I asked my friend the other day ‘how much is too much’ when it comes to exercise.
I’m still so unfamiliar with how my body reacts to it that I’m like a little child in many respects, and I have to hurt myself a lot of the time to learn not to do something.
My walk to Leamington last Friday was a truly watershed moment and it filled me with a lot of confidence. However my brain is often trying to write cheques my body can’t quite cash.
I still annoyingly have to stop and remind myself that I’m 10 years older than the last time I tried to change myself dramatically and in that period my body hasn’t improved – in fact it’s got a bit creakier if anything.
But I still want to walk EVERYWHERE all of a sudden.
- Saturday – walk around Jefferson Gardens (about a mile and a half / two miles total)
- Sunday – walk to the park, up to the church, and home back again (3 miles)
- Monday – walk to the park, a lap round the park and back home again (3.5 miles)
- Tuesday – walk to the park, a lap around the park and back home again (3.5 miles)
- Wednesday – drove near to park and walked 2 laps (2.25 miles)
Conservatively this week (I’ve been plotting it roughly on google maps rather than using a GPS app) I’ve already walked 13 miles. That’s my current record matched and it’s not yet Saturday.
All I have to do is walk to the shop and I’ve gone further than I have before between weigh-ins.
But things hurt, and as I was saying to my fellow Slimming World walking companion this morning – I don’t want to go ‘too far’ – but then simultaneously I am left with a continually nagging feeling I’m not getting out enough.
Honestly though after these ‘strolls’ I’m wiped out. By that I mean ‘face plant my pillow’ kind of tired, so even though I’m completing them they’re still not things I could easily build into a working day. Currently I would have to do one or the other.
My friend (probably the wrong person to ask about this considering he just cycled up several French mountains and sets himself a weekly pain target relating to speed and distance on his bike) suggested I could do something at home, like hula hooping in the garden, which his partner sometimes does.
It was when he said this that I realised there’s another, more emotional aspect to my exercise.
‘No’ I said, typing my reply to him into Facebook messenger. ‘The BIG motivator is being part of the world.’
I thought for a moment, and then continued.
‘After so long of being shut in I just want to be out there.’
And there it was.
I’ve declined any of the ‘body magic’ awards so far at Slimming World. I don’t want my walking to be regimented or count as part of my diet (even though it obviously DOES).
I would rather think of it as my new way of life, and my doorway to new people and new experiences. It’s something that (confusingly I know) I want to keep separate and for my pleasure, and not have it become mandatory hardship.
It was for just this reason that I was again walking with a fellow SW’er today, and chatting while we watched the swanling meander along the river.
It’s almost the size of its parent now, and its feathers are beginning to look unkempt – like they’re about to be replaced with bolder, adult ones.
As we sat on my favourite bench watching them we both reflected on events in the past, and how they had shaped us in the present. Conversation was easy underneath a shady tree on a comfortable seat by a river.
The park seems to bring this out in people. Everyone seems to find it easier to talk there. For some reason social convention doesn’t allow for this on the street – which as I reflect upon it I think is strange and a bit sad.
Today as my companion and I were leaving the park we met for the third time that day a lady with a beautiful fluffy dog and her toddler. He was bouncing all over the place and she was trying in vain to wear him out and get him to sleep.
The three of us stopped and talked for a while, spontaneously sharing some detail about where we came from and what brought us to this part of the world.
Although her parents were from India she was brought up in London, and looked back on her apparently raucous childhood with a hint of glee. She told us that her parents had no idea at the time that she got into cars with boys and was a complete rebel when she was a teenager. She smiled as she remembered her youth – which was clearly a busy and outgoing one.
She missed the city, but wasn’t going back.
Her toddler (she said) would grow up here, like his artist father did (the reason she moved to Warwickshire was love) and he would have the slower and more wholesome life of someone in an area surrounded by countryside, not the dangers of London.
He seemed obliviously happy and was clambering around her, tying his harness round the pram and the dog lead as he did so.
His loose brown curly hair and bright brown eyes showed nothing but promise and enthusiasm as he tried to pick up and sample every piece of dirt in his vicinity.
‘At least he’ll build a good immune system!’ my companion commented – and the lady nodded with a grin.
We finally said our goodbyes and went on our separate ways – with my SW buddy getting ready to head off to the rest of her busy day.
Part of the reason we moved on is because standing still isn’t good for either of us – and can be quite uncomfortable.
When we left the lady with the sleep resistant toddler my left leg really hurt. It does that if I stand still or walk too slowly.
However if I walk too fast my left calf muscle hurts.
If I sit to recover for too long from the ligament pain and calf fatigue the plantar fasciitis in my right foot makes me hobble and limp for a while when I get back up until the pain subsides.
It’s difficult to know what to do for the best.
I don’t think I can avoid this though, and the answer is not sitting on my ass. I just have to work through it and look at all the positives I get from walking.
In this respect my park companion is a breezy and bright inspiration – who (having experienced similar problems) is always upbeat and positive.
I wouldn’t have talked to her for the best part of two hours if I’d stayed at home with a hula hoop in my garden.
I wouldn’t have met the wide awake toddler and his city slicker mother with a rebellious youth either.
That’s why I walk.
But I still count it all. It counts towards my pounds lost.
13 miles Internet. Count em. Booya!