Featured Column
Week of 7.19.2004
"I feel like I did when I was 12 years old"
Best time of life
          It’s no news that this generation sits on its collective butts more than any generation before us. We can thank this sedentary lifestyle for the great increase in obesity, stroke and heart disease.
          We also live in a time when stress levels have increased tremendously. We work longer hours, filled with a “I need it yesterday” mentality. We drive on more congested roadways with longer commutes. We live in a “more-better-faster” workplace that contributes to increased stress in our lives. We live longer, work harder than our predecessors, and I’m not sure if we’re any happier.
          To make up for the time we’ve lost on clogged freeways and more hours at the office we invented conveniences that minimize the amount of physical work we do in order to accomplish various tasks. We get less exercise than we used to.
           We used to wash our own cars, now we drive them through car washes. We have drive through banks and fast-food joints. We pay for our gas at the pump instead of walking to a cashier. The younger ones among us may not know that there was a time when we actually rose off the couch to change channels – before there was a remote control. We can sit for hours now and watch news of wars, terrorists, hostage-taking, murder trials, riots and plane crashes 24-hours a day – each hour contributing to our increased stress levels.
           The next generation of “couch potatoes” is coming and they are learning well from us.
           We have entire channels devoted to food. We lust for rich sauces and gourmet dishes. We have more choices of restaurants than ever before. We can get a multi-course dinner delivered to our door just by typing our desires on our computer.
          Now, don’t get depressed. There’s hope for all of us.
          Take a good look at your lifestyle and decide if you’re ready to start doing something to get away from your sedentary lifestyle and more toward wellness.
          Ready? Here’s the secret to your improved lifestyle…Move your left foot forward, now move your right foot forward ahead of your left, move your left foot forward, ahead of your right. You got it. It’s called walking.
          Aside from the benefits to your physical health, walking will improve your emotional well-being.
           One of the great things about walking is that you don’t have to consider it exercise. You can just enjoy it. You can walk with friends, talk about the day’s events or reminisce about the good old days. Walking gives you a sense of freedom. I walk every day and as soon as I get away from my home I feel like I’m 12-years old again. I get that sense of freedom, my head clears, the cobwebs disappear, my mind and body get refreshed. I even feel adventurous as I head down streets and alleys which I’ve never visited. I see people I’ve never seen. I can even greet them with a “Hiya, how ya doing?”
           I don’t drive my car to go to the market, the bank or the post office anymore – I walk. Four years ago, when I started my daily walks, I started seeing things I hadn’t seen before. Sights I couldn’t see from my car. There were people on the streets, not just things that I zoomed by on the roadway. I said hello to an Orthodox Rabbi and his young family as we walked past each other, I greeted an elderly woman using a cane who returned my hello with a gorgeous smile. I smile at teenagers and they smile back and say “hi.” People I know from the neighborhood honk their horns and wave as they drive by.
          I love walking where there are people. I love it because there’s always a surprise, a sense of serendipity, great people watching and moments of pure pleasure. The kind of pleasure and surprise I got when I was 12-years old with no cares in the world.
           Being a 12-year old was the best time of my life. I wasn’t a child and I wasn’t an adult and I didn’t have the worries or responsibilities of each age. I would walk and daydream and wish and pretend. And now, almost three score years later I lace up my sneakers, head out the front door to begin my daily walk and before long I become one with that 12-year old that was me many long years ago.
           I like being that 12-year old boy – even if it is only for an hour each day.
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger