I’ve just got back into walking again…my incentive is the London Moonwalk 2013 that I, my Mum and three friends have signed up for. I find that I need a goal when it comes to exercise, otherwise I will come up with any excuse I can find to not do it. I currently feel pretty healthy, but I know there is much room for improvement in the fitness stakes. I’ve just never been a huge exercise fan, or I get into something for a while and then go off the idea. I’d love to be one of those people that gets addicted to running and just simply has to have a run every day, or to know what it’s like to feel really physically fit. But I guess I don’t want it enough. Or feel that there are enough hours in my day to achieve it. But I am mindful that taking some form of regular exercise is very beneficial to my overall health, so the only way I am going to do it is to give myself something to aim and train for.
Whilst out on one of my lunch time walks last week, I got to thinking as to why walking works for me…I concluded the following: it’s low impact, it doesn’t really feel like ‘proper exercise’ to me, I can fit it into my day quite easily, it’s free, I don’t have to get all sweaty, the scenery is mostly pleasant and ever changing, I can choose to do it alone or with eople depending on how the mood takes me…and there are fewer excuses not to do it (although I have still come up with a couple of genius ones!). I also like being outdoors in the fresh air, and due to a few incidences on a recent walk, I realised that it provides me with that all important ‘connectedness’ to other people that contributes to my wellbeing.
Let me explain. Whilst out on my walk I passed a woman going in the opposite direction who looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders. She looked seriously laden down. As I strolled past her I gave her a smile. She looked momentarily taken aback, but then returned my smile. I then passed an older gentleman who I used to see every time I did that circuit previously, which I realised was a couple of years ago when I was training for the Yorkshire Three Peaks. ‘Has he been walking every lunch time since then?’, ‘Has he, like me, just started up again?’, ‘Is he training for something?’ I thought…an exchanged nod, smile and flicker of recognition made me wonder if he was asking himself the exact same questions about me.
Towards the end of my walk, I came across a guy who worked at the marina making a fuss of a cat before getting into his car. However, when he tried to get into his car to carry on with his day, the cat jumped onto and settled itself comfortably on his bonnet. He looked momentarily flummoxed, and then set about trying to ‘shoo’ it from his car without touching it…it was quite an entertaining scene, and as he looked up mid-shoo and saw me surveying his predicament, he raised his eyebrow and we had a little chuckle. I slowed my pace, wondering whether to step in and pick the cat up for him, since he seemed reluctant to do so himself, but it finally got the hint from his effusive arm-waving actions and, giving him a disdainful look, slowly slinked off the bonnet and went on its way.
A connection, however brief, was made between me and each of these people. I don’t know if they thought anything of it, like I did; if it had an impact of any significance on their days. I’d like to think that it might have, even if just for one of them. It’s as much about the small, special moments and connections in life as the bigger ones I think.
My earlier post about wellbeing contained five ways to achieve personal wellbeing…I feel that walking satisfies three of those things for me – connecting, being active and taking notice – and in a way that I have not noticed in other forms of exercise. I always return a lot happier and clearer minded than when I left, and I certainly find myself having a more productive rest of the day.
So, it doesn’t matter that I can’t afford expensive gym memberships, or to sign up for the latest craze of classes…I get my wellbeing kicks from walking and I hope that after the London Moonwalk I can remind myself of this and make it part of my weekly routine, even without a goal.
Until next time, love and pesky felines, sm x