The Wedensday "Living" section of my local newspaper has the theme of "Health" and I read the article today about the signifcant rise in obesity among Asian youth. A study showed that in America, 43% of Asian teens eat fast food daily, as compared to 35% among Caucasian teens. Now, granted that those making up the 43% might fall into that category because they eat one bag of potato chips a day, but other numbers support the contention that they are simply getting fatter.
The reasons? It's not cultural and likely the same for anyone reading this who knows they are carrying a load. "Asian American families tend to be less physically active, more home-oriented and more screen-oriented than other groups," one expert is quoted.
Screen-oriented, hmmm . . . . I am not posting here to pick on Asians but this article supports a thought I had last night while at my Tae Kwan Do (the Rex Kwan Do franchise hasn't made it yet to my neighborhood - bow to your sensei!) class. Ya gotta get out. Ya gotta get up from the desk and have a scheduled activity outside of the home and away from the desk at least a couple of nights each week. And I am not necessarily talking about a physical activity of some sort, although that would be great.
My thought is this - for better health, you have to stimulate both mind and body. Now, this may sound odd coming out of my Catholic mouth, but for many out there, getting out to Mass does not cut it. Why? Because, like work, it has become routine - I am not using the word "routine" to imply "boring", but simply because it is familiar to you to the point that it is more like a warm-up for your mind than a work-out (although always a life saver to your soul).
But, let's say you do not normally do The Stations of the Cross and now it is Lent (or will be in less than a week!) and so you join a group to do them (Friday nights at St. Joseph if you're interested). Chances are, you leave feeling a bit more stimulated, at least mentally - sure, you have just given your cranium something different to work on and combined with the spiritual gift it brings, the dopamine is a-flowin'!
I know for many of you the weather outside is frightful - but that's why God made parkas. Or if you have to stay inside, when was the last time you took on your spouse with a game of Scrabble (new rule: double points for profanities in foreign languages - but if the kids are already in bed, triple points for x-rated material)? Reading a recent post over at Gem of the Ocean reminded me how much of my knoweldge of the Russian language has become moribund, so maybe it is time to dedicate one hour each week to reviewing grammar and vocabulary so I can at least comprehend some 20% of "Voina ee Mir" ("War and Peace"). My MVP (Most Valuable Paralegal) has been hitting the swimming pool for laps and a water aerobics class - exercise that is easy on her joints and back, but more importantly, it's like a bit of summertime (bathing suit!) in the midst of what has lately been cold and rainy weather in Southern California. Or, if you absolutely have to watch "American Idol", go to some bar (yes, there are nice joints) and watch it in a different setting, or take that book you are reading and find the local coffee house to sit in and read it.
The Internet is a wonderful invention, as is radio and television, as are books - but even the most ardent bibliophile has to agree that if all you experienced out of life came from printed material, you are getting the most from it.