Friday, May 29, 2020

Morning Walks

I've taken to going for walks fairly early in the morning, before 7am, when the streets are quiet(er).  It's just me, early dogwalkers, and garbagemen.  A jogger or two.  I'll make a cup of coffee, throw some weight (20# or so) in a backpack and head out.  Call it rucking if you like. 

I'm grateful to live in a neighborhood lush with foliage.  There are lots of houses with beautiful front gardens, and this Spring it's been incredible to simply watch things grow and bloom.  I notice something new every time I go out.

Sidenote: the iNaturalist app has been helpful for identifying the things I'm seeing--putting a name to a face.  This nice yellow flower, for example, is called "Creeping Buttercup".

Here are some more:

I've found it very useful to track my daily step count during these times, to try and match my activity level pre-pandemic (7000 steps per day).  I work in the restaurant industry, and I've been unemployed since things really shut down.  I noticed old aches and pains coming back with a vengeance after a couple weeks of simply taking it easy, and just the small act of making sure I get those 7000 steps in goes a long way (with or without a weighted pack).  I've realized how important walking is--it definitely meets the criterion for the "80/20" rule (80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts--walking is absolutely part of that 20%).  When I think back to periods of my life when I felt particularly limber and pain-free, I notice that, hmmm...yep, I was walking a lot at that point.

So much of life is steeped in convenience at this point.  It would be entirely possible to sustain life from the couch--ordering delivery (and even cocktails--absurd) and binge-watching Netflix all day, waiting for the world to open back up.  But our bodies are efficient, and if you don't use it, you lose it.  We actually have to intentionally introduce challenge ("load") to our lives if we want to stay strong, limber, and youthful.  This means getting outside (wear a mask), cooking your food (after walking to the farmer's market to buy your produce, perhaps), installing a pull-up bar in your home and hanging from it throughout the day--anything you can do to undermine the convenience that is seemingly always there, offering to do it for us.

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