The Micro Walk: a first step off the sofa
Monday 19th Jan 2015
Once there was a time when I was young and fit, and my great delight was a Very Big Walk: a strenuous and challenging hike, over mountain, moorland, a long distance path or the ups and downs of the British coastline. In my youthful vanity I really believed that I was unstoppable..
But years later it all stopped for a while. In the slow recovery from an illness, when it seemed those days were over for ever, I lounged on my sofa and mourned my lost youth and strength. But, luckily, strength of will was not entirely lost and I set my self a challenge: to try and recover something of those lost times and to get back outdoors and walking.
And so began the journey from the Sofa to the Great Outdoors, and the start of many Micro walks. With help from friends and family, I started walking little and often, sometimes just to the post-box on the corner, the local shops or park or perhaps 10 minutes on the flat on Bristol Downs. And a good journey it was – I’ve since progressed to longer and bigger walks, measured in miles not metres!
But I haven’t abandoned my regular micro-walks they are the mainstay of my fitness and maybe a high point in a mundane day.
Below, I’d like to share with you, just how uplifting even the smallest of walks can be:
Today the sun came out, a bright low January sun, melting a sharp January frost and warming a bright patch on the wooden floor of my front room. I just had to turn off the computer and get out in that sunshine.
I didn’t have a great deal of time to spare but it would be nice to share it with a friend. I phoned one – could she come out to play, just a quick 10 minute stroll to the park? No she couldn’t, but she liked the idea.
Undeterred, I wrapped up in my Christmas scarf and gloves and stepped out briskly.
It was cold but in a good way, dry and tingling. Our local park was sharply and frostily beautiful, both gleaming and shadowy. It was midday, but the sun slanted low behind the houses and, finding the gaps between them, sent long slats of bright light across the park, etched with spiky blades of grass.
It was very lovely and this was one consolation of being alone. There was time to just stare and notice things and people: bare tangled branches, soft furry evergreens, a handful of people walking their dogs, or, like me, walking themselves. It was an exhilarating 10 minutes, snatched from a day indoors.
Blood stirred, heart pumped and spirits well risen, I returned home, past my unavailable friend’s house.
Next time I’ll be knocking on her door and won’t be taking no for an answer.