During one of my recent talks at a church, someone asked me, “How can you exercise when you feel unsafe in your neighborhood?” Honestly, I hate the fact that this is a legitimate question that I often hear. I’m a Chicagoan who’s proud to live on the Southside, but I can understand how some neighborhoods don’t scream, “Put on your Lululemon and get these steps in.”
Of course, all neighborhoods should be safe spaces for exercise, but the prescription for that degree of safety is beyond the reach of my prescription pad. So, I gave the audience a reasonable, simple exercise that does not require leaving your home—weighted Hula hooping.
The crowd immediately erupted in laughter after I said: “hula hooping.” When I looked serious, the laughter stopped, and I saw a sea of sharp side-eyes peering under the wide brims of church hats. I looked over to the pastor for some support—he just had his face in hands. And, he didn’t appear to be praying either. Then, I looked over at the church keyboard player to back me up with some gospel chords; the dude was just shaking his head.
So, I humbly turned to the skeptical crowd and said, “Look at your neighbor on your right and repeat after me… Hula-hooping is good for you.” The crowd let out a slightly uncomfortable laugh at my feeble attempt at a ‘call-and-response.’ Then, I proceeded to win them over further with a couple of memory verses and highlights from a recent study that investigated the health benefits of using a weighted hula-hoop.
In this post, I’ll spare you my in-depth analysis of the biblical story of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego; and I’ll break down the study’s findings instead.…
I am a physician and trained chef. I specialize in gastroenterology and nutrition. Currently I work as the Associate Director of Adult Nutrition at the University of Chicago.