Sunshine and Shoe Leather
My happiness is weather dependent. Now, living in Alberta that leaves me quite vulnerable. The pandemic has added another level to weather watching. No question, the pandemic has affected us. But I find that I can cope with it much better when the sun is shining, the temperature is above at least 5°C and I can get outside for a walk.
I’m not alone. Recently on the 6 o’clock news, my favourite anchor reported that psychologists and doctors are now prescribing going outside for a walk. That is, when people get out in nature for a walk, their mood improves. We are so fortunate that in Calgary there are multiple walking paths never mind the trails as close as twenty minutes outside the city.
Throughout this pandemic, I have walked many, many kilometers. And I’m not alone. My normally quiet neighbourhood is bustling with walkers. I heard rumours that when we were in early lockdown and allowed to go outside only for groceries or to walk the dog that there was a hot market for canines. My somewhat chunky dog is now a lean, mean, walking machine.
I’ve lost 17 pounds. For the credibility of this blog, I cannot credit solely walking for this achievement as I also watched my calories. But I think going out for a long walks has taken me away from the kitchen and away from the call of food. “Feed me!” as Audrey II, the voracious plant in the movie, Little Shop of Horrors would say. “Walk me!” pleads my pooch.
Going outdoors has also allowed me to socialize with my friends. Protocols say no indoor gatherings. So, let’s go outside for a walk. At first the conversations were a little breathless as we huffed and puffed up the inclines. Now, the hills don’t seem quite as steep nor the pauses, quite as long.
The simple act of one foot in front of the other offers so much mental health benefit, socialization and physical fitness. A ‘young’ friend of mine (60) speaks of her father who is 86 years old and in good health. She credits his two hours a day of walking.
I am grateful that my legs still faithfully carry me without too many aches and pains. I know there will likely come a day when walking will be too difficult. Some of my friends are in that place now and the flights of stairs in my walk-out home act as a warning sign.
I realize it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. One walks to maintain health but needs health to walk. Maybe one day I will be going for a ‘roll’ but I know as long as I can I will be getting outside. In the meantime, you will see me strutting, a sure fire way to help cope with this pandemic. So here’s to a sunny day, dry pathways and a good pair of shoes. See you out there!