Back in the 1980s, my dad had a paper route with the AJC to bring in some extra part-time dollars. I don’t think it was the AJC at that time. The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution were two separate Atlanta newspapers. They merged at some point, becoming the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or, The AJC. I cannot remember when.
Anyhow, dad would deliver the paper. Boy it was such an ordeal. I never realized what went into delivering a newspaper. I went with him one night (err, well it was actually early in the morning). We went to a warehouse where a huge stack of papers sat, and each delivery person had to roll up each paper for their route and place it inside a plastic bag. I believe the papers were printed and dropped off at the warehouse usually around 3:00. If something big was going on that needed to get printed in the paper, sometimes the time gets pushed back a bit, (like election results, for instance).
We did that for nearly 200 papers. We loaded them in the back seat of the car and went out and began delivering them. We got done pretty quickly since it was the two of us. Man, he must have really hustled when I wasn’t there to help him and he was there by himself. We’d drive past the house and toss the paper in the lawn. He tried to get it as close to the front door as possible. The days of little kid delivering the paper while riding his bicycle are just a television fantasy. Perhaps that was a 1950s sort of paper-delivery method. That is and has been a thing of the past.
Dad happened to mention how the arthritis in his arm had markedly improved since he’d been throwing the paper. His arm didn’t hurt anymore and his doctor was amazed that the arthritic joints were about 90% back to normal, minimal swelling. Who would have thought that a paper route would be considered exercise? He kept up the route for a long time just for the added exercise it gave him. I talked to my own doctor about it, and he mentioned several ways that arthritis can be helped through exercise. Let me reiterate what my doctor told me. I had to do a little research to help jog my memory, as it’s been a few years since he told me. Here goes:
1. One, exercise makes you feel better overall. It gets the blood pumping, the adrenaline flowing, and the body moving. That’s always better than being sedentary.
2. Number two, exercise makes your joints more fluid and limber. The more flexible your joints are, the more resistant they are to the buildup of arthritic conditions. It helps your joints move easier.
3. Number three, exercise builds muscles. Stronger muscles help your joints move better, and consequently you’re less likely to injure yourself if the muscles around your joints are stronger.
4. Number four, the exercise builds endurance, which helps you to get in more exercise. This is one area in which more is better.
5. Last, exercise improves balance. A common side effect of many forms of arthritis is poor balance, and inactivity will make the condition worse. Increasing your physical activity will help improve your balance.
So, exercise is good for whatever ails you. I know dad is up in the great beyond smiling down upon me that I’m applying another one of the many wonderful lessons he taught me. We’ve always known how physical activity can help the body. Here’s another good reason. Like First Lady Michelle Obama says, let’s move. That applies not just to kids, but for everyone. Let’s move, everybody!