News / 

Some Tips on Aimless Exercising

Save Story

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

AUSTIN, Texas - You know America must be a nation of slugs when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention name "purposeless wandering" as a form of light activity that would be better than doing nothing.

The agency lists walking around aimlessly as a form of less intense activity that has at least some health benefits. But I'm not sure it's much help. I wander purposelessly all the time while I'm trying to think of stuff to write about. And I'm fat as a can of clams.

The CDC recently released the results of a survey that shows 55 percent of adults don't get the recommended minimum of exercise: 30 minutes a day, at least four days a week.

The agency thought that previous studies had focused too heavily on more intense workouts that actually require getting up off your butt, such as running and weightlifting. So, for the latest study, it included sweeping, self-propelled lawn mowing and other common activities.

I'm not sure the agency's list of household activities was inclusive enough. Kentucky came in dead last in the percentage of people who get enough exercise. If the CDC had included operating a still and yodeling as activities, Kentucky would have come in first.

Among the less strenuous activities mentioned by the CDC as being preferable to being a complete sloth are running a copy machine, fishing ("seated in a boat or while standing along a riverbank"), floating, sitting in a sauna, feeding the dog and the aforementioned "purposeless wandering."

When they put me in the nursing home, I'll put together the first-ever Olympic purposeless wandering team. We'll take on the panhandlers who mumble to themselves at Interstate 35 and Riverside Drive.

I'm a little skeptical about calling floating a form of activity. But it sure beats the alternative: drowning. Although you burn off more calories while drowning _ you know, from waving your arms and screaming for a lifeguard _ than you do from bobbing around on an inner tube.

The CDC missed all sorts of aerobic activities. How about looking for your SUV the morning after in the Warehouse District when you got so knee-walking drunk the night before that you can't remember where you left it? This requires a lot of hiking, as does finding a place to smoke at the airport.

You know when you're home trying to suck face and the dog comes up and stares at you? And it's starting to bug you? And it's ruining your evening and you have to get up and throw the dog out in the hall? This burns up a certain amount of calories for both you and the dog. But the agency goofed and didn't mention it.

Have you ever buttoned the top button of your shirt in the wrong hole and kept on going all the way to the bottom before you noticed your shirt looked cockeyed? So you have to unbutton all the buttons and start over again? Have you ever thought to yourself, "Today I'm going to let it slide?" Not only is this infuriating and time-consuming; it's also a great finger workout.

Have you ever given your boss a wedgie, then skedaddled? Me either.

John Kelso writes for the Austin American-Statesman. E-mail:

Cox News Service

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast