Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, what a wonderful shape

Burt's Eye View

Walking, I suppose, is a wonderful workout. Also, I can’t afford to fill my gas tank.

According to the annoying herd of health cranks, walking’s good for you. Really good. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, my-oh-my-what-a-wonderful-day good.

I’d jump in the car and speed away from these exuberant exercise enthusiasts, but I’m out of gasoline.

A few years ago, a program called ShapeWalking urged me to, “Get out of those doldrums, stimulate the flow of oxygen to your muscles and brain, and boost your mood and energy.”

I wasn’t dumped in the doldrums, I was snuggled into my easy chair. A fan whooshed oxygen at me, my mood was for cartoons and I had plenty of energy to push the channel buttons.

“But you are way overweight,” my medical professional chided. “You must get up and walk.”

I munched a doughnut and ambled through the laptop for research.

LiveStrong.com reports, “If you weigh 150 pounds (I wish!) and walk uphill (why?) for 30 minutes at 3.5 mph (say what?) every day for one week, you will burn 200 calories. (That’s all? Seriously?) Multiply 200 calories by seven days, for a total of 1,400 calories.”

According to Healthline.com, “A pound of body fat actually contains anywhere from 3,436 to 3,752 calories.” Which means if I walked uphill every day, it would take me nearly three weeks to shed a single pound! Plus, I’d apparently be at the top of a mountain.

A year of this all-uphill thing would ease the scales by just less than 20 pounds. Which might be a big deal if I really was 150 pounds, but I’m rather north of that number.

“That’s why you really need to walk an hour or more each day, and add in more exercises,” the health gurus said. “Oh, and stop eating like a starving hippopotamus.”

Why are the move-it, move-it mavens so determined to cram our feet into sneakers and push us out the door? We couch potatoes are a peaceful lot who don’t wage war on anybody. If there was a Wage War button on the remote control, that would be another matter. Since there isn’t, we remain at peace.

ShapeWalking offered this fat tip to dig myself out of my La-Z-Boy: Set goals, the reward myself with something fun for achieving them.

So I fantasized about catching up to one of these ShapeWalkers, sitting on him so that he couldn’t wriggle his skinny little body out from under my weight, and dribbling chocolate sauce all over his high-mileage shoes.

That’s what I should have done. Instead, my wife and I decided to take a chance on walking. With our last gasp of gasoline, we drove the short trip to the sprawling acreage of the zoo. The promise of elephants, gorillas and kangaroos is the kind of reward that can get me on my feet.

We started out the morning like a couple of giggly kids let loose on the playground. And ended it with the realization that we are old. Really old. Zip-a-dee-ay, my-oh-my-let’s-take-the-tram-the-rest-of-the-way old.

When we finally dragged home, I struggled into my easy chair, pried off my walking shoes and elevated my swollen feet with the full knowledge that now I am in shape.

Listen, round IS a shape and walking disturbs it. So sit. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, my, oh, my, what a wonderful way to get into shape.

— Avoid exercise tips from Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.


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