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Talk-show host Mike Bullard on sedentariness

Drawn Off Topic: Talk-show host Mike Bullard on sedentariness

Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail

Mike Bullard is the former host of the CTV late-night talk show Open Mike with Mike Bullard, and current host of Beyond the Mic with Mike Bullard on Toronto's Newstalk 1010 radio.

Are you sitting as we speak on the phone?

Right now, I'm sitting.

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We're going to talk about sedentary being the "new smoking," the new, greatest health risk. Do you want to take 30 seconds to do some jumping jacks before we go on?

Yep. Hang on. One … two … three … four … Okay, I'm back. This isn't some kind of test is it?

No. A recent survey determined that the average Canadian is sedentary 50 to 70 per cent of the day. Would those numbers apply to you?

Sitting on my butt? No. What if I sit on someone else's butt? Isn't that good? That's like yoga.

What do you do that is non-sedentary?

I go to the gym every day. It's really about the juice bar, but I do 50 sit-ups, 75 crunches, I box on a heavy bag for 12 rounds, then I ride the stationary bike, then I do free weights for 25 minutes.

Are you serious?

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Whaddya mean, serious? Have you looked at me?

Excellent. With that regimen you are well above the Canadian average. Only 15 per cent of Canadians achieve the minimum recommended daily level of exercise.

I've been like this since I was 11 and I got a bronze in ParticipACTION. Everybody laughed at me. This made me the man I am today.

One factor in the rise of sedentariness of Canadians is the decline in manual labour jobs. Do you do any manual labour?

I press my own microphone button.

What was the last blue-collar job you had?

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When I started out with Bell Canada, I was an installer and a lineman and worked my way up.

Up the poles, with spikes on your insteps?

That's right. I cut quite a figure in those days.

The point of the survey is that exercise is good, but one hour out of 24 doesn't outweigh all the sedentary. For health sake, it's imperative we get up and move regularly, even if it's getting up and changing the channel.

Getting up and changing the channel! That options not even available on today's TVs!

Well, that's my next question. We're inundated with labour-saving devices and conveniences; one-touch this and drive-thru that. Do we need more inconvenience, for health's sake?

No, we need to compensate. Take a look at my old man. I never saw my father do a push-up or a sit-up in his entire life. They were that generation that came out of the Depression and they figured that the little things they did like walkin' around made up for it. But they didn't. That was generation that didn't know anything about health. They'd eat every processed food that they could get their hands on.

They were old at 65. Dead at 70.

That's my whole point. We probably stand a shot at becoming the healthiest generation in human history.

Unless the sedentariness gets to us.

We're not sedentary. I don't believe it. Not one guy I hang with is sedentary.

Most of us work sitting down, drive or ride to work, relax sitting in front of the TV.

I'd be willing to bet that we watch less TV than our parents did.

Stats don't lie.

Stats don't lie? Stats lie constantly! They're produced by Stephen Harper.

The key phrase to save us all from an early grave is "light ambulation" – just getting up from the desk or couch and moving about a little, not doing 12 rounds on a heavy bag.

Y'know what "light ambulation" is to me? When I finally get rushed to the hospital, there's not going to be a lot of traffic and they're going to synchronize the lights.

I do perform light ambulations. The program director accuses me of walking around doing nothing when I'm here.

You performed stand-up comedy. Would that be a healthy antidote to lethal sendentariness?

Oh yeah! God, yes. Look at how many stand-up comics are in tip-top physical condition and live to 90!

Stairs or escalators?

I'm gonna take the stairs. It takes longer. The quicker I get there, the longer I have to wait for the TTC [subway].

Five blocks. If you had an errand five blocks away, would you walk or drive?

Walk. Thanks to the bylaw officers and the way they ticket, I would walk five blocks.

Stand-up desks. Brilliant or weird?

I don't believe in a stand-up desk. Too Bob Cratchit. Reminds me of the days before unions.

Again, do we need more health-promoting inconveniences in our life?

I think sex toys should be banned. We should be doing all that stuff the old-fashioned way. I don't want my girlfriend to have an orgasm as I'm leaving the room. It's bad for both of us.

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