“Everyone should have dogs, and walk a lot.”

In 1990, Audrey Hepburn was interviewed by Phil Donahue on his then-popular show. During that interview, and in response to an audience member’s question about how she looked so good, she said:

“…[I] walk my dogs. Lots of fresh air. Dogs keep you well. Everyone should have dogs, and walk a lot.”

She took good care of herself, she said, by getting ample sleep, and eating vast quantities of spaghetti. I couldn’t help thinking, as I watched that video, how simple her advice was: Eat carbohydrates for energy, use that energy to take dog and self for walk, sleep well on the fresh air and the exercise. It’s a cause and effect chain that makes so much sense because of its common-sense logic.

I used to spend 400 euros a year to be a member of a gym in my neighbourhood. The first thing that hit me on entering the gym was its vile smell. I don’t know at what frequency sweat molecules vibrate, but they can collide with the back of the nasal passage like a truck. Then there were the sounds from the serious lifters, the men whose arms were easily the circumference of a volleyball, and not too far off its shape. Now, here’s the thing: I would never lie under someone’s bed to be privy to their grunty sex, nor would I stand behind their shower curtain while they emptied their bowels, yet I let myself work out in the same space as both of these ear-assaulting noises, or their evil twin, at least. Last September, I quit the gym. It had nothing to do with the sounds/smells, and everything to do with the fee (which went up, despite the recession), and now that I’m following (albeit unwittingly) the Hepburn regime, the whole gym scene looks quite pitiful. So here’s the pudding test: If the gym offered me free membership, would I return? I believe I’d have to graciously decline, for the hour I spend with Blue in the air, under a sky (not picky about colour or precipitation levels) is more valuable. I can call up Billy Blanks on YouTube if I want some area fine-tuning. Billy can sweat, soaks through his clothing within minutes of exercising, but herein lies the beauty of the street and the Internet: I’m not forced to breathe any sweat-gland secretions.

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