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January 10, 2006

Exercise (1)

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Suppose you're an expert, even an authority figure. Let's say you're the medical establishment! As you'd expect, everyday people come to you in good faith looking for useful and trustworthy advice. Perhaps they want to be fit and healthy, and to feel physically better! Let's say you give them your field's best advice. And let's say it turns out that almost no one is able to follow it.

How would you explain this result? Would you wonder if something's amiss with your advice? Or would you conclude that everyday people are hopeless, disgraceful failures?

It seems to me that, when reality proves balky, all too many experts put the blame on reality. Experts do seem to love looking at their studies, consulting with their peers, and laying their logically-deduced and inescapable advice on the rest of us. When we protest against it, dodge it, or drop out entirely, their response is to wash their hands contemptuously of us. After all, we aren't experts -- thus we must be losers.

So it's a thing to be cherished and applauded when the experts show evidence of questioning their own role in this dynamic. Maybe impossible-to-follow advice contributes to making the original problem -- the one the expert advice was supposed to solve -- worse. Perhaps inhuman attitudes make many people rebel. Radical thought: Perhaps the experts' job isn't to boss us civilians around; perhaps it's to serve us. If the experts are handing out advice that 95% of us are unable to make use of, perhaps that isn't evidence of our inadequacy. Perhaps it's a sign that the experts have failed.

Testy though I probably sound, these are in fact grateful reflections prompted by time spent with an excellent new how-to-be-healthy book, Dr. Harvey Simon's "The No Sweat Exercise Plan." Simon is a Harvard Med School doc who has taken note not just of the familiar fact that many Americans are leading sluggish, TV-addled, movement-free lives. (Interesting figure: the average American spends 101 minutes of the average day sitting in a car.) He has also taken note of the fact that most people haven't proven to be capable of being regular cardio-aerobic exercisers.

This is no "You're outta shape, now get your sorry ass to the gym!" book, in other words. After all, as well-established as is the fact that many Americans are in sloppily-bad shape, so is the fact that very few people are capable of being regular gym maniacs.

Although I'm as un-expert as a person can be, I still don't find this remotely surprising, do you? The prospect of exercising, sheesh ... You grit your way through a grueling cardio routine, you follow it up by pushing around a few weights -- and then you have to do it again tomorrow. And so on, unto eternity. Aches, pains, injuries ... What's appealing about this prescription? Isn't it enough to slog through the commute, stay awake at work, tend to the house, keep the larder stocked and the bills paid, and not lose track of family and friends? Who's got will enough to put out yet more effort? Why should it come as a surprise to anyone that most people look at the usual medical-establishment advice to get out and jog and say "The hell with that noise"? Yell at the population to strap on the heart monitor and start pumpin', and the result is going to be the sound of millions of remotes turning the big-screen tube on.

Harvey Simon wants to work with people as they have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be, not as studies say they should be. Not only does he know the medicine and science, he's a human being. Hmmm: Perhaps there's a connection between "knowing how to be useful and helpful" and being a human being ...

The gist of Simon's book is that you can get a lot of the benefits of hardcore exercise without the sweat. Not all of the benefits; the truly devoted will earn some payoffs too. (Provided they don't hurt themselves, of course.) But the truly-devoted will never make up more than about 5% of the general population. The good news for the rest of us is that we don't have to be one of them in order to live a lot better than we generally do.

According to Simon, the key fact to understand is that any kind of physical activity is good. Any kind. In fact, the biggest improvement in health and well-being doesn't take place when a healthy person kicks it up another ambitious notch. It takes place when someone completely sedentary starts to do something -- anything -- on a regular basis.

Here's an article that Simon has written for Newsweek explaining his thesis. Startling passage:

In a Seattle study, gardening for just an hour a week appeared to lower the risk of sudden cardiac death by 66 percent, and walking an hour a week reduced it by 73 percent; in the Netherlands, men who walked or biked for at least one hour a week enjoyed a 29 percent lower mortality rate than sedentary men, and in the United States, walking at least a mile a day reduced the risk of heart disease by 82 percent over a 10-year period.

An hour of walking a week reduces mortality by 29%; a mile of walking a day reduces heart disease by 82%. That's not a lot of exercise in the usual sense, yet it delivers striking improvements in health.

