Breaking a sweat.

I’ve just had a meeting with a nurse. She was a big, cheerful Ghanian lady who’s job description I concluded must be to tell you off about your health while smiling a lot and occasionally blasting out one of those brilliant, massive belly laughs that you only get from certain people from certain places in the world. I just can’t imagine people laughing like that in Finland.

The reason for my visit was that now I’ve turned 40 (well, 41 actually) my body is telling me I need to slow down a bit. Sometimes it’s a bit muffled so I just ignore it but it soon clears it’s throat and tells me again and I suppose it’ll only do that a certain number of times until it stops. And that’s when I’ll stop. Drop. Dead.

My liver is a little out of shape but not too bad all things considered. I’ve always liked drinking far much more than is advisable so I am slowing down a little to find a balance. My cholesterol is also a touch over what it should be but given I could happily eat a diet of cheese, saucisson, crisps and chocoloate that’s hardly revelation of the month. I just need to watch my meals a bit more. Finally  it turns out that my blood clots ever so slightly faster than your average person’s blood so all in all I need to be more ‘mindful’ of how much shit goes into me. Simple really.

In my defence I’m not overweight, I only smoke when I drink and I do exercise regularly. And that means proper exercise like treadmills and lifting heavyish things and turning red and sweaty in front of lots of people who are much fitter. In every sense. At least in this department I’m OK and what’s more encouraging is that I could be doing so, so much worse.

According to the BBC some people in this country are abysmally unfit and if they don’t start breaking into a canter fairly soon they’ll be cold and grey and filling a hole in the ground. Apparently in the 40-60 age range in England 1 in 6 deaths are related to inactivity and, get ready for this, 41% don’t manage a brisk 10 minute walk per month. That’s a brisk 10 minute walk. PER MONTH.

Surely I can’t be alone in finding that insane. In a 30 day month there are 45,000 minutes and 41% of our middle aged population can’t find 10 of those minutes to get off their arse and walk slightly faster than they would in a supermarket. They’re not being asked to run a fucking marathon or become Daley Thompson. Just walk, then walk a little bit faster until it’s ‘brisk’ and then don’t stop, even if you really, really want to until 10 minutes are up. Then you can go back to whatever you want to for the remaining 44,990 minutes of your month. Not too hard is it, you lazy bastards? Mind you I come from a family of brisk walkers so maybe its all relative. My Dad walks briskly for roughly 23 hours a day.

And if people don’t starting walking with a more pronounced level of ‘briskness’ presumably they’ll all die a bit younger. There must be solutions. One could be to really build up the population of large wild animals in England. Like releasing wolves in Scotland we could have tigers and lions and hyenas, even cobras and crocodiles, just distributed to random parts of the country and allowed to procreate at will. And then you could create a law that says EVERYONE must leave their houses for a minimum of 10 minutes a day. Now that would get people walking.

Or I suppose you could spend a horrific amount of money on under-heating every pavement and path to a ferocious, near volcanic temperature, high enough to melt the soles of your shoes to the soles of your feet in under a second. That, I think you’ll find, would make people want to walk faster as well.

Or just leave it as it is. Since no one can be bothered to suggest assisted dying laws just let the chronically idle keel over early and free up some of the financial burden further down the line. I’m doing my bit with a glass of wine and a plate of Stinking Bishop. I reckon my way’s more fun.

G B Hewitt. 25.08.2017

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