Thursday, September 3, 2009

Making the Best of Walking

I'll let you in on one of my many guilty little secrets. I don't really like to walk that much. Ooooh, bad Jayne! Fitness and health writers are supposed to LOVE walking. The Mayo Clinic, for example, blathers on about how walking is so good for you, so safe, so cheap, etc. (And excuse me, Mayo Clinic, but do you really think that walking is going to "trim your waistline"? Y'all must be walking in some different shoes than I am.)

Well, sure, walking's all those things. It's a low-impact way to move the bod, and if the bod is sporting many pounds of excess flab, you're a lot less likely to damage yourself by walking than by playing badminton or basketball. Plus walking takes place outside, which is a positive.

That is all true. But I find walking to be tedious. I admit it.
I'd much rather run or jog than walk. I like hiking, certainly, but that involves being really outside, somewhere with mountains or other nature-y benefits. And there are parts of the world that are just so magical that walking in them is pure joy. Much of Wales or Scotland, for example, or the Mendocino coast. But that's more like hiking, really. "Walking," to me, generally involves being a flat, paved environment, probably suburban or urban, and is either something I have to do, like getting from the train station to the office, or convince myself I should do, like this morning.

Now I know I am diametrically opposing many of my own dictums here. Chapter 5 - Embrace the Awesome Power of Fun, for example, states unequivocally that exercise should not be drudgery, and I have just confessed that walking is a bit on the drudgy side. I have also written about how every time you go out and move your body, you should feel grateful for the privilege of doing so (Chapter 40). How you should move like an animal (Chapter 13) - relaxed, graceful, efficient. Well, fine. Some days the reward for the exercise is not the awesome power of the fun; it's the awesome power of the smugness that you can radiate when you know you got up and exercised before work. Sometimes the animal that you're moving like is a tired old hippo, not a young gazelle bounding over the plains, and the hippo is grouchy from the parasites that live under her skin.

And until I feel like my core and my joints are strong enough to run, I will walk. I'll do a few "pushups" off the metal gate along the path, and a few "assisted pullups" on a low tree branch, just to break up the monotony and use a few more muscles. I'll enjoy the ground squirrels and the mountain plover (pictured) in the landscaping of the Ghost Office Complex. I'll try to make it fun. And I'll look forward to running again.


  1. Hey Jayne, try telling yourself this:

    "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't." - Jerry Rice


  2. I think my goals are much less lofty than that! It's more like "Today I will do what just about everybody can, so tomorrow I can accomplish something fairly average."

  3. You're not giving yourself near enough credit. By signing up and training (yes...even walking) for a triathlon, you are doing what most others won't which is far from "something fairly average". Just think of "tomorrow" as your race day and then you can say "Yesterday I did what you wouldn't so today I could accomplish what you can't." Maybe you should go into the inspirational t-shirt business. ;) Hang in there!

  4. Um.... did I say I had signed up for a triathlon?

  5. I don't like walking either. Which I find weird. Doesn't everyone like to walk? Except my two all-time favorite sporty activities -- biking, figure skating -- both involve feeling like you are flying and walking definitely doesn't feel anything like that. So I guess it's not that weird after all.

  6. I looooove walking because I'm to damned lazy to like anything more rigorous. I listen to books on tape for motivation--I walk 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back and I time my self by the book. Thrillers completely immerse me and the time flies by. If I really like a book, I'm only allowed to listen to it on walks--which means I'll walk more.