Let's see: This kind of thing is do-able, and it's rewarding ... That's a combo a lot of people may find appealing. It may be that we need goals we can reach, and projects that we can succeed at and feel good about. Some of Simon's tips: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Don't park right next to the supermarket; park a few rows away. When the weather's nice, go out for a walk with your honey. Enjoy your garden. Play golf. Do your own vacuuming.

Oh, and all that TV-watching? One Harvard study found that "heavy-duty TV watching increases the risk of developing diabetes by nearly 250 percent, even when the effects of obesity are taken into account." One of the most important physical acts you can perform for the sake of your health and well-being is to hit the remote's "off" switch.

Praise the Lord for expertise, but praise Him even more for experts who have a human core. According to the usual arts experts, for instance, if you dislike (or don't "get") spikey new architecture or bizarro lit, it's because you simply aren't trying hard enough. Either that, or you're hopelessly stupid.

Does acquiring expertise make people lose track of their humanity? Or is it that the people who become experts are likely to be inhumane in the first place? Why are so many experts like the jerks who harangued us about exercise for decades, and so few of them like Harvey Simon?



posted by Michael at January 10, 2006


I am convinced that physical exercise is highly beneficial to one's enjoyment of life and overall well-being.

However, I agree that exercise as medicine sucks. If you don't enjoy it, and your time is valuable, I don't blame you for not doing it.

And I am skeptical about the "66% reduction in sudden death" as a benefit of gardening etc. There's probably some benefit, but it's possible that the results are confounded by the possibility that people who are already sick are less likely to be active. (Do the studies take such issues into account?) I don't think one can evaluate such studies without paying closer attention to the their methodology than most people are likely to do.

The strongest insight here is that it's important to do activities that you enjoy. Not only are you more likely to keep doing them, but the enjoyment itself is a major benefit.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 10, 2006 2:18 PM

(Interesting figure: the average American spends 101 minutes of the average day sitting in a car.)

Reminds me of the discussions I often had with the boys I knew in my teens, whom all wanted to have a nice car.

'And where do you want to go to in that nice car?' I would ask innocently.

That question is stil standing. Where do all those people want to go in their cars?

Posted by: ijsbrand on January 10, 2006 3:15 PM

What a great post! I have also heard the 'every bit helps' approach to exercise- maybe it was from the same guy- and I cling to it as encouragement.

I have in the past been able to maintain a more vigorous and traditional workout schedule for months at a time, but once I plateau, it's not long before I fall out of the routine. Eventually, I start working out again and the cycle repeats.

It's easier to hit smaller goals of moving more each day because then it's more incorporated into my life as opposed to a chore I set time aside for.

Also, I've read that having stairs in your house really helps people stay stronger. For older adults especially, there is a significant decrease in strength if they move to a single floor home. E.g., my dad wants to move to a ranch style house, thinking ahead to the time when he won't be able to walk up stairs, but if he does, he'll actually precipitate that lack of mobility.

Posted by: claire on January 10, 2006 3:45 PM

Uhhhhhh, none of this is remotely new and these sorts of solutions had been advocated for ages. I mean, Oprah magazine and Jenny Craig and the nightly newscast are all about this kind of 'humanizing' of how to move around and lose weight. I see the fun you're having with this post, but this type of information is widely available, *even* by doctors and nurses and nutritionists and other expert-type people. A bit of a strawman set up, eh? Or, did you have some silly doc tell you to do hard-core cardio for like, five hours a day with a trainer instead of trying out these simple, common sense things? Can't imagine any of my colleagues doing such a thing.....

*This is a bit like people saying, how come they keep changing the food pyramid when they keep eating at McDonalds. Why do you care, you weren't going to change your eating habits anyway?

**And before I come off as an insensitive doc, let me just say that I have MS and have tried many MS diets and dealt the MS fatigue. I am so aware of the way you can set yourself up to fail....sometimes, it's not the experts.

Posted by: MD on January 10, 2006 4:00 PM

Claire, it seems to me that stairs can greatly increase the risk of falls. Given the brittle bones old folks often have, this is a recipe for being laid up for a long time with a broken leg or cracked pelvis -- this can ruin one's exercise program. Better a one-level house combined with a daily stroll, methinks.

