Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, August 17, 2015

Move

I live in a neighborhood that was built about 30 years ago.  My husband and I are original residents so I remember a time when all the growth was young and not very big.  I love the maturity of the vegetation and how it provides a cool and shaded space to live and walk.


Really, there is no excuse for not walking in my neighborhood.  It is safe and well maintained and comfortable.

But for some darn reason finding time for walking is always a struggle for me.  This spring I started out so well with a routine of regular exercise.  Then the house renovations started.  Three weeks of painting, and a week of kitchen renovation ... and all those weeks and weeks to prepare and clean out and recover.  No walking then.  And some days the heat was more of an assault than even these lovely trees could cope with.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

That is all those barriers were ... just excuses.

Last week I began again to establish a walking routine.  And I kept thinking about the why and how of my struggle with this simple habit.

And then I saw it.  The example of what happens to you when you don't keep active.  I saw it on my walk and it is a picture I just might put on my fridge to motivate me.

This is an old road way that was closed to through traffic over 30 years ago.
It ends at a creek where the bridge was washed away in a long-a-go hurricane.

Do you see it?

It is so obvious that you might miss it if you are looking too closely.  The side walk suddenly narrows.  Oh, the side walk is still there - hiding under the overgrowth of nature, but the path shrinks remarkably when not tended.


I live just to the left of this picture.

Here is the view with me standing on the narrow path.  And literally, this is where I feel like I am looking at my walking life at present. Standing on a narrow untended path.

You would think the example of inactivity in my mom's life would put the fear of God into me.  And it did for a time.  But images like that fade from memory.

I am a very visual person.  I do best with graphic examples.  My visual memory is petty darn good as evidenced by road trips when I could find my way back without a map - because I had "come this way before," ... even it is was years and years ago.

And so, in my walking world, I have come this way before.  I am standing in a place that is not well tended and I see where I want to go.   Aim for enough activity to broaden the path - my life.  This image also accurately shows how quickly you lose stamina over 60.  When I was 30 I could hold onto energy without much effort.  Now if there is no effort, the path narrows very very quickly.  Nuts!

This aging process certainly is a whole lot of work.  No wonder so many folks just give up and sit!

Out of respect to the body that got me this far - I am a bit more reasonable about expectations, but "reasonable" is not my normal mode of operation when it comes to exercise.  I am wired to be a competitive person - always looking to do more - be the best - aim for the lead.  And because of that exercise has always been "all or nothing" thinking.  After all, you can't be competing all the time.  Competing means there is a start and a finish - and someone wins.  This less younger version of me has had to readjust that thinking.  Walking doesn't have a start and finish as a habit.  The goal is not to be a winner, just physically a more active version of me.

Now my goal is to just move!  It isn't important that I beat last month's time, or walk more miles than I did last week.  The goal has slipped comfortably into what makes sense now - keep moving - and hold onto 10,000 steps a day average.  Those steps don't have to be fast, they don't have to be all at one time - but they should happen ... just happen!  As far as goals go, this one couldn't be more simple.

So here I go again.

Pedometer says today I have only 525 steps - at 8:23 am this morning.  Only 9,500 more to go!

9 comments:

  1. This is a really good take on exercise after 60. I just don't see the need for the struggle anymore. I used to do it just to look good!! How shallow. But that was my driving force. Now it is hard and I give up so easily. Maybe one day I will get excited about moving again! Not today!!

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    1. I don't think I ever exercised to look good. I guess I never thought it made me look better. I always wanted to feel better. But now that I am over 60 my aim is not to feel "better" than normal, but to just feel normal. After a few months of doing nothing, I feel like a woman who is 10 years older than I am - and I refuse to feel like I am 78 when I am only 68. But once I start to feel "normal" I forget and stop exercising ... and the cycle starts all over again, except each time I start again it takes longer to feel "normal" again. *sigh*

      I am even beginning to worry that my level of normal is lower than it used to be!!

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  2. The key for me was to start. Just start. What keeps me motivated is how I feel since I've started. It's kind of addictive, really. I don't know whether it's endorphins or oxygenation, but I just plain feel better.
    There's a commercial on TV, don't ask me what it's for, couldn't tell you, but It goes something like "A body in motion tends to stay in motion. I believe that to be true.
    Broaden that path. You only get to walk it once.
    Good luck.

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    1. Well, I got the "start" part down since I have soooo many starts in my past. I guess if I string all my starts together, it counts. But somehow I don't think it works that way! Haha

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  3. That is a great analogy.
    As you know I go for my walk in the morning as soon as I get up. I started that so there was no time to change my mind. : ) I've been walking for just over 27 years now and it has become part of who I am.
    I'm glad to hear you are starting again. : ) You do live in a beautiful walking place.

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  4. Great picture and thoughts - just the push I need to do something I know I should be doing for exactly the reasons you mention! Out first thing in the morning to walk is my plan for tomorrow. It is still cool enough then - I can do it!

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  5. I did notice the path narrowing and had to look closely to see it wasn't just a difference in how the sidewalk was put in. Lovely visual to remember why we keep at excercise.

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  6. That is a very helpful image. I have so many excuses, too, and I can't even begin to think about moving until I have my morning coffee. Or can I? OK, I'm going to give this a try -- first thing in the morning, before my coffee, 20 minutes. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Chris

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  7. This sounds like ME . . . .
    I needed your visual today . . . .
    I decided Labor Day was the day when I would begin measuring my steps, AGAIN.
    Thanks to you way back a bit I bought a wrist pedometer and it really helped my motivation. IF I WEAR IT. But I have slipped back into my lazy mode and now the effort to pick myself back up again seems more daunting than ever before.
    So a visit from you to my blog, took me to a visit to your blog and right here, right now, the pedometer is back on and I am beginning again. I strive for the 10,000 . . . thrilled when Iover!
    So moving my body is my goal for this final quarter of the year . . . YES . . . I can do it . . . venturing out on the narrow path . . .

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