I ran into Bob as he was getting into his car with a stack of movies. He could not talk long because he had to pick up his pizza order and get home. I thought he and his wife were settling in for a rare weekend of veg’ing; but no. A weekend spent watching movies was their normal routine. That’s the easy life! Everyone’s normal may be a bit different, but the idea of doing the nothing you find personally enjoyable is wistfully thought of as the easy life.
The easy life is killing us. In many Honduran villages red beans and tortillas made from the corn and beans they raised plus whatever fruit they pick wild is the menu for every meal every day. It is great food, but every day? It does not take long for Americans to begin dreaming of a burger and fries! None of the Hondurans, however, were overweight or seemed to suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure.
The easy life we fantasize, pine for, and imbibe in as much as we can rots our life. We stupor in front of the television or video games for hours then wonder why we have no friends, our children have no imagination and work ethic, and life has little depth or sense of significance. We are unfulfilled. We eat what tastes good and look forward to more tingling of our taste buds through good southern cooking. That means high fat, high sugar and lots of it. The easy life we long for is killing us.
Dr. Max Gomez reported, our couch-potato lifestyle is killing us at about the same rate as smoking. Researchers say the average person spends more than half their waking hours sedentary, doing such things as working at a computer, watching TV or sitting in traffic. And it’s not just sitting around at home; it’s also our sit-for-hours workdays that are part of an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle.
The study found sitting for prolonged periods raised the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14 percent, cancer by 13 percent and diabetes by a whopping 91 percent. Those who sat for long stretches and got no regular exercise had a 40 percent higher risk of early death. With regular exercise, the risk was smaller but still significant: about 10 percent. The good news, said Dr. Dermont Phelan, of the Cleveland Clinic, is “that doesn’t mean that we have to go to the gym for 30 minutes in the day.
While not an equal substitute for exercise, some doctors recommend getting up once an hour from your desk, even if it’s just to walk around briefly or go to the bathroom. Some people have started using combination treadmill desks at work — anything that contracts our muscles and gets blood flowing. Another suggestion is to stand up and take a quick, 1- to 3-minute break every half hour or so throughout the day. Standing burns twice as many calories as sitting.
The easy life loses its luster under the microscope. God gave Adam work to do in Eden. The writer of Proverbs recognized “hard work brings rewards”. Shouldn’t we?