Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I wish I could say I loved walking.  I wish I could say I feel the endorphins kick in and make me happier, less depressed, more healthy and all those other things endorphins are supposed to do.  (The fact that I am not sad, depressed or sick is immaterial; surely they must be able to provide me with SOMETHING, even if I don’t know what it is.)  But alas, I simply do not enjoy doing it.  I guess it’s like taking a vitamin pill every day; I do it because I do it.

But the fact of the matter is that I AM doing it, or at least I have been doing it since December 27, a one mile walk around Lynn Circle (the circular street I live on in a senior complex and measured by driving my car around it to make sure I wasn’t stretching the truth when I said I walk a mile.) 

Actually, I am doing it because as I was going through some tests to see if I did or didn’t have Pulmonary Hypertension, the pulmonologist asked me if I exercised.  How I hated to tell him that I did not, that I never had, that I didn’t enjoy it even one bit, and would only do it under duress.  Instead, I said, “Doc, to be honest with you my exercise is limited to making my eyes go back and forth over a written page.”  He got a chuckle out of that and I listened carefully to him just in case he was going to tell me I should do it.  But he didn’t.  He simply went on with his testing, and finally I got the evaluation back that ruled out PH, much to my delight and relief.

And it was then that I decided I’d take on a self-inflicted regimen to walk every day, my way of saying “thank you” to whatever powers that be that I am healthy, or at least a lot healthier than I thought I was during the last few years! 

But for me, it’s not a simple job of just walking out the door and heading down the road.  I have to be prepared!  Since it is winter, I am dressed warmly.  In my left jacket pocket I have a pack of Kleenex, my house keys, two Hall’s Breezers (for my dry mouth) and my cell phone.  In my right pocket I have my ID card, my little digital camera, my gloves and my iPod.  On my iPod I use the Stopwatch function to see how long it has taken me to walk the mile, and then through my ear buds I listen either to a Chicago album or a Cal Tjader Jazz album.  I pump the music loudly into my ears, rationalizing that if I turn it up loud enough I won’t even realize I am doing something I don’t like to do.

I try not to stop.  (One of the tests for PH is how far you can walk before you have to stop and gasp for breath.)  I begrudge a shoelace coming untied or a nose that needs wiping from the cold air – I find I can do neither of those with stopping and removing my gloves – but I do understand that this stop has nothing to do with my breathing!  I DO NOT begrudge stopping to stare at a Cooper’s Hawk that is sitting in a tree adjacent to Lynn Circle, watching some nearby crows.  (He was there again today so I stopped to get my camera out, only to realize that the battery was being recharged at home!  RATS!!) 

The only other time I have willingly embarked on a walking program was when back in 1980 Jer and I decided we were taking a retirement vacation early and going to Egypt, Jordan and Israel for 3 weeks.  I didn’t want to miss out on anything when we arrived, least of all scrambling up the pyramids, so for 6 months we walked every morning to get ourselves in shape.  I have no such motivation any more, except, when I let myself think about it, perhaps the motivation this time is keeping myself alive in a healthier condition.  My dad died at 93; I hope I don’t live that long but if I have inherited that gene from my dad, I sure want to be in decent health!

1 comment:

Olga said...

I, on the other hand, really enjoy walking. I just today bought a bicycle to extend my range of no car needed to get there. I never enjoyed bike riding very much but I have only expereinced it in Vermont. I think coastal Florida will be different.