The whole time we were in South Carolina last week, this one phrase kept popping up in my mind: The Activity of Living.
It was a fragment from a recent lecture by Dr. Rudy Kachmann, longtime neurologist and head of the Kachmann Mind Body Institute in Fort Wayne. He believes that a lot of the health problems that cause people to visit a doctor could be solved by moving more and eating a nutrient-dense diet.
At 80, Kachmann is more active than most people half his age, fitting a morning walk, tennis or pickleball and a workout at one of the three health clubs he belongs to into a typical day. But he likes to tell people they don’t have to exercise – they just gotta move. Take the dog for a walk. Toss a Frisbee with your kids. If you need something from upstairs or out in the car, go get it yourself rather than asking somebody to go fetch it for you.
Much as I like to work out, I’m pretty lazy about that Activity of Living stuff. Visiting Rowan last week in suburban Charleston gave me plenty of opportunities to break that habit.
“Activity of living!” I thought as I grabbed Loki’s leash to take him out for a quick run/walk before we commenced our various sightseeing plans.
That same mantra popped up every time I fetched something from the car, walked to Aldi’s for breakfast supplies, or walked to McDonald’s (just coffee) for an early morning writing session. When a storm blew up while we were at the beach, I took off running to fetch the car several blocks away while the girls gathered up our stuff.
As I jogged off, I thought about how weird it was that as a grownup, I rarely run anywhere unless I’ve made plans to “go for a run.”
A couple of days later, exploring the ruins of the Colonial village of Dorchester near Rowan’s apartment in Summerville, I grabbed the camera from Colleen, our trip shutterbug, to take a few photos of my own before we left so Rowan could get back to work.
Remembering how Colleen had taken every available moment to shoot pictures at a tea plantation the day before, then sprinted back to the gift shop to make it in time for the tour of the processing plant, I thought, why not?
Racing back to the car after getting my photos of a crumbling bell tower from a church built in 1719, Dr. K’s “Activity of Living” mantra started to pop into my head – only to morph into something else.
“Act your age!” the voice in my head said.
No, thank you. At 52, it’s not easy to remember how it feels to be a kid. I’ve got to work at it a little bit.
“Today’s ‘opposite day’!” I told that nagging voice in my head, cranking up the pace a notch as my waiting daughters rolled their eyes.