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206 Easy Street 2010-03-24

jogger on the greenway

The Nation is fighting a fat crisis. With Michelle Obama as the lead, stimulus money is being distributed to communities to help fight obesity.

The Tennessean announced that 7.5 million dollars was awarded to Nashville to help fund the program.

"If people don’t have a bike, the city will rent them one. If someone can’t drive to get an apple, the city will bring fresh fruits and vegetables to nearby stores. If people won’t stroll outside because of a lack of sidewalks, the city will build them."

The plan sounds great and I hope it works; but it goes against a principle of the American way - the easy street.

I was born in the ’50s. My parents and grandparents told stories of the hardships of their youth such as: Walking to school for two miles, all uphill, in two foot of snow... Working in the fields in the heat of the summer days... Living without air conditioning... No television... Having to eat food they grew instead of store bought... etc. Their lives were hard and all they wanted was to make life better for their children.

‘Go to school, get a good job, and you will be on easy street. You will have the luxury of the wealthy,’ they charged.

Their mind set was driving a big Cadillac was easy street; walking was for the poor and bicycles for kids. Living in a big house with a big yard and hiring someone to mow it was easy street; mowing your own yard was for the struggling. Owning the latest labor saving invention was easy street, labor was bad.

Now, well into the twenty-first century their ideology has not changed. Americans are still looking for easy street and our waistlines reflect that to some degree we all have found it. We have made life so labor free that our bodies have evolved into desk sitting, car driving, couch potato-ing, video gaming sluggards.

Easy street has been found by the rich and the poor. Addresses include residents from all nationalities. Everyone wants the life of ease and adapts to that lifestyle with all their means.

Our bodies have adapted to that easy lifestyle. They have melded into the easy chair on easy street waiting patiently for a life threatening disease. The life of ease has no resistance.

Before changing the obesity rate, we must first change the social norms. Living on Easy Street, the American way or not, leads to a dead end.

Instead of looking for Easy Street, we need to start doing chores once again. Start our own gardens. Mow our own grass. Use walking and biking as transportation. Lose the remote control. Look for ways to incorporate exercise into our every day lives. Encourage those who are exercising. Praise those who are working.

By increasing our everyday activities and eating better our bodies will once again adapt to an active, work filled lifestyle. It is not living on Easy Street, but living life at its fullest.

Happy fitness trails.


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