I got a friend who eats bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He calls himself a Bacontarian. He has had carotid artery angioplasty (to clean out all the bacon that lines his carotid arteries) plus a few stents. You want that? I don’t think so. You can do something. For one thing, don’t be a couch potato like my pal. In addition to the bacon, he eats Big Macs and chicken wings. Twinkies, too – or Little Debbies when he can’t find the Hostess brand. Oh, and Devil Dogs – he’s a big fan of those, too. Washes em’ down with a brewski while watching the boob tube. (He enlightens himself by watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians.) You want that? I don’t think so. You can do something.

Previously we’ve mentioned the need for PD persons to exercise and noted that this component of their therapy is as important as the meds they take. Unfortunately – and this can be applied to all people (i.e., non-PD as well as PD) – physical fitness regimens are not adequately put to use, nor are they pushed sufficiently by medical personnel – including many neurologists treating PD patients. Couple the lack of exercise with eating the ‘wrong foods’ and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, which is the unfortunate state of diabesity (diabetes + obesity) that we’ve managed to achieve these days in the US of A.

To some extent, you can blame the technological culture that’s been so heralded and celebrated. Everyone is cooped up fooling around with one of those infernal machines (excuse me, “cellular devices”) in their hands instead of participating in an athletic activity outdoors where they can get some fresh air. Jeez, when I was a kid, first thing we did when we got home from school was change our pants and then we immediately went outside to play ball. Nowadays kids don’t do that. They’re in their rooms playing with those damn machines.

Look, I’m not saying you can’t occasionally frequent one of those Asian buffets and fill yourself up until you’re ready to burst (you need absolutely to get your money’s worth, I’m agreeing with that). But don’t do it everyday, okay?

Here’s something you have to do – and it’s not an option, it’s a necessity. Exercise! We all need to do it from birth until we die. According to the American Medical Association, in tandem with the American College of Sports Medicine, all adults should get at least 150 minutes of what they call “moderate intensity” exercise – i.e., aerobic-type exercise – per week. They also recommend resistance exercise (that would be weight bearing exercise), flexibility exercise and neuromotor exercise, the latter of which they define as including “balance, agility, coordination and gait.” Needless to say, these guidelines are especially important for those with PD.

But their recommendations don’t stop there. You can’t just do the ‘magic’ 150 minutes and just sit on your duff the rest of the week. That’s no good. What’s required (by these medical professionals) is that you alter your sedentary lifestyle. “How?” you may ask. How ‘bout fixing your roof? Maybe apply some driveway sealer – you’ll burn up a few calories doing that. Or, a little less extreme, vacuum your casa or cut the grass. Or dig a garden. Do somethin’, for god sakes … Or return to your youth by playing stickball (bring a defunct game back to life) or ring-a-levio. Maybe punchball (maybe not). Looks like we need to bring back Eisenhower and the 50’s! (And the Kingston Trio and bomb shelters.)

Whatever you do, take that bag of Cheetos and chuck it. If you do find yourself compelled to having to eat a Drake’s cake (Ring Dings – yummy, emmm), at least have the good sense to do it when no one’s watching. And try your best not to listen to Orville Redenbacher or the Keebler Elf. Just stick a piece of celery in your mouth and go over to the club and play some ping pong. And tell ‘em Groucho sent ya! Lao Du