Michael, nice article. From time to time I've been known as an expert in a tiny field that, thankfully, had nothing to do with telling people how to lead their lives. And I'll admit being an "expert" when young-ish (mid-30s) went to my head just a tad. Nowadays, when I hear or see the word "expert" in the media I feel like grabbing my wallet and running for cover.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on January 10, 2006 4:03 PM

It is a great post

"According to the usual arts experts, for instance, if you dislike (or don't "get") spikey new architecture or bizarro lit, it's because you simply aren't trying hard enough. Either that, or you're hopelessly stupid."

I just sat for a coffee in a very sunny mexico city looking at very average architecture and wondering why things are so much more beautiful here... I had dinner a few nights ago with a cambridge educated practicer of Pretensia who told me that he thought there was no good architecture in Mexico. I assume he has visited mid-town manhattan.

Posted by: James on January 10, 2006 4:04 PM

Dr. Simon's book sounds as if it makes some important points, though I believe he may be somewhat overstating the benefits of a minimal amount of exercise. I'll second Jonathan's prior comment and suggest that many completely sedentary people may be in poor health to begin with and therefore skew the results.

Motivation problems with respect to regular gym-going or other forms of serious exercise tend to be short-lived. While it may be difficult to drag yourself to the gym/pool/running track/etc. when you first start exercising, if you can make it through the first month or so you quite well might find yourself getting addicted to exercise, miserable if something disrupts your regular schedule. Weight training and running seem to be the most addictive activities, though I don't care to guess why.

Posted by: Peter on January 10, 2006 4:05 PM

This sounds like a very smart idea.

Posted by: Peggy Nature on January 10, 2006 4:27 PM

Gina Kolata, author of Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth About Exercise and Fitness, said in what I found to be an interesting interview about "Fitness Myths and Facts":

"This is the way I end my book and I think it sums up the message:

"One day, I get an email from Richard Friedman, the avid swimmer and psychophamarcologist at the Cornell Medical School. He knows I'm writing this book and he has a question: 'Are you planning to tell the truth about exercise?' he asks me.

"I write back. What, I ask, is the truth?

"'Ah, the truth about exercise?' he replies. 'Well, I suspect that exercise is more often a marker of health than its cause -- healthy people like to exercise more than unhealthy people, to start with. And the real value of it is not in terms of abstract health benefits like longevity -- an extra few hours or maybe months -- but because it feels good when you do it or when it's over. To hell with Hygeia; the truth lies in pleasure.'"

Posted by: Dave Lull on January 10, 2006 4:42 PM

Jonathan -- I'm with you. And one thing the strictly-medical studies never seem to deal with is motivation, reward, etc. Why are you doing this? What are you getting out of it? With gardening, for instance, assuming the study was well-run: are they getting a lot out of the physical activity? Or are these people who love plants and who are getting a lot out of interacting with plants? My one real beef with Simon's book is that it's all exercise-as-a-vitamin-pill. And I think looking at "activity" as medicine may be part of the problem. But that goes awfully deep in America, and he's just a doc ...

Ijsbrand -- That's so true. I've been fiddling with a posting on that theme, but have never gotten around to putting it so tersely. All this convenience, all these gadgst, all this speed and efficiency, so that ... what?

Claire - I think that "building it into your life" thing can be so important, don't you? There's much I don't like about big-city living (I'm in NYC), but one thing I love is the way you can't not walk. I probably walk a couple of miles a day just as a matter of course, without really realizing I'm doing it. When I'm out of the city and spending time with normal Americans in normal circumstance, I'm amazed and appalled: all they seem to do is get in and out of their cars. They drive from one parking lot through traffic to another one, and then back again. And then, if they want physical activity, they have to pull themselves together and separate out some time for it. Who's gonnna do that? Not many people, I suspect. As a city dweller, you get some movement in no matter what. It's one of the benefits of New Urbanism, or one of the hoped-for benefits anyway. The New Urbers try to build opportunities for casual walking into their developments, as well as opps for casual interactions with other people, so life isn't just about office-house-car.

MD -- Very sorry to learn about the MS, which I'm sure is a big challenge. And you bet I specialize in straw men. I'm fascinated to learn that so many of your colleagues are so reasonable about health and exercise. According to Simon, it's only been in the last few years that studies have really shown how much moderate moving-about can do for people.

