Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

My first day of spring was great. I managed to spend a good chunk of it outdoors. I went for a ride on the motorcycle, walked and later in the evening went cycling.

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

When I left home I intended to go for a short ride to Guysborough for milk and gas but on the way home I decided to keep going on Route 16. The kilometers quickly accumulated and before long I found myself in Half Island Cove. From there I figured it would be just as well to circle around through Port Felix and on home. Only a little further along I could feel the air growing cooler. Fog. I could see a fog bank in the distance above the trees. Lower Whitehead was completely engulfed. By this time I was cold. Usually I like fog but I hadn’t dressed well enough and decided it would be better to keep on heading home.

I made only one stop. I couldn’t resist the rotting ice you see in the little lake above. Normally I don’t ride around on my motorcycle for the sake of riding around but I made an exception on this very fine first day of spring.

Later, Carol and I walked and a little later, once it was dark, I took the bicycle out. The thermometer indicated fourteen degrees at 9 pm. The air felt warm. The clear sky was perfect for star gazing when I stopped where there were no home or street lights.

I played tennis a little while ago – the earliest ever for us. I wore shorts and a T-shirt and worked up a sweat. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to cycle again later tonight. There may only be a few of these nice days and I do not intend to take them for granted. I hope you are finding lots of ways to take advantage too.

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Shed, Port Bickerton

I have not had the best of luck with weather during the last, almost year, since beginning this blog. A very wet spring eventually lead into some (too few) decent days through the summer then as fall colors began their annual display a wind storm decimated the canopy. Winter has been mild without much snow. Without snow or ice winter photography is limited and because photography is limited I’m not motivated to explore or go very far from home. Without photos I find myself reluctant to post but because I don’t want too much time to go by without registering some life here I thought I would re-iterate a point I’ve made a few times before: short repetitive outings are essential to remaining active.

The idea of practice applies to nearly everything. When it comes to an active lifestyle it means doing activities that don’t require too much time so they can be easily incorporated into each day. If you want to be good at something then you practice the necessary skills. If you want to truly excel then you practice more and more, each individual will determine their own goals. Sometimes practice will build strength and stamina as well as skills. It seems, however, the concept of practice often has a pejorative connotation. For many practice equates with boredom and repetition. Procrastination or other excuses largely boil down to the same thing which is to consider practice as a separate aspect of an activity or sport. (more…)

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I was nosing around on the Rivendell Bicycle site and came across a video describing the value of daily exercise. I strongly encourage everyone to check it out by clicking the link above. There are some impressive statistics along with general recommendations for improving your health. I like that he labels television as a chronic disease.


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If a malevolent banker decided to revise the current financial charter governing my mortgage and take all my belongings I would, of course, be a little bit sad. I wouldn’t be able to ride my bike or paddle my kayak, wouldn’t be able to snowshoe or ski, I wouldn’t even have a camera or computer to use. Yet, assuming I could retain some of my clothing, I would be able to appear in public, as usual, and walk.

A walk, or walking, is utterly basic and absolutely low cost. You need almost nothing except clothing to do it. There are almost no risks. There are no particular skills required, no special equipment. And to top it off it’s one of the most pleasant activities there is. If I owned nothing but the clothes on my back and shoes/boots on my feet I would be able to keep on walking. I am not a person who likes to tell anyone what to do, so I’m going to pull up short of telling you to try walking if you haven’t already done so, but for me there simply isn’t anything that compares.

Walking in winter is different than at other times of the year but there will always be an excuse not to do it if you’re prone to looking for excuses. It rains half the time, there are bugs when it’s warm, if it’s not raining then it will be too hot, or it will be too windy or you’ll be too tired in the evening and/or won’t go when it’s dark. (more…)

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Common advice given to beginner bike commuters by veterans is, basically, not to bite off more than you can chew. Begin with modest intentions. It is essential to have good experiences to reinforce what you’re trying to do. Each rider needs to establish a basic comfort zone.

The same applies to being active in the winter in general. In winter go out when conditions are reasonably hospitable and stay close to home so you can retreat indoors if you become cold. You must seek positive reinforcement through having good experiences. As your experience increases gradually stay out longer and go further afield. Do not set yourself up for failure by trying to grit your way through unnecessary hardship – it is not a competition.

Trial and error learning is the best (only?) way to approach it. I have a thermometer mounted on the side of the house which I consult before any outing. If you don’t have one consider getting one. It will help reduce the guesswork involved.

The challenge is to keep nudging yourself. If you can comfortably walk one kilometer at minus five with no wind, bundle up a little more when the temperature is minus ten but don’t go so far, turn halfway on your regular route and come back. When you get back to the driveway you can decide to repeat the distance for a full kilometer or retreat to the house to get warm. If it’s windy try the same thing, push yourself a little but bail out before the experience becomes negative. The same goes for distance, work up from one to two to three or more kilometers.

Five kilometers (the Lundy sign) is just about ideal for me/us. It takes an hour or so. An hour of zero cost stress relief and fresh air. A busy day might mean “going to Eldred’s” – our neighbor’s driveway is one kilometer from ours, or another compromise is the Hangar Road, which is about halfway between Eldred’s driveway and the Lundy sign. You can measure distances with your car. It helps if you quantify what you’re doing by keeping track.

I never get bored. Walking the same stretch of road over and over provides familiarity which in turn helps to strengthen the routine.

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Wind Chill

The wind, as we all know, makes cold temperatures seem colder. I love being out on clear cold WINDLESS nights because the crisp air and silence make a wonderful combination. Wind just seems to spoil this. Wind is noisy, and wind can quickly suck the heat out of the most fully prepared person. When dressing you cannot ignore the presence or potential of wind to make you feel cold. The following links will help understand the relationship of wind strength to perceived cold. (more…)

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If you are a person who finds it difficult to remain warm I think you need to invest in the best clothing possible. Boots that are rated for at least -50, a down parka, well insulated snow pants over a wool under layer and ordinary nylon (not cotton) pants, heavy mitts rated for extreme cold, a balaclava or scarf to protect your face. There are other refinements to this attire I am not going to get into but, as you can easily calculate, to buy it all at once would certainly exceed $1000. An investment in this kind of clothing is often a difficult step for people to rationalize. What if I buy it all and still end up cold? (more…)

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