ODE TO THE “E WORD”
Isn’t it a sweet surprise
That play is a workout in disguise.
Chic gym clothes can never glamorize
The boring drudge of exercise.
S.U.N.S. SILLYASS FITNESS is serious-not-solemn exercise with goofy grins, funny grunts and a LAFF EVRY DAY.
“The JOYrontologist” recommends: Don’t work out…play!
Sitting is killing more Americans than smoking tobacco. We are designed to keep moving, and most of us simply quit doing stuff if it isn’t adding joy.
James Owen, author of “Just Move: A New Approach to Fitness After 50,” says the secret is simply to get started moving more. Owen warns against using the “E word,”—“Think of it as movement, not exercise. The key is slow and steady progress.” The author, a retired Wall Street executive, began his personal movement program after seeing a video of himself at 70, hunched over and shuffling. Now 81, Owen exercises an hour a day, six days a week and considers it a joy.
S.U.N.S. SILLYASS FITNESS is not so silly, after all. Frisbee golf, which costs almost nothing, is better for your heart, your balance, your health and your wallet than traditional, pricey golf. Dancing, whether classical ballet, “The Time Warp” or belly dancing burns more calories than weightlifting does.
Unless you are trying to sculpt your body to achieve a particular physique, your fitness goal should be to enjoy about 20-30 minutes of heart-pumping movement daily, or at least four times each week.
Here are some playful ways to get you moving more:
CHICKEN FAT was the silly-but-serious theme song for President John F. Kennedy’s American youth fitness program. An estimated 7 million copies of the “Chicken Fat” movement song were pressed for free by Capitol Records and distributed to elementary and junior high schools across the USA. Written by Broadway composer Meredith Wilson and performed heartily by Robert Preston, star of Broadway’s “The Music Man,” the upbeat marching tune instructs like a Jane Fonda workout video on laughing gas. Free on YouTube. Get moving and “GO YOU CHICKEN FAT, GO!”
DIDDLY SQUATS Human bodies were designed for lots of squatting. Think of all those centuries prior to someone inventing “the chair.” When Moses and the Israelites were wandering those 40 years in the desert, no one brought a lawn chair. Their destiny was to be squatters on the Promised Land. Squatting doesn’t always look so graceful, but it’s a great way to firm your thighs, build core strength for basic moves like turning and bending and to avoid injuries. Plie’ is the ballet term for squatting with your feet turned out to an angle, but if you just can’t picture yourself as a ballerina, you could always do some “Sumo squats.” Diddly Squats are free to all and can be done anywhere.
WALKING IS NATURAL WELLBUTRIN Antidepressant drugs are useful for some people, but just about everyone can benefit from strolling along a “positivity path” of their own. Walking is really inexpensive and available to most. The emotional uplift is especially effective when you take your silly ass for a walk in nature. Hey baby, take a walk on the wild side.
YOGA BEAR Adriene Mishler, an actress, writer and international yoga instructor, beams from Austin, TX. Her YouTube channel “Yoga with Adriene” has 11 million subscribers because it’s a fun, FREE, super-positive, sometimes silly way to add some serious movement for people of all ages and health stages. Many yoga practitioners are a bit too “precious” and “self-serious” for my taste, but “Yoga with Adriene” Mishler is a joy.
KA-POW BATMAN AIR PUNCH New York City wellness expert Robert Brace suggests this four-minute routine to get moving each day: 20 seconds each of Batman “air punches,” running/walking in place, jumping jacks and “Diddly Squats”—push yourself to do these as fast as you can, rest between exercises and repeat. KA-BOOM you fitness villains! Everybody has four minutes to get a bit more fit. Two S.U.N.S. SILLYASS FITNESS Batman quotes: “Holy rusted metal, Batman!”—Robin and The Riddler in “Batman Returns”—“Joygasm!”
JUG BAND Put on some peppy music. Start with a half-gallon jug of wine or chocolate milk in each hand. Walk 30 yards out and 30 yards back or around a room several times if indoors. Don’t hunch over as you feel your glutes firing while you walk. If this silliness makes you too solemn at first, dial it back to 10 yards out and 10 yards back. Once your muscles build up, you can increase the distance and move to gallon jugs. It’s not a coincidinky that dairy maids and little, old winemakers don’t have skinny arms. (This fitness idea was inspired by Pete Williams, a NASM-certified personal trainer.)
JUMP UP AND DOWN LIKE A CRAZY PERSON This SILLYASS FITNESS suggestion comes from Reader’s Digest, March 2021: “Maintain Strong Hips: Keeping both feet planted on the ground seems like a good way to avoid shattering a hip. However, a study from Brigham Young University found that women ages 25-50 who jumped in place ten times in a row twice a day upped their hip bone density in just 16 weeks. Find a spacious, flat spot and rest 30 seconds between hops.”
STRETCH HEARTSTRONG You may not be a Hasbro action figure, but stretching is still good fun for heart strength and fitness. Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan published results in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, which indicate adding stretching to your regular walks significantly reduces blood pressure, as walking helps to lessen heart-clogging body fat.
