Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A Walk in the Park!

The weather took a shift this past long weekend - from winter/spring to spring/summer (Alberta seasons!).  With it came relatives and new energy - thankfully both were welcome!  My oldest sister and her husband arrived for a visit with stabilizer poles in hand (see my previous blog).  Misery may love company but I found that company injects energy - especially when good health "no matter what your age" happens to be the goal.

The four of us - all over 60 years of age - headed off to an urban park in downtown Calgary to test out my new poles with a little coaching from the expert - my sister.  We headed off along the river, left pole/right foot, right pole/left foot - off I strode trying to find my rythmn.  With a few laughs and jerky moves I figured out it worked much better when I stopped thinking about it.  We strolled along, deep in conversation, enjoying the Canada Geese and their 30+ gozzlings floating along beside us.  We stopped at the fork, waiting for the guys to re-surface from their many forays through the brush for closer looks at the wild life.  I was talking about how we should have planned for some more time and we might be able to walk all of the way to the new Peace Bridge connecting the island park to Memorial Drive when  I looked up and to my amazement we had covered a lot more ground than expected and the bridge was right there - red, candy-striped conversation-starter for many disgruntled Calgaryians!  I was shocked that I had walked this far with no knee pain.  In fact, the only small discomfort was a bit of sorness in my arm muscles from moving the poles back and forth. 

If you have been following my blog, you will know this is a huge milestone for me along my journey to good health.   I discovered I could walk for two hours without pain as long as I planted one pole solidly in front of me with each step.  I even worked up a bit of a sweat - surely that was the evidence of fat burning somewhere inside my belly! 

On this evidence alone, I will give my full recommendation to any and all, who, for various physcial limitations in their lower extremities, can no longer walk where they want to walk for the length of time they wish.  Although I could enjoy watching the trees and flowers and ducks and geese and even the people busily biking, skating or running along these pathways from the basic comfort of a park bench, I cannot tell you the glow of excitement I experienced when I discovered that I don't have to accept this stationary outlook on the world moving by.  It is a small thing when you have never had it taken away from you but looms much larger when you have had even a short-lived moment in time when you weren't sure you would ever be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of a walk in the park.

So, as the rain, and even the threat of snow, reminded me that spring/summer in Alberta has many faces, I am now planning my next foray - perhaps further afield in our beautiful Rocky Mountains.  Of course, it will have to be on flat terrain without too many streams to ford!


Learning to Walk Tall

I am learning to go with the flow.  At a time when I was searching for my next step my sister shared her experience with the Activator Poles - walking poles for seniors (or other "unstable" people!).  I decided that this wisdom was so timely and so affordable I could not pass it by.  My fingers did the walking, I hit enter, and, my poles were on their way.  They arrived last week and I was set.  Took them for a spin on Saturday and lasted about a block.  To be fair it was all uphill and I have not been doing much walking over the past few months but still - a block! 

I set them gently by the door and there they sit, taunting me, whispering "take me out, please" every time I venture out to sit on our sunny new deck.  I will certainly make that date soon - after I finish my errands tonight and clean the bathrooms tomorrow night and shop on Wednesday night - looks like we have a date for Thursday after work.  I am really not procrastinating - I am choosing to be kind to myself, giving myself that space I usually need to absorb a new direction, breath, experiment and then, jump in with both feet (and poles!).  Being kind is accepting that it is not necessary to be perfect but OK to just keep inching forward.  Never giving up on your journey is the key to change; arriving at the destination is not the goal - change is the goal!  And that, dear friends, will happen with ease, without force, no struggle, in its own good time.  This is not an olympic race with a winner at the end; it is a life journey with a prize for every step toward health. 

Just in case you are raising your eyebrows and wondering "who is she talking to" that sermon was for my inner self - you know - that fearful someone who would rather hide in a box then march down the street and take the chance she might stumble,  This might be a "Pink Hat Day" today - a good laugh could spur me out the door with a smile on my face as I do my body a favour and move it. 

So, the next adventure may be a story of the black and blue garbage cans that line our lane or the brown and white rabbit that is frustrated by our new fence - maybe a photojournal of my urban adventure through the backlanes of suburbia.