Ever since we got back from vacation, I feel too sedentary. Instead of exploring for hours on foot (true, it was a bit more than my feet could handle), I’m sitting at my computer far too much. Ginger’s no longer here to bop my hands off the keyboard when it’s time to go out for a walk around the block. It’s all too easy just to keep writing and not get any exercise.
So I’m trying to change my habit. I’ve tracked a half-hour walking route around our neighborhood—a manageable distance—and my goal is to get my butt off the chair and out the door at least four times a week.
This is actually proving easier than I expected. In fact, it’s quite pleasant. (It helps to start a walking habit when it’s warm out.) I’ve made it out and about my route at least five times in the past week—even Monday evening, after a sweltering 90-degree day.
Em is home for a transitional break between her summer internship in D.C. and returning to grad school, so she’s joined me a couple of times for a walk-and-talk. On other days, I’ve enjoyed a chance to clear my head and walk in silence. There are plenty of street trees for shade and only a few cars on the side streets to watch out for. We’re fortunate to live in a safe neighborhood with plenty of dog walkers, cyclists, families pushing strollers and other folks out walking or jogging.
Sometimes, I find myself so deep in my head that I barely notice what’s around me. Other times, I try to focus on the colors of the houses and birdsong and gardens as a meditation, staying in the moment. I’ve decided it doesn’t matter which mode I’m in, as long as I stretch my legs, swing my arms and get lungfuls of fresh air for a good, aerobic half-hour.
What if it rains? Depends on how long and how intensely. My alternative is to go to the gym and ride the stationary bike—not as refreshing, but at least I’m exercising.
It remains to be seen how well I can keep this up as the weather gets cooler and, eventually, too cold for me to be outside. But I figure if I establish a solid pattern now, when the walking is easy, my body will get addicted to the exercise and I’ll crave it enough to stick with it.
I definitely feel better when I walk. And worse when I don’t. No doubt about that. I can do it any time I want. Best of all—it’s free.
So, no excuses. Time to get moving.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.
Photo Credit: Francesco Maglione