|The intimate life of the neighbourhood.|
This morning, I walked Mama Shalako’s dog Zoe. Then I took off and got coffee, smokes and et cetera. Five bucks worth of gas or something. Then I went for a walk along Canatara Beach. It’s at least a kilometre or more each way, from one end to the other by the yacht club. It’s all sand and it’s soft to walk on, and it also slows you down. The hard-packed stuff at the water’s edge is good to walk on, although it’s on an angle. If you have hip problems, or knee problems, it’s better to go higher up and follow trails that are closer to the level.
I did both on my recent walk. My right leg is about a half an inch shorter these days than my left one, so returning to the vehicle was all right along the shoreline.
Over the course of the day, walking the dog a couple of times, and walking at the park, I probably walked a good four kilometres. That’s not bad, especially considering my legs didn’t go numb, and while my hips can certainly feel it, there’s no major aches and pains. I’m 55 years old, suffered some back injuries when I was about thirty or so. I’ve had plenty of back pain and back problems. But it’s not just injuries. We spend far too much time in a chair, on a couch, or on a bed getting worked over by a chiropractor.
When people suffer back pain and the doctors can’t find a cause for it, that’s most likely at least one part of the problem—we are far too sedentary.
It wasn’t always that way, and in future, it might not always the way it is now; in my own particular case. Tomorrow might very well be different.
The weather is relatively good, and yet I don’t feel like riding my bicycle around town—holiday traffic, rain, wind and just plain overcast skies sort of take the charm out of that.
The point is, that today at least, I have seen a great improvement. The whole walking program arose, as such things do, out of sheer desperation.
We had two chilly summers in a row—and I like to swim. I like to cycle, and yes, every so often I drag my ass out of the car and walk a trail somewhere. The last couple of years were kind of disappointing in terms of low-budget physical stuff. So that’s where the walking initially started.
At first it was kind of bad—kind of painful and limited. I just kept going out, and some days I got pretty far into the bush. Some days I turned around and left early…
I have this little camera and I shoot to my heart’s content. It gives me a reason to be there, I suppose.
Old men need such comforts, the illusion that we are actually doing something.
The funny thing is, that if I walk on city pavements, concrete sidewalks, asphalt parking lots, polished terrazzo floors in local malls, etc., my legs would soon go numb. I would be numb from the waist down. Walking on a hard surface, wearing hard shoes, has an impact on the lower back.
There is a peculiar gait to someone who is actually going somewhere. I'm just some guy piddly-bopping along and wondering why we have to go for such long walks in the woods looking for some guy named Charley all the time.
Yeah, I know it is derivative—but it's good derivative.
Here’s something that’s weird about walking in crappy weather. I’m wearing two hoods. One, light cotton hoodie, and then the hood of my jacket.
After a while, the neck, shoulders and upper back sort of begin to nag at you. That’s because you have the weight of some of that clothing tugging on the top of your head as you walk, as you turn this way and that looking at birds or whatever. By springtime, the old neck will be ever so slightly stronger. This comes into play when cycling or swimming, in fact the first time you ride the bike you are always surprised by how much things like necks, shoulders, elbows and wrists can actually hurt…
By walking as often as possible, by getting up and away from this desk as much as possible, we’ve learned something about managing our bodies and our expectations in a way that resulted in an improvement.
It’s a process of experimenting on ourselves and seeing what happens.
Now, when spring rolls around, we might be in a little bit better shape to climb on that old bike and go for a ride.
Stronger legs, stronger hips and stronger lower back makes for stronger swimming. A stronger neck isn’t a bad thing either. There’s nothing wrong with oxygen, and putting our bodies out in the cold once in a while probably stimulates our immune system as well. (This is borne out by certain studies of runners, but with my back I simply don't run.)
Walking is a nice, light aerobic exercise, and the world of back streets at night, that more intimate little neighbourhood view, really comes alive sometimes. It's an entirely different perspective on the world.
It’s a lot different than seeing it from a car going by.