The second phase of my exercise campaign is simply walking, but walking less consciously as a workout strategy and more as a way of taking care of business. Not that I don’t seek the health benefits of walking and I do walk briskly to get to my appointments (usually because I’m late) , but it’s easier for me to make walking a habit if it’s part of a broader goal, such as picking up an ingredient for the night’s dinner. I’m fortunate to live close enough to the center of town that I can walk to the library, the hair salon, two farmers’ markets, any store and any restaurant.
I may have second thoughts come the rainy season — regrettably from about October through June — but in July it brings sheer joy to walk past all the planter boxes, hanging baskets, a few private gardens and landscaped public spaces, and join the crowds taking in the free noon concerts offered in different outdoor spaces three times a week.
This wasn’t completely my idea. I had been telling neighbors that I would be taking advantage of our location to walk downtown more often after retirement. But it took the inspiration of a school board member to get me started. She invited me to lunch and picked a restaurant that would be in walking distance from her house, because she said that for some time walking had become her preferred mode of transportation. Not yet having come close to sloughing off my competitive layers, I thought to myself, if she can do that so can I. Even before our lunch date I had begun. The only time I have regretted it was when I decided to bring home several cantalopes and a small watermelon from the grocery store.
And speaking of lunch, my new means of transportation has become essential, because I will have had at least 10 lunch dates this month. These are a wonderful way to celebrate retirement and stay connected (I hope) with mostly work friends, but they also make more exercise an absolute necessity.