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JACK SIMPSON: Falling victim to 'sitting disease'

There’s no question about it. This long, cold, miserable winter gave me a “sitting disease.” All I wanted to do in my spare time was stay inside where it was warm and cozy. Oh, sure I knew I should have been moving. “Use it or lose it” was on my mind and I felt guilty about not including vigorous exercise in my daily routine. I should have been trying to stay fit, but I got lazy, and besides it was too cold outside to enjoy yard activities.

I knew I had to get busy and decrease my risks for health complications. Staying active is important and diet is equally a factor to healthy living.

I’m a meat and potatoes man. I know I should limit my potatoes, my sugar, sodas, white bread, red meats, processed foods and fruit juices. But, orange juice with breakfast seems important to me, mashed potatoes with a grilled steak is a dandy weekend meal. Walking is painful. My knees and back hurt constantly — and when I sit, I’m more comfortable!

So, you see how I talked myself into “sitting disease.” Now I’ve seen the light and realize it is time to get up off my duff and do something about retaining my health.

I’m trying to drink more water and limit my intake of sodas. Besides a small glass of orange juice with breakfast, I’ve included more fruit and vegetables into my diet. Red meat is not on my menu many days of the week. I am not talking about potatoes just now, but they sure are good tasting, huh? Fried foods are a no-no. And, get this, I’m signed up for exercises at a wellness center and actually go work out on their machines three days a week!

So what I’m saying is I finally realized I was sitting too much at my desk job and in the evenings watching television news. I absolutely had to forget my pain and move because exercise was being programmed out of my life. I needed to burn more calories and it looked like the gym was the best place to start, at least until the return of warm weather.

I’m glad of my efforts to cure “sitting disease” and I am thankful for the help and guidance of therapists at Rockdale Medical Center. They have already taught me that 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill helps me burn 150 calories. They are helping me change old habits and declare war on constant sitting.

With the return of spring, I am hoping maintaining a small garden and a big yard will assist me in overcoming this winter’s acquired “sitting disease.” I am beginning to feel better already. Thanks health professionals for your advice, assistance and encouragement.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.