How to Get Fit in Miami


mid-beach boardwalk

Not even a year ago could I have said,

“I use my legs a lot.”

As little as twelve months ago, I didn’t do

much walking,


and I didn’t do

much running either.

Twelve months ago, the only time I used my legs was to get in the car, which was fewer than fifty yards from my front door, in a parking lot that often flooded, even in moderate rains.

As long as the rains were lengthy, the parking lot would flood.

I would walk to my car in a flooded parking lot and drive to work,

drive to the grocery store,

drive to the movies,

drive to the library,

and I would park in another parking lot and walk from my car to work,

walk from my car to the grocery store,

walk from my car to the movies,

walk from my car to the library,

and I would take care of business. When business was taken care of,

I would walk from work to my car,

walk from the grocery store to my car,

walk from the movies to my car,

walk from the library to my car,

and I would drive back to the flooded parking lot and walk fewer than fifty yards to my home, where, more often than not, I would fill a glass with Coke, sit on the couch, and watch ESPN.

My life in a nutshell,

twelve months ago.

One year ago, this was how I lived, sedentary.

But now,

I use my legs, sometimes to the fullest,

or pretty darn close.

The effects of my rejuvenation are startling.

My lung capacity is much greater. I can breathe and feel real,

natural energy stretching to my fingers, hairs, and TOEs.

My body is more supported, especially my lumbar.

Back pains have literally disappeared over night.

My posture has improved to the point that people comment on my carriage.

Even my eyesight has gotten better. It’s because

I run without my prescribed corrective eyeglasses. For awhile,

I seriously considered contacts,

but after going to Wal-mart for a fitting,

taking the trial tour around Sam Walton’s legacy with the miracle of 20/20 vision and no eyeglasses, and having an unusually difficult time removing the slimy discs from my cornea

I decided against the highfalutin’ fandango of contacts,

preferring legal blindness to having the so-called convenience of 20/20 without the

strain of eyeglasses on the bridge of your nose.

But I run without these eyeglasses,

and it appears that the simple act of letting my eyes adjust without the help of lenses during my runs has actually improved my vision.

My optometrist claims this is not surprising. He says,

“Not using corrective lenses forces your eyes to work for themselves. All those little muscles that have gone into a state of disuse thanks to eyeglasses and contacts, are now having to work again. They have gone from atrophy to action, and this sudden change is strengthening these muscles so much that your vision has improved.”

There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.

Running has benefited my breathing, posture, and vision.

south beach peopleBut you must be wanting to ask, How did you go from rarely using your legs,

to using them frequently enough to enjoy improved health?

A good question, one that

must be answered as simply as it was found.

I moved to the beach. I left my apartment in the burbs,

and moved to an apartment near enough to the beach

that I have no problem walking there, sometimes multiple times a day.

Having the beach this close has motivated me to use my legs, sometimes crazily.

Like take this weekend, for example.

On Friday, I walked to the beach with my girl, tempted the waters,


and walked three miles south along the soughing waves, barefoot in the sand.

On Saturday, I walked to the beach, again with my girl,

and took the boardwalk south for Sleepless Night.

We walked no less than six miles, first to a small stage colored with purple and

green lights, where we took in the sounds of some piano player.

From the stage, we walked to Lincoln Road, grabbed free chocolate, and bought 2

16-ounce cans of Steel Reserve, sometimes referred as 211,

for two dollars on the dot.

We drank on the beach, walked back to the stage, listened to Spam Allstars, and

walked back to Lincoln Road, and then home.

No less than six miles, maybe even seven total, the night of Steel Reserve.

Then, today, which is Sunday.

On Sunday, I ran all the way to the very end of the island and back. A total of

8 miles. Non-stop.

So, if you add the miles covered between Friday and Sunday along the beach,

plus the fact that we live 0.5 miles from the beach,

my girl’s legs covered around 12 miles this weekend,

and mine, around 20.

All it took to go from a sedentary life

to walking and running miles in the double digits this weekend

was a move to the beach.

You can’t really appreciate how good it feels to leave your car parked and use your

legs to get places until you actually take the leap and do it.

It’s empowering.

November 9, 2009 1:23 am

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