Get off the couch.
It seems like a simple thing do to, but it is not. The "couch potato" is the symbol of a sedentary lifestyle that, matched with poor eating habits, has become the bane of today's society.
That's why the actions of a Beaufort woman are so encouraging.
Bonnie Markle is a dietician and diabetes educator by profession. She knows more than most of us about the steps to good health -- and the sad statistics that come with poor choices on diet and exercise.
Markle has a new way to deal with this personal and professional concern.
She has organized a weekly "Walk and Talk" group to share her knowledge, but more importantly to help people get up, get out and get busy.
It centers around the new Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort and Port Royal. It is the most rewarding story yet to emerge from the mile-long public trail that was dedicated in November. Another section will soon be built, and one day it may stretch more than 13 miles on what was once the Port Royal Railroad track. For all of those involved in the public and private effort to make this trail a reality, nothing could be more satisfying than the story of the "Walk and Talk" group.
It started when Markle and her husband began walking a three-mile loop five or six times a week from their home in Cottage Farms up and down the one-mile trail. Markle then wanted to include others. Friends joined her. And now she has issued an open invitation to the community to meet at 1 p.m. Mondays at the trailhead at the Beaufort Depot -- starting Monday.
"Sixty-six percent of the population is overweight and obese, and there's a lot of chronic illness," Markle said. "One thing we can all do is to take a look at ourselves and start walking and eating better."
Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity -- such as fast walking -- a week. Children should get an hour every day.
Active people are at lower risk of heart disease, stroke, adult-onset diabetes, depression and some cancers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The Monday walks will be about two miles -- once up and down the trail. Inactive people should consult their doctors before exercising.
The beauty of this effort is that it is of and by the people. And that they have a new trail through their neighborhoods, and they are taking advantage of it. A lot of private-sector help is needed for the full trail to become a reality, and the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail (www.spanishmosstrail.com) has many opportunities for support.
Markle will discuss exercise and eating while they walk. She hopes people will meet exercise partners there, and that getting off the couch will feed new, more healthy habits.