Cultural Musings



When was the last time you went on a three hour walk?

Dieting in America is a $20 billion a year industry and we will pay well for the best body in the shortest amount of time. I fall into this trap as quickly as anyone else. In the last year, I have started and stopped Weight Watchers 3 times, joined an expensive monthly gym that I rarely frequent and woken up almost every morning feeling bloated, ugly and dissatisfied with my body.

Like every girl, I have spent a large amount of energy, passion and brain cells trying to calculate the perfect formula for losing weight. However, since I am human, when it comes to dieting, exercise and general wellness, I have many flaws.

Funny then that every time I am in Europe I seem to weigh less. In France, I eat bread and butter, in Italy, I devour pasta and in Germany, I drink beer. Carbs, gluten, SUGAR, I eat and enjoy it all. Really there is only one difference between here and there.

I walk.

I have come to the conclusion that Americans think of time in blocks. You work from 9-5. You are given an hour off for lunch. You will then go to the gym after work. You will then go home to cook or meet with friends at a bar/restaurant. And the time spent getting from one block to the other should be kept to a minimum. But what happens if for some reason you are hounded by a huge amount of work? Or your best friend is having meltdown over her latest love? Life is messy and when you live your life in blocks somethings have to fall out. How often is it that exercise is what falls out?

What if exercise wasn’t a block? What if it wasn’t something that you felt like you had to do, but rather just a part of the rhythm of your everyday life. In Europe they have learned this. On this continent of plodders, for me, Germans stand out. This may be because I learned German watching Colombo traipse around Berlin (see video below,) but perhaps its something more…When they walk, they just keep going.

If Norwegians are born with skis on their feet, Germans are born with bikes under them. After a long and heavy meal, rather than taking a long nap, they get up and walk

and walk……

and walk………….

I’m not saying that Americans need to become the marathon walkers of the 1870s and 80s, but each one of us should ramble more.

Rambling gave Wordsworth his words. Rambling has been proven to be as effective as running. Sitting in our chairs all day we are slowly dying and losing our ability to think creatively.

It’s nice outside. So just get up and go for a walk.

More thoughts at 1, 2, 3

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