Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The power of simplicity

No, I'm not here to give you that kind of advice. That would be highly irresponsible and even illegal.

I do, however, have some advice for those of you who would like to become more physically active but have trouble embracing the concept of working out: Keep it simple.

This occurred to me while Marge and I were on vacation in California last week. As with many of our vacations, I had planned this one for months. And like so many things we might plan for, it didn't turn out quite according to plan. It started with a very unplanned seven-hour layover at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Fortunately, it came to a close with an unplanned trip to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. I hadn't even been aware there was such a museum, but while plotting our course from Glen Ellen to Bodega Bay on the last day of our trip, I happened to see it on the map. Like most people of our ages, Peanuts comic strips were a staple of our childhoods, so we set out for the museum.

As I made the rounds of exhibits there, I realized why I found the Peanuts characters so appealing. It was not the dialogue of the strips, which to be honest I never found all that funny, but rather the simplicity of the drawings. Schulz managed to capture a range of emotions and situations with a simple black line.

That got me to thinking about working out, as many things often do, and about how we do not need lots of fancy equipment or gym memberships to get in better shape. For some people who are trying to break out of a sedentary lifestyle, more might even be less, since exercise is often viewed as a chore.

How many people want to go directly from sitting on the couch to highly structured, multi-set routines at the gym? Probably not too many.

So why not start out simply, with a walk outdoors instead of on a treadmill, or climb some stairs instead of using a stair-stepper, or do some basic push-ups instead of the bench press? It doesn't take any equipment to work all of the major muscle groups, just a little imagination and ingenuity.

This idea is so simple, you're probably saying, "Good grief!"


  1. Wow, sorry about the layover. But the Charles Schulz museum does look very cool! Can you get your picture taken with Snoopy?

  2. Hi Esther,

    I do believe there was at least one Snoopy statue outside that would have made for a good photo op. I take it Snoopy is your favorite character? The museum is well worth a trip if you're ever in that area. We were pleasantly surprised by it all.

  3. I had to look closely at your photo. I thought you were LUCY!
    By the way thanks for becoming a follower on my blog.