Start Walking

10,000 steps.

9:00 AM. I just don’t want to do it. Everything in me is fighting against it. 

I haven’t gotten dressed. I don’t want to do it. 

I haven’t looked for my keys. I don’t want to do it.

I haven’t gotten out of my chair. I don’t want to do it.

10,000 steps are the easiest way for me to get the exercise I need and yet I am so inconsistent at it, so reluctant o do it, you’d think it was a marathon or burpees. It’s cold outside, too – 32 degrees, right now. What about later this afternoon? 52 to 54 degrees between 2 and 3 o’clock this afternoon.

Perfect. I don’t have to do it now, first thing in the morning, with only one cup of coffee in me and ten butter cookies. I can concentrate on trying to make myself be productive – get some writing done, learn how to use this writing software I bought, learn how to use this webcam software I just bought, learn how to promote my blog on  Pinterest, and so on. Then I will get dressed and go walking, and pay my rent, and take out the trash, and then come home and get ready for work tomorrow. Oh, yes…work. Why didn’t I take the week off?

10,000 steps, five days a week or more. Easier than doing 30 minutes of cardio, five times a week, much easier. Walking is like…walking. It’s like breathing, or standing, or sitting. I can do it without thinking about it. I can walk 10,000 steps throughout the day if I make myself use the stairs and avoid using my golf cart (provided by the university where I work).

But, it’s winter. It’s cold. My sinuses drip. My mouth tastes salty. My nose runs. I just don’t want to be out in it. I’m weak, I have become accustomed to living in comfort, American-style. Refrigerator, freezer, washer/dryer, etc., Grocery stores, online streaming content, food, and meal delivery. I don’t have to leave my apartment if I don’t want to – in theory, at least. I have indoor heating. The furnace is busted. It has been for years. I’m subsisting on space heaters. The electric bills are staggering. But, I am warm. Cozy. Comfy, in fact. Giving up my comfort for me health is not a bad idea or stupid. It is definitely inconvenient. 

But out there, on the pavement, is the road to a healthier quality of life.

I wish I was in better health. I wish my body was as sound as I thought I was four, five years ago when it seemed I had another worry-free decade in me. 

But that was a mirage.

I was diagnosed with congenital heart failure in August 2016.

Congestive heart failure.

I took it well. I was stoic, placid, politely perplexed but ultimately understanding about my situation and the doctors’ conclusions. I handled it like an emotionally mature adult.

I took it poorly. Congestive heart failure. Why? What had I done? I had gone to work and come home and sat on the couch or in my desk chair. I had surfed the net or watched television or Youtube until I got sleepy. I had gone grocery shopping once a week. Where had I gotten congestive heart failure? When? From what? From watching years pass before my eyes, in months? Minding my own business? Doing almost nothing with my life? How did my uneventful, non-life lead to congenital heart failure?

It took me a couple of years to recover from the shock, to start trying to do something about my health besides consuming supplements and trying to stay calm. I dutifully went through the exercise motions, trying to earn good report cards for my frequent doctor’s appointments – twenty minutes of floor exercises followed by about thirty minutes on my stationary bike. Or just thirty minutes on my bike until it broke down and I decided I didn’t have the time, motivation, or money to get it fixed or fix it myself.

That’s where walking comes in. Thirty minutes of exercise a day or 10000 steps. I can do that but I don’t want to.

It’s not laziest, or boredom, or lack of motivation. I just don’t want to do it. I want to go back to sitting on the couch, mouse or remote control in hand, carefree, without “my condition” lurking visibly in the back of my mind, preventing my peace with worries about my life expectancy and future quality of life.

I didn’t need any real problems. I had enough minor, inconsequential ones.

So, I am going to make myself get some clothes on and get out in this horrible weather, swathed in thermal clothing, January’s rent in an envelope in my pocket, QuikTrip gift card in my wallet for a coffee or something on the way back, headphones over my knit cap (have to remember to charge them), and start walking.

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