Lexington can change its sedentary ways

June 30, 2011 

The London Daily Mail online carried a beautiful photo of the Lexington skyline Monday with the phrase "City of laziness.

For the Los Angeles Times, the headline suffices: "Most sedentary city in the U.S.? Sorry, Lexington."

They were, of course, referring to the ranking in Men's Health magazine of 100 U.S. cities according to activity level that was also reported in the Kentucky News Review on Kentucky.com.

This is news we shouldn't take sitting down.

Indeed, if we would just shove ourselves up out of a slump on the couch, click off the remote and stand up and fight, we'd probably move out of last place.

The finding isn't about the number of marathoners in a community or how many people sweat away daily in a gym. It's literally about how much people move doing simple things like talking on the phone, communicating with co-workers, getting from one floor to another, shopping, etc.

Recently, Women's Health magazine set out how a 140-pound woman could double her calorie burn by substituting things like cooking at home (128 calories) for ordering takeout (96); Playing Wii (178) for playing a seated video game (32); or making out (96) versus watching TV (64.) You get the idea. Your heart doesn't have to pound but you should at least know it's there.

For the more ambitious: Go slow. Each year as thousands line up to run the Bluegrass 10,000 on July 4, thousands more vow they'll run or walk it next year. But few get there in part because they're not willing to take a year to get into 10K shape; they want to do it tomorrow.

Better to set reasonable goals for each of the 12 months and get moving. It might be walking a half-mile in the neighborhood twice in the first week then adding a block or two each week.

By month three or four, plan an outing to the Legacy Trail (mylegacytrail.com) or the Town Branch Trail (townbranch.org/map).

Looking ahead to cold weather, think about touring around the office, a mall or simply parking farther away when you work, shop or go to a movie. Just start moving and keep going. It's easier to stay on track if you have company. So ask family members, friends or neighbors to lace up and join you.

A final note: Don't always text or e-mail. Walk over to someone, or at least pace while you talk on the phone.

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