Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yearly Checkup

On Tuesday of this week, it was time for my annual physical exam. I don't know how you feel about "the checkup", but for the last few years, it's something I really look forward to. To put things in perspective, 3-1/2 years ago, here's where I was. I:
  • weighed 250 lbs.
  • had a BMI of almost 29
  • had blood pressure of 140/90 (taking medication), and
  • was pre-diabetic.
Today, after 3-1/2 years of incorporating practical cycling and eating right into my lifestyle, here's where I am. I:
  • weigh 200 lbs.
  • have a BMI of 23
  • have blood pressure of 110/70
  • have absolutely normal blood sugar
  • have total cholesterol of 179, with an HDL of 65, and
  • no meds (well, a buck's worth of dietary supplements a day.)
My annual-checkup conversation with my doctor begins something like:
"Hi, Doc. How's business?"
"It's OK. (looking at my charts:) You know, you're in pretty good shape."
"Well, all you have to do is fit large amounts of exercise into your lifestyle and eat right."
"Yeah, but who wants to do that?" (smiling)
Bicycle commuting hits the "sweet spot" in turning around the American health care crisis. I know that this is a strong statement, but not really too strong. Ask yourself, what would happen if a large percentage of Americans who lived less than 10 miles from their work just "did it"? (Hint: Big Pharma wouldn't like it.) Most Americans don't believe they can afford the time to fit enough exercise into their lives (and this is no doubt true for people in every developed country, except perhaps Denmark and the Netherlands.)

"Health care" is what cycle commuters do every day. Physical health, mental health, and spiritual health. Is it Utopian to talk this way? I don't care.

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