Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Way I Use My Walk

Most of us learn to walk by the time we’re 1 year old and then don’t think about it thereafter. But bipedalism is pretty cool. For one thing, it allows us to carry way more stuff than we could otherwise, and that’s a useful adaptation when we’re gathering food or assaulting our enemies with any number of clever handheld weapons.

I’ve been walking a lot during the last few months—I didn’t miss my chance today, the first 40° afternoon in West Bend since December 23—and I haven’t just enjoyed walking; I’ve enjoyed how I walk. It’s purposeful and efficient. It’s head up, shoulders back, eyes straight ahead. It’s maybe a little haughty, maybe a little disdainful of the shoegazing shufflers who wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the wild without being eaten by something they never saw coming. It’s also the product of some refinements over the years, most notably in high school when a female classmate pointed out how pigeon-toed I was. I haven’t been pigeon-toed since; I’ve trained it out of my gait.

I’m closing in on 100 miles of walking this year. That’s walking expressly for fitness, not counting my steps during everyday activities. This will be the first full year with data, so 2022 will be the first full year of trying to beat old records! That’s just how I’m wired. So, what are we talking about … 500 annual miles? Could be. Walking has been great for offseason cross-training, but I’m still principally a cyclist and our improving weather forecast is going to compel me to start riding again very soon. I think there will be time enough for both, but cycling is going to win if there’s only enough time for one.

1 comment:

  1. I know it's silly, but paying attention to one's posture is important. You're right... Many people have a heads-down, hunched-over posture, often the result of too much "screen time" (of which I am guilty). Over time, this will result in back and neck pain, not to mention one's internal organs get "crunched" and can't function properly.

    Cycling especially doesn't help one's posture off the bike. Riding for hours with one's arms extended forward in a seated position creates tight muscles in all the wrong places. Hiking, walking, and stretching all are necessary to keep one from turning into the Hunchback of Notre Dame later in life!