I’ve recently returned from trekking the Inca Trail in Peru where I was faced with a rather inconvenient truth: I am unbelievably unfit. My aversion to camping and group holidays aside, my chief complaint, having been dragged up a mountain by my adventure-seeking husband, was my objection to anything that remotely resembles physical exercise. If I break out in a sweat, it’s a bad day.
Friends seem genuinely surprised at this revelation, regularly responding with ‘…but you are always walking the dog.’ Now, let’s get something straight here. Yes, I do take the dog for walks most days…and this is what it looks like…
I get woken up by the dog licking my face to indicate that he needs immediate bladder relief. We walk once around the block, come back for breakfast and then get into the car and drive to the park. At the park I follow said dog into the middle of the wide open space where I spend the next hour chatting to all my fellow dog-owner friends, while the dogs merrily play together and essentially walk themselves. When I feel Dante (aforementioned canine companion) has exercised himself appropriately, I get back into the car, drive home and treat myself to a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. It’s shameful, really.
This admission becomes even more disgraceful when I recall that in week #18‘s ‘small change’ I opted to take less car journeys. However, as public transport fares continue to rise and the weather turns colder I find myself driving more than ever before. I’ve simply disregarded the impact of my actions on the environment in favour of convenience.
All things considered, it was clearly time to reassess my carbon footprint and my lackadaisical approach to exercise. My excuse for driving to the park has historically been that the dog wouldn’t make it there and back and I would end up carrying him, as is often the typical outcome of longer walks. On Saturday, after working my way through the Inch Loss Pilates DVD which has been gathering dust beside it’s DVD friends, I decided to enjoy the autumn sunshine and walk the dog to the park. To my utter amazement, on arrival he bounded into the park in a way that I have not seen him do since he was a sprightly puppy. It was as if the extra exercise had actually energised him. Impossible. He ran circles for 45 minutes and then trotted home as if he had just been given a new lease on life. As for myself, it seems that exercise of the non-strenuous kind has it’s advantages and I caught myself feeling uncharacteristically rejuvenated that afternoon.
As was my intention with this blog, the ‘small changes’ proposed should be easily incorporated into everyday life. Sadly for me, I now have very few excuses which still justify driving to the park. It is really simple to swap a frustrating drive in morning rush hour for a brisk walk to get the endorphins flowing. Let’s face it, I am never going to be a champion triathlete but if I am determined to change the world, I know where I have to start: with me.