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Disability Bitch: it's either walking or broccoli

3rd February 2011

• Disability Bitch is published every Thursday.

Oh, readers, I'm doomed. Again. I'd like to live a long and healthy life, I really would, but every day a new piece of scientific advice is published which indicates that I'm going to live a short and sickly one because of who I am. It cuts to the core.
A man and a woman walk 'briskly' by a river
I read today, for example, that scientists have newly discovered that walking for 40 minutes a few times a week preserves memory and "keeps ageing brains on top form".

Well, I had a panic attack just looking at a footpath the other day. It's no surprise I can hardly remember my own name; I consider myself to have done well if I've walked forty minutes in a month, never mind a single 24 hour period.

If I were physically capable of walking that far, I'd cease to be 'Disability' Bitch, I'd be some perverse and boring strain of super being, I imagine.

In my experience, very few mobility-impaired people can walk 40 minutes a day - at least without moaning about it and claiming to be in extreme pain. If the scientists are correct, the logical conclusion is that all physically disabled people will end up with rubbish memories.

Well, listen up, I HATE ABLE-CENTRIC HEALTH ADVICE and I won't resign myself to such a fate. Instead, I've found some alternative memory-boosting advice which doesn't rely on physical prowess. Let me share it with you ...

After intensive research, I discovered that - far from recommending lengthy strolls - a few years ago, the scientific community were endorsing fish oil as a way of fending off age-related forgetfulness.

So, instead of walking 40 minutes a day, I'm going to be old school and eat fish. Eating, that's more my style!
A bottle of red wine with two glasses
Memory isn't the only function which scientists claim can be preserved by a stint of showy able-bodiedness; exercise seems to be able to save us from all manner of things.

In 2003, the big news was that 'brisk' walking can strengthen your heart, and medics have barely stopped singing its praises since. Not just any old walking, readers, 'brisk' walking.

Last time I travelled anywhere briskly, it was to hurry away from the neurologist who wanted to inject things into my feet, and I had to lie down for a week afterwards.

I don't want to die of heart disease, so, naturally I was thrilled when I found a more suitable piece of advice on the internet which taught me that drinking more than six cups of tea a day has protective benefits.

If I've interpreted this correctly, it means I can avoid 'brisk walking' and sit on the sofa all day. But I can only do this if I chain drink hot caffeinated beverages. I think I do this already, what a stroke of luck.
A colander of broccoli
Incidentally, other substances which are a little bit good for your heart include red wine and dark chocolate. My cardiac health must be seriously top notch, in fact.

Finally, this elusive 'brisk walking' - not just ordinary walking - is also supposed to prevent cancer. Crumbs, I've already given up smoking, isn't that enough?

It's all OK though because, if you want to reduce your chances of the Big C and can't worship the god of painful health at the gym, I'm here to remind you that there's a chemical in broccoli which might be helpful. Same goes for soy sauce, apparently. Have I ever told you how much I love Chinese vegetable stir fry? Get cooking, my immobile friends.

In conclusion, if you can't walk: fish, tea and broccoli seem your best bet for now.

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