If you have hip pillows instead of gut tires, there is no pressing health reason to lose weight. You may still enjoy a stroll in the park though. And so may the people who see you.
“You don’t get rid of the car tires [around your guts] by strolling” wrote a supposed expert at DN.no, the website of the Norwegian business daily that I have followed for many years. The business site has its own health and fitness section, as is good and proper these days.
In Norwegian, we use the word “bilringer” (car tires) Â to describe the rings of fat that surround the gut, especially on men. (I believe the phrase “spare tire” is used in English?) It has dawned on people that these adornments of easy life are not good for our health, but what to do? Â Strolling in the park is not the answer, says the expert.
I think the expert is mistaken, and probably dangerously mistaken. Â Strolling in the park is not only an answer, it may be the best possible answer. If you wake up with spare tires, going on a power exercise spree is potentially dangerous (even life-threatening) without medical supervision. Even if you survive unharmed, you are unlikely to continue for long, due to the unpleasant side effects. Â In contrast, taking a walk for half an hour is unlikely to cause more than a mild tiredness and stiffness even for an untrained person, and even that will fade over a few days as the body gets used to being more active.
Now, I don’t have car tires around my midsection myself. In a sense, it would be more motivating if my fat was on the outside instead of around the kidneys, but I assume those with spare tires have those in addition to the kidney fat. Anyway, when I started walking an hour a day (most days) this spring, I burned like 550 calories in an hour. It is safe to say that if I had a couple car tires in addition, I would have burned quite a bit more, since I had to move that extra weight around. So I would probably have started with half an hour, as recommended for Americans, and gradually expanded over the course of the first month.
Of course, the spare tires won’t magically disappear. They will just stop growing, and then very slowly shrink as the months turn into years. But that was how they appeared in the first place, wasn’t it? And anyway, once you get used to strolling, you may want to speed it up a bit, or go a bit longer, depending on how much time you have. Walking is a great way to unwind, after all. If the voices in your head are not friendly, you may want to drown them out with music, which can also be very motivating to move your body (thus the invention of “dance” by our ancestors). Anyway, the point is to keep it enjoyable, or at least not make yourself suffer. If you’re a masochist, save it for the bedroom. Your physical exercise should be pleasant, something you’d miss if you skipped it.
Like a stroll in the park. A long, fast stroll eventually, but still. If you have car tires around your middle, strolling is exactly where you should begin.