By Mike Walter:
My wife Kelly and I were in Seattle a few years ago and we decided to hike Mt Rainier. On the bus ride out we started chatting with a woman named Hannah who was traveling by herself. She told us she was an epidemiologist (which I found out means she’s a doctor who studies diseases). Half-jokingly, I asked her what disease was going to kill all of mankind and without missing a beat she said, “Inactivity.”
I have to say I was relieved to hear that because I consider myself a pretty active person but I also have to admit that there have been times since then where I wanted to skip a run or workout or even a walk with my dogs but Hannah’s succinct, one word, spontaneous answer has echoed in my head and got me moving.
When you think about it, almost every major invention of mankind’s has made us more sedentary. We invented the wheel and we domesticated wild animals to help us move things. We created engines to move us even faster. We’ve made everything from Egg Beaters to escalators all in an effort to make our lives easier. But in doing so we’ve triggered a gene inside most of us that loves to relax. And, believe me, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing, but only after you’ve earned it through some hard work and motion.
We as a society, and definitely we as an industry, need to move more. We need to do more. We need to avoid the disease of “Inactivity” and all myriad health issues that come along with it.
Many people know I like to run. It’s my favorite healthy activity. I’ve done sixteen marathons in my life and while I’m not quite in marathon condition anymore, I still love to lace up my sneakers and head out, whether it’s for a short, fast run or a leisurely long jog. Knowing this, many people have asked me how they should get started if they too want to run. Here’s my simple advice: get off the couch. Don’t set too lofty of a goal early on because it’s impossible (and dangerous) to go from couch potato to marathon runner in a few weeks. If you’re currently overweight and inactive my advice would be to seek your doctor’s approval first and foremost and assuming you’re given the green light, go for a walk. Day one, make it a ten minute stroll. Day two, add a minute or two. If you have a track near your home, it’s an ideal place to head. Tracks are softer on your joints and if you get too tired, you’re never too far from your car.
And when you’re ready to speed it up a bit, fear not! Because, here’s the thing about running: you already know how to do it. It’s in your DNA. Remember, before mankind invented all those things to make us sedentary, we moved. We hunted and chased our food down, often after miles and miles on our feet. Or we were the hunted, and those who survived were fast enough to avoid the mountain lion or mastodon that wanted to make us dinner. So once you go from walking to jogging, don’t over think it. Just go a little faster and a little longer each and every day and soon you’ll be logging miles, shedding pounds and most importantly, avoiding all the detrimental side effects of inactivity.
Here’s one of the misperceptions of our industry: events don’t burn that many calories. Sure it’s better to be up and moving on a weekend night than sitting around in a the Lazy Boy flipping channels, but I think too many DJs do an event and think they’ve burned so many calories they are entitled to eat all night and then hit the drive-through on the way home. You’re wrong. Even if you’re a dancer, even if you move around a lot at your events, it’s very doubtful that you’re getting your heart rate up to an aerobic state and burning some real calories. So be careful equating one of your gigs to an increased amount of food and thinking you’ll be even.
My wife and I do a lot of little things to keep ourselves active. Kelly wears a Fitbit and she always strives to hit her 10,000 daily steps. When we go shopping, we usually park as far from the store as possible. We walk our dogs a lot. When we go to the beach, we often take a stroll along the shoreline. These are just a few of the many things you too can probably do just to be a little more active. The pay off in the end is well worth it and when the “sacrifice” is stepping away from the boob tube for a little while and getting some fresh air, it’s even better.
Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.