First Steps

Yesterday afternoon I was mucking out the basement storage closet, a profoundly dreary and dispiriting task, when I realized it was an achingly beautiful fall day outside and I should go for a walk with Lucy and get back to the shit-shoveling when it was dark out.

When I first started walking Lucy, I would get annoyed with her for needing to stop and pee or poop or sniff stuff, thereby interrupting my brisk, even walking pace. Then I started to use those moments to look around and notice things - the colour of the sky, clouds or stars, trees and flowers, things I don't really notice in detail when charging ahead trying to get my heart rate up and my steps in. It was nice.

Today I was noticing that my shins were hurting if I tried to keep up my usual pace. Maybe I need new shoes. Maybe I'm tired and my gait is off. Whatever, it was vexing, and I actually found myself thinking "oh no! I won't be able to walk!" Because when I'm too lazy or depressed to make it to the gym, I use walking Lucy as my main form of exercise.

Then I examined that thought and found it abominably stupid. I won't be able to walk? Oh wait, yes I can walk. I maybe can't walk for Canada in the Olympics. I can't break any land-speed records. Can I walk down the street, around the block, to the park and back, looking around, moving my body, breathing in air that isn't actually only meant for people who wear spandex and can run a four-minute mile? Well yes, I can. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache walks his German shepherd Henri down the snowy streets of Three Pines, does he take his pulse regularly and think about whether this walk is making his butt look better? I think not.

I came across Depression-Busting Exercise Tips for People Too Depressed to Exercise a while ago on Facebook (at least I think I did - I know I came across something that really rang true with me, but I stupidly didn't save it and when I went looking for it just now I found this, which I think is what I meant, but honestly I'm not entirely sure) and thought it was brilliant, but obviously I haven't really taken it to heart. I think I need to stick it on the drawer where I keep my sports bras. Or on the front door. Or possibly on my forehead.

"Knowing what will help you isn't close to half the battle. It's a tenth of the battle at best."

"If you’re just doing it because you think that you should, though, or if it becomes just another way to punish yourself, that doesn’t work." 

"The perfect exercise is anything that you will actually consider doing. The perfect body is a breathing one."

"Listen to your body."

Reading it over now, I'm sure it's the thing I was thinking of, and I really want to give the writer a hug. Also, now I have Jane Siberry's The Walking and Constantly running through my head.

Every now and then things become clear.


StephLove said…
I like those moments of clarity, too. Sometimes they are few and far between.
I am trying to force myself to go outside when it is decent weather. I don't know if I'm getting depressed or just utterly despondent about our election. I force myself to look at the gorgeous fall leaves and it helps me. So, yes, looking around and noticing things is a great exercise, and probably just as important as the moving around kind of exercise.

"The perfect body is a breathing one." Thank you for this.

Now I'm going to check out your links.
Helen Abbott said…
The Walking and Constantly!!!! Haven't listened to that in years but your mention of it brought it back. Love it. Also lovely that you're posting again! Yay November!
Nicole Boyhouse said…
That is all good advice. Also, I would get annoyed when Barkley was a puppy and would have to sniff/ pee on everything. But it's really better to stop and admire the landscape, you're right.

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