?
through the mixture of emotions it became evident to me that I was
sorry for the condition of the majority of folks around me. They
were soft, unconditioned and vulnerable. Reasonably convinced I
was not assuming a superior or judgmental position, I continued
to probe my observations. We've strayed from physical activity and
have served up for ourselves a lifestyle of distractions from reality
and oversized platters of greasy and sugary food. We're slipping
and I'm afraid and appalled. That was the answer to my question,
"What was wrong?"
I'm not a crusader and don't I envision myself fighting crime or
the larger wrongs of the world. They're not acceptable but they're
inevitable. I leave them to the experts and authorities. However,
in the battle against the wrong we do to ourselves physically on
a daily basis I take up arms. This is individual, personal and controllable.
It's not illogical to say that to the degree that we neglect our
health and fitness, we neglect one another. Beware lest we become
weak, easy prey to resistance, ineffective and apathetic.
Might I present a suggestion? Start with an hour of exercise this
week... ten minutes a day and take Sunday off. Double it by the
end of the month and take two days off. Anything goes Get
moving... walk, walk and jog, walk with a weighted pack on your
back, carry small hand weights and walk up steep hills or climb
stairs wherever they can be found along the way. Push the iron.
Sweep your refrigerator, cupboards and counters of junk food.
a matter of personal and national security to exercise and to eat
right for good. Secure your own borders and support those around
you to do the same. When I run for president on the Fitness First
ticket, I promise protein on every table and a gym membership for
the whole family. Until that day, friends, let's think muscle and
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