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Comrie walk

Walking back to happiness

Comrie walk, Perthshire

My exercise mojo has been M.I.A. for about five years and I want it back.

In 2012 an orthopaedic specialist advised I cease various fun but pain-inducing activities (e.g. kickboxing and squatting) to preserve what remained of my right knee’s cartilage. While I like being pain-free now, there’s been long periods where “preservation” has translated to “doing sweet feck-all exercise”.

At other times, there’s a month or two flurry of activity, when besotted by a new app or gadget or workout or challenge. Then I get distracted or frustrated, and fizzle out.

It’s a tedious rotation through enthusiasm > obsession > rebellion > inertia, with ever-dwindling fitness.

Last weekend Gareth asked did I want to go for what I currently consider a long walk, up a hill.

My usual assortment of excuses were about to tumble out when I thought, f*ck it! Enough! I am so over my own shenanigans.

Why am I not moving, when I actually really crave it? And what do I really want to do for exercise, anyway? With the body I occupy right now, not the rose-tinted imaginary one from years ago?

So out we went.

It was annoying to find that hills are still so bloody… hilly.

They just go up and up, I whined to Gareth. It was so much harder than when we used to go walking a decade ago.

He reminded me I whined about the same thing back then.

(Old school peeps – remember how he mocked my descending style, the rotter.)

It was just like old times. Gareth strolling easily; my face Call The Ambulance Red. But it was beautiful outside. There were forest-y bits with pine needles underfoot and the wind in the trees sounding like waves. Skylarks and blackbirds and finches. Clear views at the top to faraway mountains.

I realised, as with so many things, that I’ve been overthinking exercise. I’m not motivated by the same things any more. I don’t want to sign up for a race or do a 12 Week Programme or spend ten minutes finding a satellite on Runkeeper just to stroll to the shops. I don’t want to think or make decisions or count anything. All I want, for now, is some quiet time and fresh air.

Since then I have been taking myself out for walks. Sometimes with tunes, sometimes appliance-free. It is the simplest thing but I am starting to feel awesome!

I’m going to go for a deliberate walk every day in May, then see how I feel at the end of it. I’ll report back. Mojo, you will be mine!

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


23 thoughts on “Walking back to happiness

  1. Yesssssssss.
    The walking piece really resonates with me. I really do think that Karla of two decades ago would have scarfed at a long stroll being exercise. The Carla of one decade ago was still squatting heavy and completely smitten with the iron.
    The older I get the more I realize when I move my body what I seek is stillness. It’s that seeming in incongruity which makes walking the perfect answer.
    You’ve got this <3

    1. Carla, this is so me! I call it my walking meditation…..no chatting. Listening to the sounds of any animals about, noticing the changing of the seasons & what’s happening in my part of the world. The little things bring great peace to my heart and soul. The miracle of Nature.

  2. It’s true! My knees no longer like uneven ground or hills etc.. They just about put up with gentle slopes & will do steps when required as long as I don’t get silly about it. Quiet time with the birds, trees etc, exploring the locality looking at local architecture & so on all provide quality exercise for body & soul…so why don’t I do it every day? We started May well today so will try & adopt some of your positivity. Where can we go tomorrow…. 🌲🌳🌴

  3. I had to quit kickboxing too, for the same reason. After that, I discovered that I hate most indoor non-kickboxing exercise! I love walking, too, and I recently “rediscovered” cycling. I got a new (way faster than my mountain bike) bike and I feel like I’m flying when I ride it!

    1. That sounds absolutely ace, Lindsey! 🙂

      Nothing like KB is there? I still miss it! Might need to get a punching bag to get a little fix.

      1. I miss it a lot too. I still have my gloves and all of my hand wraps! I’m hoping that some day there will be a class for the nearly middle-aged and knee-challenged. The really sad part is that my house came with an ill-kept punching bag in the back yard that is currently being reclaimed by the earth.

        1. “reclaimed by the earth”… bloody love that 🙂 yes! some enterprising person should totally cash in on the keen-yet-creaky-kneed demographic!

  4. LOL I totally remember Gareth’s mockery of you. I still imitate him imitating you when I walk down a small hill (on steep hills I am too busy for mockery).

  5. I find it’s easier to work out how to do stuff (exercise!) WITHOUT mojo than try and force it to come back. My current fave is “I don’t want to go to the gym but I want to have been to the gym” – so I go! I also find it’s helpful to focus on the lovely places I get to walk 🙂 – I ‘try’ to be grateful that I live in a place people go to on holiday! Walk on, darl!

  6. Yes to the shiny gadgets – I’m an absolute sucker for this and challenges (and the subsequent loss of enthusiasm). And knees – argh!

    I love the idea of your walks – excited for the update!

  7. I’d say the walking mojo has already been found. You just need to remind yourself from time to time where you kept it last 😉 Please keep up the ‘taking pretty Scottish landscape pictures while walking and posting them habit’ up as well. I need my fix 😉
    I totally feel you on being fed up with challenges and fads. I just want to be outside, see the seasons and move my body. My feet are still (again?) giving me grief so I can’t really run but there’s no reason not to go out for a walk. Right?

  8. You make me lonely for Scotland. Favorite place ever. My oldest and middle agree.

    And I have been doing the same thing. Walking. For many of the same reasons.

  9. “Call the Ambulance Red” – so funny and so my face during exercise as well! Even as a little tomboy some well meaning adult would ask if I was all right. I walk a lot and love it and I’ve decided that when I walk up a steep hill, I will not care one bit of I stop once, twice, three times or more to catch my breath. No more self beatings during hill climbing!

  10. Fantastic! I’m in the same boat, going to try to do a walk every day in May! Go girl! MOJO, we are coming for you!

  11. It’s funny how hard we resist the exact things we need to do to feel like ourselves. Miss you and the Peak Blogging days.

  12. Oh, dood, this is a GREAT idea. Many years ago my sister & mother chatted about me in front of me as if I was not there. They said I was like a puppy. If I was fed & walked everyday, I’d be happy.

    THEREFORE, I am going to join you (granted, as of May 9) for the All May Hooray each Day for Buns Outdoors thing. THANK you. =D xoxo

  13. Recognised. One of those photos is the walk up the glen at Rumbling Bridge. A new hydro-electric bypass will divert most of the flow through those narrows. My hips and knees are preventing a recent visit.

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