ONE-MINUTE MOTION SNACK You don’t need to change into gym clothes for this nor pencil it into your daily calendar. Simply add some short bursts of movement into your day. Get up from your desk and do some wall push-ups or Zorro “Z lunges.”
“RAJIO TAISO” is how 25 million people in Japan start their days with a calisthenics class broadcast on public radio. This fitness initiative began in 1928 and is intended to not only add SMILE-MAKING joy to listeners, but also bring the joy of UNITING to people throughout the country’s many islands. The idea came from the United States, where, in many urban areas, Metropolitan Life Insurance sponsored 15-minutes of workout instructions each day. The timing seems right in a very divided and sedentary America for this idea to be revived.
DO YOUR OWN VALET PARKING The next time you dine out, park a few blocks away from the restaurant. Arriving after stretching your muscles is the new stretch limousine.
“DIGNITY SCHMIGNITY,” DANCE WHEN and WHERE YOU DANG WELL FEEL LIKE IT The world is your own, private go-go cage. If you wanna do “The Twist” in the Taco Bell parking lot, go for it. If you and a friend want to play like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dancing at the planetarium—may the stars light your way. More dancing, por favor, and less sitting on the sofa gawking at “Dancing with the Stars.” (Note to fellow oldsters: Worldwide, according to recent statistics, almost a third of people over 65 take an unintended tumble each year. Dance activities reduce this risk almost 37%. Dancing improves balance, mobility and lower-body strength.)
S.U.N.S. SILLYASS FITNESS is light-hearted, fun, serious-not-solemn movement that gives you and others joy. It could be the SMILE-MAKING of creating your own Ministry of Silly Walks like those consummate joy-givers of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and shaking your maracas, and trampolining, and orienteering, and hula hooping, and fake fencing and… You could have some UNITING joy jitterbugging with your partner or “gossip walking” with your ya-ya sisterhood/brotherhood. You could move your muscles and some plants while NEIGHBORING in a community garden. The term “in the flow” was first used about those athletes who get lost in the moment as they are vigorously moving in ways that are SPELLBINDING.
“The JOYrontologist” recommends: START SOME SILLYASS FITNESS TODAY! DON’T WORK OUT…PLAY!
SILLYASS ODES TO FITNESS FROM OTHERS
“I need to get more fit. If I were murdered today, my chalk outline would be a circle.”
“Life has its ups and down, let’s call them ‘Diddly Squats.’”
“Fitness is poor man’s liposuction.”
“Sweat is your fat crying.”
“I like long walks, especially when they’re taken by people who annoy me.”
“Whenever I hear that ugly “E-word” exercise, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.”
“If your dog is fat, you’re not walking enough.”
“I do jumping jacks early in the morning before my brain knows what I’m doing.”
“My favorite activity at a fitness class is judging.”
“Refusing to get off the sofa is not resistance training.”
“My fitness goal: One chin.”
JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK
Aug. 27—Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens
Aug. 28—Luis Guzman
Aug. 29—Temple Grandin
Aug. 30—Cameron Diaz
Aug. 31—Buddy Hackett
Sept. 1—Lily Tomlin
Sept. 2—Katt Williams
HOT AS KALE PEPPERS—NEW JERSEY
Each week, “The JOYrontologist” shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. This delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many gerontologists believe holds the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life.
- 1 pound kale, large stems removed, chopped, or use frozen chopped kale
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 2 hot peppers, minced, or 1 heaping tbsp. of Portuguese crushed red pepper from a jar
- 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 medium whole tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- To cook the kale, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chopped kale and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until stem portions are tender. Or follow directions on the package, if frozen.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat; cook onion until just tender.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
- Add crushed red peppers, kale and vinegar; cook, stirring for 1 minute longer.
- Add chopped tomato, salt and peppers; heat through.
- Serve as a side dish.
1,070 JOY-GIVING THINGS FROM MY FIRST 70 YEARS (continued)
752. Silly Putty
753. Singing silly songs like “On Top of Spaghetti”
754. Having a friend like Eddie Glover who had a trampoline
755. Jumping rope with the kids when I was a student teacher
756. Doing the “Hokey Pokey” on roller skates
757. Gaining respect for Olympic figure skaters after repeated falls on the ice
758. Being the neighborhood “Prince of Pogo Stick Jumping”
759. Sack-racing at a rural Alabama school
760. Geo-caching with my super-active pal, Graham
761. Climbing to the top of the Vulcan monument before it had an elevator
762. A spray can of Silly String
764. “Dusting off the Oldies” to deep clean a filthy house
765. “Ben-Hur” chariot races on banana-seat bikes
766. Silly soap and crazy foam
767. Wiffle ball and Nerf ball
768. Slip n’ Slide
769. Frozen “Turkey Toss” bowling in a shopping center parking lot for a compassionate cause
770. Sliding down his carpeted staircase on cardboard with Governor “Big Jim” Folsom
772. The silliness of stopping a car for a funny, frantic Chinese fire drill
HAPPY, SILLY, JOYFUL NEW WEEK!Read all the installments in this series at www.cullmantribune.com/tag/odes-to-joy-2022.