Seldom in life do we have the opportunity to experience the benefits of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day without actually having to buy the cigarettes. Now we can simply walk out on our front porches, take a few deep breaths, and get a preview of COPD.
Needless to say, our recreation has been slightly impacted and I’m not sure if I am disappointed or thrilled to have a valid excuse to do, well, pretty much nothing.
Here’s the key word there: Valid.
I have noticed some determined runners and riders organizing things like afternoon rides and runs, because God forbid the rhythm of our lives be affected by something like oh… a cataclysmic blaze. (Tony Destefano, I’m talking about you. Take your tofu and go home.)
The good news is that wearing those little dust masks does pretty much nothing to protect us, so we don’t have to wander around making fashion statements either.
Indeed, some people are more affected by the poor air quality than others, but that’s not to suggest persons who don’t have watering eyes and burning lungs are just immune to particles. It does not mean you have a built-in particle filter and can go jog your usual three miles at breakneck pace.
What do those particles do anyway? While we assume that most of our forests are at least organic, the matter that results in the incineration of trees is far from healthy. The chemical particles and raised levels of carbon monoxide mean less air and more toxins.
Have you felt the need to take naps lately? Sleepy? Irritable? Mild headache? The symptoms of smoke exposure are vast and lingering. And children, because they have less mass and their respiratory systems are still developing, are impacted at even greater rates.
So if we cannot or should not go outside and breathe in these particles at a rapid rate, how will we maintain our endorphin dependency? How will we avoid being driven to madness while trapped indoors with our children, desperate for the first day of school?
Hunker down, learn how to knit, and play board games with the kids. Do things to support your body’s natural ability to process toxins: stay hydrated, eat clean and healthy.
If you must exercise (and sweating is indeed good for processing toxins), then do so indoors where the climate is controlled. Pull out those old Richard Simmons VHS workouts and turn your living room into a gym – or at least an awkward dance party.
Take up yoga or pilates. Do push ups in the back of your SUV with the AC on. Ballroom dancing. CrossFit. And I can’t believe I’m saying this… but even Zumba is acceptable if it’s indoors. All of these options are better that traipsing around outdoors in the current conditions.
While we’re considering how to maintain a modicum of fitness indoors, it would seem appropriate that we also take pause to recognize the scope and brevity of what is happening outdoors. If indeed we are appreciative of the nature that surrounds us, are we as individuals living in a way that protects and perpetuates it?
When the smoke clears, remember to ride your bike, recycle, buy local, grow a kitchen garden and hug a firefighter.
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