If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month. –Theodore Roosevelt
I’ve been sitting far too much lately. Sitting in strategy meetings; sitting on airplanes; sitting at my desk writing another book; sitting in restaurants at business dinners. My butt is flat! And I’m beginning to realise that all this sitting is not good for me, especially at my age.
I recently ran across an article about the relationship between excessive sitting and health. Basically, cardiac disease is significantly related to the amount of time spent sitting per day. This article, and related ones got my attention because I tend to sit a lot. It also frightened me a little, and here’s the back story to my concern.
My father died at age 79 after complications from surgery to fix a small aneurism on his aorta. Not a particularly complicated operation and neither the surgeon nor my father were very concerned. He would be up and around in a few days and would get back to normal in a relatively short time. Well, what everyone overlooked is the fact that my dad was not very active and a substantial amount of plaque had built up in his arteries, especially in his legs. As a result, his circulation system was partially blocked with a reduction on blood flow. So with the trauma of the surgery and a subsequent infection, his body had a hard time fighting back due to the restricted blood circulation. Then the infection turned into pneumonia. As I see it, it’s like trying to run a marathon with one leg and one lung. It’s just not going to happen. My dad never came home from the hospital and we buried him a week later.
I used to be extremely active. In fact, between the age of 43-48 I ran 15 marathons. But I can’t run anymore due to an old knee injury and cartilage damage, thus I am sitting more than ever. But, there is always a solution. So, if I can’t run three miles a day then I can start walking. And walking (although not as “macho”) is still very good for circulation, blood pressure, weight loss and mental health.
I have always been curious about the benefits of barefoot running, especially since as a marathon runner I constantly had bloody toes from the rubbing inside my running shoes. So, I now have a pair of Vibram 5-fingers running “shoes” for my walks around Hyde Park.
A while ago I wrote a blog about my experience at the Twin Cities Marathon years ago where about mile 20 I came across a 70+ year-old runner who told me his motto for a long and healthy life. “One foot in front of the other, sonny. One foot in front of the other!”
Tight Lines, and see you in the park (or on the trail)!