Don’t Take Your Legs for Granted: How Hurricane Sandy Reminds Us to Stay Light on Our Feet

On wednesday – day two of the Sandy Black out – I walked from my apartment at 9th and Broadway up to 44th and 6th to find an open Radio Shack, in order to bring my 80-something year old neighbor back an FM/AM tape-deck and headphones. Mrs. H hadn’t had any way to contact the outside world since Monday night and cannot walk down six flights of stairs with her walker. 

Our doormen had been checking in on her daily, which is lucky, but they couldn’t leave their post to get her things. That morning when we knocked and asked if she needed anything she said if we came across a radio she would be so grateful -she felt like she was losing her mind trapped in her apartment without any news or contact. We only knew she was there because we asked the doorman if there were elderly on our floor. I had never met her before. 

The message I posted on Facebook was this: As you – our friends with young legs- freely escape your dark buildings downtown remember that behind all those anonymous hallway doors there may be people who could use a hand, especially as the fray lasts longer than we thought. 
…Now it is Friday and the lights are still out. I am thinking of Mrs. H often because I haven’t been home since I left her the radio and I don’t know how she is. 
I’m also weary of always being on the move, and of sleeping on my future mother in law’s couch. That said, I’m so grateful that I can move – rove really – up and down the city, bad knee and all. 

This storm should be a reminder to all of us. Don’t get complacent. Don’t take your ability to walk far and sweat for granted.

You think life will always come with a hot shower and a ride but now we know there WILL be times when it won’t. It’s hard to combat the way that our jobs and lifestyles literally force us to be sedentary and constantly make it easy to eat more than we need. 

You actually have to fight back. Not just hope you’ll be healthy by having a salad now and then, but work on it. Demand that your body be useful to you. Put it under some pressure sometimes.

I recommend the following.

1. Always take the stairs if it’s 5 flights or less.

2. Use a standing desk.

3. Use public transportation even if you have a car.

4. Leave your office at least once per day for a walk even if you bring lunch, even if it’s cold out.

5. Dedicate at minimum five full hours to vigorous exercise per week, spread out however you like. Vigorous means actually sweating. 

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