There have been only a handful of days so far in 2009 that have seen the thermometer creep above 45 degrees. On each one of those days I have felt a beckoning to go outside and walk. There was one strange day when, in sunglasses and short sleeves, I ventured out for an hour-long walk, crunching last week’s snow beneath my tennis shoes the whole way. Mark Twain once said that “One of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it.” I can definitely say that the tauntingly beautiful weather we glimpse, only to be plunged back into the darkest winter, is driving me crazy.
I began exercising seriously last May when the weather was too beautiful to resist. Although we had bought a treadmill two years before with the intention of taking up regular exercise, nothing had stuck. My usual routine is to come home from work and sit in front of the computer for a few hours to catch up on news and such until it’s time to make dinner. Then I sit in front of the TV until bed. But something about this glorious spring after such a long and snowy winter caused me to dig out my sneakers and sweatpants and venture outside. I have the advantage of living near a bike path, and so I was able that week to go out every day after work and walk, as slowly and awkwardly as I liked, unmolested by traffic or stoplights, or commuters gawking from their cars. In less than a year I built myself up from 30 minutes of walking to 60 minutes of power walking/jogging.
It was not natural then for me to be outside, let alone to be exercising, but it was more enjoyable than any exercise I had attempted before. Now on those days when the sun peeks out from the grey clouds and the piles of crusty snow melt into the gutters, it feels unnatural to be inside. Even in the cold of winter, I would feel guilty when I skipped a trip to the gym or a walk on my treadmill. Even on the longest and busiest days, I would feel refreshed and energized by going to my results training sessions. I think this is one of the biggest things for me and my weight loss. Eating is almost a passive thing; you can make choices to swap out good for bad, and if you’ve eaten too much you can always stop. But adding something into your routine can be difficult. Now that I’ve made regular exercise part of my life, I realize how miserable I am when I try to go without it.