After three long days of sitting in scientific meetings telling me Americans don’t get enough exercise, I skip out the front door of the convention center and into a city I don’t know and turn right. Weaving my way around pedestrians, past store fronts, around tree stumps, over uneven cobblestones, I swing wide to navigate past a woman walking her dog.
Smitten, of course, it’s a sweet old dog, I pause to greet the lumbering black and white beast and smile at his owner who is gamely trying to pull her charge along. He’s being a bit contrary, ambling begrudgingly despite his master’s prodding.
The woman looks at me and back at the dog. “See?” the woman says nodding in my direction,”She’s sporty. We all need our exercise.”
I’m sporty, apparently, because I go for a brisk walk in sneakers and track pants. I speak exercise to those I pass, not in a ‘you should be’ way but a ‘don’t you wanna?’ way. This woman and I have never met, but one look tells her a lot and speaks even more.
Oh, the irony, as there are thousands of sport science experts just around the corner at the convention center, presenting their findings, debating the details, and lamenting the sad state of the health and fitness of the people in their communities. Ah, progress marches on and science with it. Knowledge is powerful, but what about the power of practice?
If we walk the walk, words are optional.