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Posted: January 8, 2009 5:54 p.m.

Exercise the table muscle

During a recent football game I saw commercials for an exercise ball (it looked like a beach ball), an exercise video (no equipment), two different exercise equipment sets, a diet supplement and an exercise club. I assume someone is buying one or more of these products or else the ads would not be on TV.

Their common theme was "almost no effort," "less than five minutes a day," "pounds will melt away" and similar claims. Apologies if you have already called in to order, but those claims are simply false.

Getting out of shape, overweight, took a lot of time and effort. Why would losing weight and getting into shape be any different?

Here’s my plan to get into better shape. The average American watches 28 hours of TV a week. That is more than a part-time job. Start at 30 minutes a day walking around your neighborhood. Slowly increase that over a month or two up to 60 minutes a day. For support, get a neighbor to walk with you.

You will feel better and you will get to know your neighbors again.

That leaves 21 hours a week, a little more than a part-time job, to watch TV. But, when you start feeling the effects of being more active, you may lose interest in watching TV. Who knows? You may even discover that you are an interesting person again.

There is a muscle that the commercials I mentioned leave out of their ads. My mother called it the "table muscle." The one you use when you push back from the table. Using that muscle, along with a gentle walking routine around your neighborhood, will do more for you than any of the ads you see while sitting in front of a TV.

Patrick Durusau is a local resident of Covington. His column regularly appears on Fridays.

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