Donald -- The psychology of ego and expertise are interesting, aren't they? I've only had a few moments when someone looked to me as an expert, and whew it was hard not to feel the ego swell. Luckily, someone else then laughed at me, so it isn't something I've spent a lot of time dealing with ...

James -- "Pretensia" is great, I'll be stealing that and using it if you don't mind. I think that average, background things get 'way undervalued, don't you? What's wrong with nice, pleasant, helpful, and un-bad? Stressing and straining for the ideal might (or might not) suit an individual on a spiritual quest. But is it ever good practical policy? Seems to backfire 99% of the time.

Peter -- Dude, you're one of the exceptions. (I am too, actually, though not on your scale -- walking five days a week, yoga three or four times a week ... And The Wife is still a devoted jogger, though in the last few years she's been doing run/walks instead. Still: 5-7 miles. Whew.) I suspect it feels to you as though anyone should be able to do what you do, but is that realistic?

Peggy -- Combine it with your good ideas and it's a program!

Dave -- That is a great quote, tks. I know I'd never bother myself if it didn't make me feel a lot better than I do if I don't get some activity in ... Harvey Simon deals with that a bit (in the sense of well-being), but not enough. I think that for most people, taking a few vitamins is as far as they're likely to go in the taking-medicine direction. But if they can genuinely feel a bit better, now that's attractive.

But MD makes a really good point. No matter how good (or even humane) the advice, there are going to be a lot of people who slump into the Barcalounger and never get up, except to eat a Big Mac. What's with them? Is it worth worrying about them? I guess my hunch is that if the advice is a little more humane and do-able, a few more people will take it, and even if that isn't ideal it's still a good thing ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on January 10, 2006 5:14 PM

Yikes, re-reading my comment and the following comments I see I was excessively cranky.

My MS is simply a nuisance, there are different types and mild relapsing-remitting MS is not so bad as long as it stays relapsing-remitting (knock wood). I am one of those who works out twice a week with a personal trainer, and I guess I feel so blessed to be running and lifting weights and talking and being me that I see it as a blessing, where as before I loved to lounge on the couch. Still do. Still need to, to rest. I guess maybe I was too harsh - what you tend to hear from your medical friends doesn't always make it out in an efficient way to the general public, which is one point you were making! (Funnily enough, I seem to know a lot of physicians with chronic illnesses, maybe this makes them better advice givers? Dunno).

Motivation is a huge interest of mine - I am someone who is supposed to be highly motivated (family expected it of me) and yet I've struggled with the whole motivation thing, for, well, everything. That whole space between wanting to do something, and not doing it, and feeling bad for not doing it, is wierd. Why do we let ourselves feel this way? Is there some purpose behind it? I only know for myself, the only way forward is through it, if you get my drift, and I seem to do better if I don't think too much about things. So, one day I called a trainer, went to gym, huffed and puffed and complained (I hated it) and then I told the trainer, I want to do excercises I like. Trainer complied. And now, it's part of my routine like brushing my teeth. Plus, it's social. I like the gossiping. And yes, I am blessed for being healthy (yes, I really am healthy - just with a mild chronic illness) and for having resources to do such things.

Okay, sorry again for the crankiness and apologies to all in this thread :)

Posted by: MD on January 10, 2006 5:38 PM

Okay, shorter me: if you're lucky enough to have health, cherish it. I know, I know. Trite. It's just that when I was first diagnosed, I remember thinking: I had all this time to work out and get in shape and have fun with sports, and enjoy this wonderful gift and I just *wasted* it.....I really did think that.

Posted by: MD on January 10, 2006 5:40 PM

Any activity that is consciously pursued as 'exercise', including Simon's recommendations like gardening and walking, will fail precisely because they involve the stress of conscious pursuit. People will be active only in those activities that are unconsciously practiced, in the sense that the activities are an 'organic' part of their lives.

Money quote from Michael:
"I probably walk a couple of miles a day just as a matter of course, without really realizing I'm doing it."

Money quote from MD:
"I only know for myself, the only way forward is through it, if you get my drift, and I seem to do better if I don't think too much about things. So, one day I called a trainer, went to gym, huffed and puffed and complained (I hated it) and then I told the trainer, I want to do excercises I like. Trainer complied. And now, it's part of my routine like brushing my teeth."

