Recently, I’ve been trying to become just a little healthier – for quite some time I’ve had that nagging inner voice telling me it wouldn’t do any harm to ease off the chocolate and get out and about a bit more often, but you know how it is. Having a job that is frequently pretty sedentary, where if I’m not sat at a desk I tend to be sat on a train, and which tends to leave me wanting to veg out in the evenings – unless I’m working away, in which case it’s eating out – never a good thing, is not really conducive to living a healthy lifestyle.
It’s one of those things about which I’m not really a self-starter either; the days when I was super fit and would cheerfully spend several hours a week, including most of the weekend, undertaking pretty intense and challenging physical pursuits are long gone. I certainly couldn’t do even half of what I used to think nothing of in my younger days, and I doubt I could ever attain that level of fitness again. That, in itself, isn’t a worry – it’s life, and the natural process of getting on a bit, but there are occasional moments when I wish I could recover some of that degree of fitness… I just don’t fancy putting the hard work in to achieve it any more! Even if I could, I’d need a good hard push in order to get me going and, more importantly, keep me at it.
So, maybe I should be careful what I wish for… The phone call from my doctor was, at worst, a gentle rebuke, but it did give me something of a kick up the butt that I probably did need. “Really nothing to worry about”, she said, which of course worried me silly: My bloods were back and my ‘good’ cholesterol was low, whilst the ‘bad’ cholesterol was a little high – nothing particularly dangerous, but a wake-up call that I probably needed. So, it’s in with the oily fish and salads, out with the cakes and dairy, and briskly walking where previously I’d stroll. It’s not a massive lifestyle change, and it’s only been about six weeks so far, but if I can keep it up and maybe step it up a gear, it will hopefully do the trick, and maybe I’ll even feel somewhat better in myself.
Such things are difficult enough in the real world… can you imagine how difficult it would be to live a healthy virtual lifestyle?
All those little changes we can make in RL whose cumulative overall effect can impact positively on our health and wellbeing are just not really an option inworld – not that they’d make any difference, anyway. Who, for example is going to take the stairs; walk, rather than drive; or take the healthy option, rather than the full fat version? In the virtual world, it’s just far too easy to teleport and fly, and it doesn’t matter what you eat in terms of virtual food – it’s not going to have any effect on your waistline, whatsoever.
All the above is, of course, totally academic – we can live whatever lifestyle we choose, good, bad or indifferent, in virtual form and our virtual ‘health’ is never going to suffer. As far as I know, there are no healthy lifestyle HUDs that punish us when we fail to go for a daily virtual jog by bumping us up from a ‘small’ to a ‘medium’ mesh dress size. Neither, to the best of my knowledge, does anyone make an ‘out of breath from climbing the stairs’ AO. Who wants to be reminded of our human frailties in SL anyway?
There is, of course, a downside to this. Whilst our avatars may stay svelte and toned, we on the other hand, sat in front of our computer screens, drinking our second large glass of pinot grigio, and tucking in to a family-sized bag of crisps for hours on end, day after day, are possibly not in such a good place to be. It doesn’t matter how athletic our on-screen antics, the mere fact that we are sat watching and doing little in the way of healthy exercise as a result of indulging our SL habit is almost certainly having a deleterious effect. Somewhat worrisome, don’t you think?
In a way, it’s a great pity that we’re unable to reap the benefits of some of our inworld activities – the amount of dancing alone that I do whilst logged in would probably keep me fitter than your average Olympian – either that, or it would be the death of me! It would be lovely though to be able to capture some of that SL goodness, however when it comes to keeping fit and healthy, I’m afraid the virtual world will never be any substitute for sheer hard work and willpower… Grrrr!
Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin
I came to win, battle me that’s a sin
I won’t ever slack up, punk you better back up
House Of Pain – Jump Around