Seated on the edge of the ottoman, I lace up my shoes, throw on a hoodie, and step out of the front door. This time of year, the air doesn’t bite quite as much, but it’s still fresh in the morning. It makes me feel awake, hopeful, excited.
After so much time focusing on training, competitions, and physical therapy, I forget how enjoyable it is simply to go for a walk.
I remember when I first started “getting active.” At the time, many of my friends were runners, but they could never quite convince me it was worth the effort. So after a considerable amount of time, I finally broke down and gave it a try. I’d run for five minutes, walk for five. Run for ten minutes, walk for ten. Eventually, I worked my way up to a few miles at a time. Though in the end, I stopped running, quite literally, in the middle of my first 10k.
After a few months of training, I finally found my rhythm. Running didn’t feel so hard anymore. Which meant that when I went for my runs, I started to be able to focus on other things. How clear the sky was. The way the sun felt on my skin. The surprisingly graceful dance of kids playing soccer. The way the trees moved in the wind.
It finally became meditative for me. It helped me to clear my head, focus on something else (or, rather, nothing) for a few moments in my day.
Just a walk
Since I’ve stopped going to Crossfit, I’ve been experimenting a lot with the ways in which I get in some movement on a (mostly) daily basis. Lately, I’ve found myself, quite simply, taking a walk.
It’s such a simple pleasure that I’d completely forgotten about. As the weather warms up in New Jersey, I feel different when I step outside into the sun. With or without headphones, my mood is uplifted. Most of the time, I’m so disconnected from nature – I work inside, I work out inside, and I do most everything else inside. I start to feel cloudy and cooped up.
It’s so simple and obvious. But taking the time to be outside, alone with my thoughts, has been so helpful. I won’t win any competitions for it. And I won’t even “get better” through it. But it makes me feel good. And that’s the most important part, especially right now.
Keeping it simple
We overcomplicate things, as humans and, especially, as humans who like technology. Everything is tracked, shared, observed, commented on, feedback-ed, liked, disliked. If you’re not sweating or out of breath, does it even count? If you can’t improve incrementally, is it worth doing?
Health isn’t a competition. More importantly, it doesn’t look like one specific thing. There is no first place in wellness. It all depends on you. The simplest question that we often forget to ask – all caught up in numbers and measurements and expectations and information overload – is “How do I feel?”
Right now, I feel good. I’m not tired. I’m not sore. I’m not hungry. I’m not sick. That sounds pretty healthy to me. And, you know what? That’s actually a pretty big deal.