Just a quick update tonight because we are out of town on a mini-holiday and it’s hard to focus on writing a blog post when you’re sitting on your hotel balcony looking out at a Muskoka Lake. Maybe by tomorrow I’ll have grown used to the change of scenery but after four months (!) of being mostly at home, it is a sweet break.
During Week Two (which ends today), running continued to be a challenge. I promised myself part way through it that if it doesn’t get easier within another week or two, I will switch to (fast) walking. My sister is doing that — five to eight km a day! – and has been since the pandemic began. I am so impressed with her. Mind you, she is a LOT younger than I am (not really. Just 18 months) but obviously she is staying in great shape and keeping her spirits up by striding all over the west coast, while I drag my sorry butt around a few city blocks in Toronto.
It wasn’t all bad. I did notice a bit of improvement: for a couple of minutes on my second and third running days, I did manage to find that elusive “zone” where I find it as easy to run as to walk. But it has been much harder to reach that zone this time around than on any of my previous attempts to re-start my running program. I am hoping that Week Three is the turning point where I finally start looking forward to going out.
In the meantime, for a few days I can swim! I love being in the water, and I have always preferred a lake over a pool. I grew up in London, Ontario and when I was a kid, many summers we came up to Muskoka for camp or to visit friends and relatives who had cottages. After spending decades in Alberta, where they don’t have what I think of as “real” lakes, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to revisit Muskoka since I moved back to Ontario. It’s just the perfect place for me: evoking long-lost memories as well as making new ones.
As Week 2 began, I was hoping that I would be able to announce how much easier the second week was than the first. The start was promising: it was a lot easier getting up early than it was last Monday. In fact, I set my alarm for eight (since it was a holiday and all) but I woke up at 7, so I got up. In spite of that, it was almost noon before I prodded myself out the door for my run, and it was warmer and muggier out there than I had anticipated.
It’s cooler this week than it was last week, but it’s still warm when the sun is out. Between the heat and the humidity, plus the fact that the running time on my training schedule had increased from 2 minutes run/3 minutes walk (times six) to 3 minutes run/ 2 minutes walk (times six), it was a huge struggle to complete my assignment for the day.
But I did it. (My musical accompaniment was Pink.) And today I went for my walk, dodging raindrops. So I’m still on track.
Tomorrow I’ll go out when I get up. Difficult as it is, it’s really the only way, at least as long as the summer heat is on us.
I found an article in The Guardianlast week that certainly might help get me out the door if my brain were functional enough at 6:30 in the morning to think about scientific evidence of any kind, which normally it is not. It concerns a report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care in the UK that reviewed a lot of existing literature and added some new studies of its own on the subject of dementia. The Commission determined that by addressing certain lifestyle factors, “up to 40% of dementia cases worldwide could be delayed or prevented.” Physical inactivity is only one of twelve risk factors mentioned in the report, but it’s one of the ones that individuals can do something about — unlike, say, pollution. (Note to younger readers: exercise is particularly beneficial in this regard when practised starting in middle age.) Since the report points out that depression is also associated with dementia, and since exercise definitely helps to lift the spirits, physical activity may thwart dementia on two fronts.
I am very grateful to my friends and followers for the positive feedback I’ve been getting on this undertaking. It helps a lot.
Photos from my walk today include an unidentified flowering tree and a snail – both enjoying the rain.