I’ll admit it’s not easy staying in shape, and at times I seem to be fighting a losing battle. In the middle of the winter, curling up with a good book is much more appealing than going out for a long walk on a sub-zero day. But on most days I do try. In nice weather I go for a lot of walks; in colder or rainy weather I’ll return to the treadmills in the fitness center where I live. I attend yoga classes off-and-on, or do some yoga at home, to work on my balance and flexibility. And I even have a few free weights to do some strength training. Perhaps it’s my own efforts in this regard, but lately I’ve been longing to read about contemporary romance heroines who squeeze in a bit of exercise into their lives.
I’m specifically interested in contemporary romance heroines, because, let’s face, it, reading that a Regency era heroine has a fitness room or that she regularly hikes up her skirts and jogs just wouldn’t be appropriate. And most paranormal or urban fantasy heroines either seem to regularly stay in shape to survive, or have very specific natural abilities and powers that endow them with extra strength and speed. But what about your average contemporary romance heroine? And by average, I mean a non-athlete heroine who manages to fit in a bit of exercising into her regular routine.
In a bit of serendipity my blog piece this week mimics Blythe’s blog in asking the question of nature or nurture. Except mine is not about readers but readers who exercise. Once you have developed a love of books, how hard is it to make the commitment to get your nose out of the book and exercise? Do some individuals just enjoy activity more than others? Is it learned behavior or is it genetics? The recent evidence seems to point to learned behavior or contagious social behaviors.
The Trust for American’s Health recently released a list of how each state is doing, and it is not pretty. Along with the release of the list of the state’s ranking, I made note of something else. When Blythe went to New York for the RWA Convention she didn’t use that as an excuse to not exercise (Sandy and Lynn- no offense if you were up there sweating away too!). And guess what, Blythe is from Colorado, the state with the lowest obesity ranking.
While poverty does play a part in the same states continuing to top the list, part of the reason also seems to be that if your friends are heavy, then it more acceptable for you to be heavy. If your friends exercise and incorporate a healthy lifestyle then you are more likely to do so, too. If you haven’t read the Framingham Study then do so, because it quite interesting. In a way it helps explain more about our obesity epidemic.
You probably wonder why someone on a site that talks about books now is talking about healthy living. I could say that it is a “public service message.” But the real reason is that that our love of books can keep us sedentary. Plus if you are like me, you have made some internet friends built around your love of books. Friends influence friends and I hope to get some great feedback from those of you that are successful balancing activity and reading. And along with teaching our children to love books and reading, I believe it is just as important to remember physical activity.