It?s time to get off the ol? duff

The not-so-harsh winter is over and so are the lame excuses. Research says it. Statistics back it up. You know it?s true. I know it?s true. Getting some exercise is good for us. All that?s left is to get off the ol? duff and exercise.

It?s not my nature to tell others what to do, so I won?t tell you to get some exercise. However, I will strongly encourage you to consider it.

Notice, I didn?t say run a marathon. I didn?t say run 10 wind sprints. I didn?t even say run. Just do something.

Walk the dog. Ride a bike. Lift a few weights. Do something.

If you live in Hillsboro and have an urge to drink a chocolate shake, at least take a walk to Sonic or Wendy?s, whichever is farther away, to get it.

And I?m not just talking to the adults, who should know better.

Kids, did you know young children who lead sedentary lifestyles are up to six times likelier to be at serious risk of heart disease later in life than active peers, according to one study? If you don?t know what sedentary is, run to your local library and look it up. It will be good for you.

Obesity is the epidemic of the new millennium. During the last two decades, the proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight has steadily risen.

We know that television watching and computers contributes mightily to the predominant sedentary behavior among American children, second only to sleeping.

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that watching more than two hours of television a day was responsible for causing a fifth of the normal-weight children to become overweight three years later. The data provides support that television is a factor for causing obesity.

Frank Booth, professor of physiology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has gone so far as giving the couch-potato condition a medical name: Sedentary Death Syndrome, or SeDS (saids).

Watching TV is problematic, not only because the sofa or recliner gets overused, but it tends to lead to increased snacking of unhealthy foods. In fact, if you want a challenge, try to find a product featured in a commercial on programs aimed at a children?s audience that doesn?t contain sugar.

Booth says SeDS is responsible for about 250,000 inactivity-related deaths a year.

If you?re one of those who abandoned your New Year?s resolution to exercise before the ink on the paper was dry, never fear. Today is a good day to start.

I?m guessing that the few people who are unable to exercise for physical reasons would gladly trade with those of you who are physically able but choose not to exercise.

Most people who can and should exercise don?t because it takes too much time and effort. These are the people who ask, ?What?s easier than getting up at 6 a.m. to go running?? Uhh, not getting up at 6 a.m. to go running.

But that?s just an excuse, and not a very good one.

Lest you think I?m suggesting that everyone go on a fitness kick, here are some practical and relatively easy ways to get started.

Change TV channels the old fashioned way; stand up and go over to the TV rather than flick the remote control.

Use the bathroom that?s furthest away at home, so you have to walk to get there.

Don?t eat as many fried foods.

Don?t use the drive-through; instead park and walk.

Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Oh wait, we don?t have many of those in Marion County.

Finally, don?t be like the person who said, ?I exercise religiously. I do one sit-up and then say, ?Amen!??

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