The only way 'exercise' is ever going to be part of anyone's life is if it becomes as natural as brushing your teeth (assuming you do that, of course.) Natural as in 'unconscious'.

Myself, I am something of a gym rat. My exercise habit is just that, a habit. It has nothing to do with 'discipline'. If it required conscious effort and discipline, I just wouldn't do it. Don't let any gym rat give you the what for. They're just doing what feels right to them.

Posted by: PatrickH on January 10, 2006 7:24 PM

People can spend a lot of time driving to the gym. That's why I like the trend of apartments and companies offering access to gyms. My sister in Austin used to drive 20 minutes each way to do her daily 30 minute walk. That's 70 minutes, of which less than half are actually devoted to exercise.

The exercise problem is more the result of busy schedules than anything else. This is caused not only by work schedules. Like other blowhard readers, I'm very involved in local groups and activities. When I do make such events, I miss a day of exercise (usually). Yes, yes, yes, I can try to make up the time. But it's harder to do sometimes than you might think.

Michael has hit upon a key issue in lifestyle management. It has a lot to do with eating on the run and not having free time to do the things you want to do. Perhaps the answer is to downsize your time commitments, but as the years go by, that becomes harder to do.

There is a mismatch between available food options and exercise options. Great variety of food, limited exercise opportunities. When I worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Albania, I ate Snickers and drank Coca Cola for breakfast (and sometimes lunch) EVERY day. Yes, that was bad, but I also walked 1-2 miles to work every day. Still, I lost a lot of weight.

One urban planner mentioned the 20 minute rule: if a location has useful places that you can walk to in 20 minutes, it is pedestrian-friendly. But in Houston, it's hard to walk anywhere for 20 minutes and find something actually useful.

I get so irritated at people who knock TV and videogames for causing the exercise problem. Hey, what about watching TV while exercising? What about PS 2's Dance Dance Revolution? Let's not demonize TV.

One answer is to increase people's awareness of their own weight. Perhaps before individuals enter a public building, a big number should flash their weight and BMI on the opposite wall.(Ok, that's a bit silly).

There's a class issue in the fitness/obesity thing. Health food products cost more, and fast food restaurants are much cheaper than health-conscious eateries. Upper class neighborhoods have neighborhood pools and nice walking trails, while lower class neighborhoods often have no sidewalks at all. Stay-at-home moms have time to prepare well-balanced meals, while the working mom only has time to slip in cheese and crackers and maybe a fruit into her child's lunchbox.

One thing I've grown really enthusiastic about is company cafeterias. My company has a great cafeteria with reasonable prices. It burns a small hole in my pocket, but I never go out to eat, plus I get one good well-balanced meal a day. Plus, I never have to scramble in the morning to construct a semblance of a well-balanced meal. Have you ever tried preparing a healthy/well-balanced meal to pack as a lunch these days? It takes planning and effort.

Finally, the ruler has changed about what constitutes normal. Doctors use BMI to assess obesity, and yet feeling fat is often a matter of perception, not reality. If peers all look the same, suddenly your own lifestyle doesn't seem so outrageous.

Posted by: Robert Nagle on January 10, 2006 7:32 PM

Michael -
You are so correct about the sedentary nature of suburban life. Out here in Suffolk you scarcely ever see any adults jogging or even walking for that matter. Just about the only adults who ride bicycles are carless Mexican immigrants. While there are many sports leagues for children, there are very few for adults, and as best I can tell most of the adults who do participate are well under 30. There are some gyms, but not many, and if the one where I belong (among the largest on Long Island) is typical, there are few members over 30 or thereabouts. Even yardwork is increasingly the province of hired Mexicans. What you do see, of course, are cars circling the parking lots at the malls and superstores looking for close-in spaces. So yes, suburban life is much more sedentary than city life.

Posted by: Peter on January 10, 2006 8:02 PM

One of the things that separates a guy like Simon from other experts is that people in the sciences tend to be result, and not process oriented. Most scientists will look at the studies and say "we need to exercise more", and look at "traditional" ways to exercise and recommend them, such as weight training, running, walking, etc. Gardening is not in their exercise category, neither is birdwatching, hiking, mowing the lawn with a push mower, etc. Actually some of these things are better workouts because they involve more natural movements and work entire muscle groups, rather than isolating muscles. Very strenuous exercise is a real stressor in the body. I'm not sure if its a more of a hazard than a help sometimes.

