At a dinner conversation tonight, the topic turned to health and fitness.
The ladies in the group were discussing their various Crossfit successes, while we men congratulated ourselves on improvements caused by switching to lower-carbohydrate diets and better weight training principles.
The discussion broadened to the health plight of the Modern Human in general, and how the populations of rich countries are getting heavier and less healthy, even as the world makes progress toward lifting many of the poorest countries out of malnutrition due to poverty.
We wondered why with all the wealth and free information available out there, that most rich-country residents end up doing exactly what is worst for them: eating and drinking concentrated sugar, and remaining in a seated position for most of their waking hours. And we marveled at some recent conversations we had had with off-duty nurses and doctors, who reported that the medical industry is still focused on medicines and "cures" for symptoms, rather than lifestyle changes that could eliminate the underlying causes of disease much more thoroughly.
As Mr. Money Mustache, you already know I have such an uncompromising stance on things that it is impractical to come to me with complaints. If you have an ache or pain or any other problem, and you're not already a ripped, active, vegetable-chomping weight-lifting bicycle-sprinting dynamo with no major substance abuse habits, I'll tell you to start by fixing those glaring health oversights first, then see if any problems remain that need real medical attention. Since most people (including me) don't fully live up to this standard, there is always something to work on, and thus always hope and optimism that you can fix your own ailments.
But if you don't believe me, you might want to just start with a simpler prescription, like this one from a well-spoken doctor named Mike Evans:
In this cute little sketchy-marker whiteboard video, he explains the power of a prescription "medicine" that outperforms anything else that has ever been invented. It cuts knee arthritis symptoms by 47%, reduces dementia and Alzheimer's in older patients by 50%, Diabetes by 58%, Anxiety, Depression, Fatigue in people of all ages, improves longevity and even Sexiness... just about anything that ails you.
If we could all get our hands on it, our lives would be transformed for the better. And yet it is a medicine entirely in reach for most people.
It is, of course, none other than good, old-fashioned walking. But until you idolize it properly with statistics and warm thoughts like this, most people don't give much thought to the wonderful activity.
I've always been a bit of a walking enthusiast – as a kid I would go for walks far outside of the town's borders, exploring the riverbanks or walking over the big bypass bridge where nobody else tended to go without their cars. In high school, walking cured the blues of turbulent teen romances as well as getting me to and from my evening shifts at the convenience store on warm summer nights. I still go for long solo walks almost every day as a way to empty the brain and fill up the lungs with better air. In the daytime I walk along the neighborhood streets and creekside paths, but at night when the golf course is closed, I'll stroll across the fancy greens and admire the wide-open spaces, getting a good look at the black sky and the thousands of stars of Outer Space. Even though I'll ride a bike whenever I need to be somewhere in a hurry, there is something you get from walking that you can't get any other way. So if you've still got your legs, this is the way to say Thanks.
Your assignment for today is to walk just a bit more than you normally would, and to think about it and appreciate it just a bit more. Isn't it amazing how easily that collection of muscles and bones gets you around, just reading your mind and taking you wherever you want to go? How marvelous that you can do it with no license, no traffic laws, and no permission from anyone else. You can go up over the curb, step carefully through the garden, and walk right up to the door. You can stop wherever you like, and even run or fly for brief periods to cross puddles or gaps between the rooftops of highrise buildings.
Ken Ilgunas recently walked from Northern Alberta, through the entire United States, and ended up at the Gulf of Mexico. 1700 miles, entirely on his own feet, carrying his entire home on his back, one step at a time. If he can do that, then we can definitely crank out at least a mile or two of our own every day, right?
I hope you enjoy your dosage as much as I enjoy mine.