The greatest reason most people are getting fatter and more out of shape is that they spend too much time with visual media of all types (TV, computer, books) which demand staying in one spot so the eyeballs can absorb the data. They also eat a bunch of junk food (I'm guilty of this as well) I exempt sedentary work because that really cannot be avoided for most--its just the world we live in. You could burn a lot more calories at your sedentary job by standing while you work. Donald Rumsfeld does this. I believe it doubles the number of calories you burn per hour. Also, you really don't need more than a about an hour of exercise to reap the greatest benefit from it, which can be easily attained outside of the average job.

For what its worth, I'm still pretty young and I work out about 3 times per week with weights. I think exercise is a combination of making a regular effort and engaging in activities that you enjoy which require more exertion. In other words, its a lifestyle. Most people looking to change their lifestyle to be more active would be well advised to start with doing activities that you enjoy FIRST on regular basis, then working in a couple of more strenuous wourkouts during the week. Most people go about it in the opposite way, and its much easier to fail with that approach.

Also, diet is 90% of keeping a sensible weight. There's no way you can burn off in a hour what you eat the other 23. I've foud real fitness to be a sensible combination of both diet and exercise (surprise!). The unavoidabe fact is that maintaining your health in world full of conveniences, omnipresent media, and boundless amounts of food requires some self-discipline.

Posted by: BTM on January 10, 2006 10:05 PM

MD, don't back off! I'm even more radical about it all than you are. About ten years ago I began to be seriously overweight and to develop all sorts of subtle physical symptoms. The doctors (this is where we may part company) took one look at my excellent insurance and did one blood test and xray after another. Always the advice was "lose weight," "eat this not that," "get exercise" and then pretty soon it was "here's this prescription," "and this one," "and this one." There were two constants: money and the constant spectre of an early death.

I moved back to Montana sans insurance, almost sans income. Deeply happy to be back. Weight began to fall, symptoms fell away, etc. Happiness is the best pill. The rest is mostly marketing. And far too many percentages and charts that are deeply bogus.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on January 10, 2006 10:11 PM

Michael -

So there's no misunderstanding, I most assuredly do not think that exercise addiction is a good thing. Far from it. At the most extreme, some anorectics eat relatively normal amounts but keep their weights dangerously low through obsessive exercising. More commonly, there are people who just won't stop running or biking or whatever until they develop overuse injuries. Weight training presents a different hazard through the phenomenon of "overtraining." It is very common among those new to weight training, especially young men. Working a body part day after day without sufficient recovery time actually will cause the affected muscles to get smaller. And it should go without saying that spending too much time exercising can leave too little time for everything else.
I usually go to the gym three or four times a week, for about an hour at a time. That's plenty for me, if I went much more frequently or stayed much longer I'd have to worry about becoming addicted. Not for me.

Posted by: Peter on January 10, 2006 10:20 PM

One man's addiction is another man's moderation. With exercise as with other behaviors there are huge differences between individuals. Some people love to run, bike or whatever and do it as much as they can. It's only a problem if it conflicts with other parts of their lives.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 11, 2006 9:52 AM

Maybe you guys should add my blog to the miscellaneous sidebar: Videogame Workout. There are a lot of videogames out there that include an exercise component. If you don't want to spend 20 minutes each way driving to the gym, why not get a personal trainer to help you exercise right at home on your TV or computer screen like Maya of Yourself!Fitness? Or find an aerobic exercise game you enjoy like DDR or the Jackie Chan home boxing game.

Exercise should be fun. Video game consoles and computers are part of the solution, not just part of the problem.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on January 11, 2006 2:05 PM

Donald- The fall risk is a legitimate concern. Obviously the point at which you need a one-story home is not when you want to be in the middle of moving. I think it's a tough balance to work out. Walking is good, but walking stairs provides more in the way of strength conditioning (which in turn helps keeps bones stronger).

Michael- so true. I walked many miles (and lots of steep hills) when I lived in SF since it was such a hassle to find parking. I'm not a city person at heart, but I do miss those wide sidewalks everywhere. Treadmills just aren't the same.

Posted by: claire on January 11, 2006 7:16 PM

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