There are many things I don’t miss about living in the city–the cramped living quarters, the acrid air, the woman on the subway with dirty Press-On Nails and a purse full of oxycontin who, without asking, reached over and grabbed my newborn’s little feet.
But I do miss walking.
Sure, I can walk here in the ‘burbs. It’s not like it’s outlawed or anything. It’s just not built into a daily routine. Back in the city, a trip with the baby to the park, the grocery store, and the bookstore could mean hours of walking. I didn’t have to schedule exercise–exercise was part of life. Never mind that I sometimes came home with a backache, burdened with groceries like a pack mule, cursing the pedestrian life. I was fit and (usually) happy to be outside.
Now, walks around the block have to be planned–and we’re walking for the sake of it. It is possible to walk into town from our house, a luxury that is not lost on me, but it lacks the ease of urban terrain. Early this morning it was forty degrees, but I was determined to get some exercise, so I bundled Piglet into her snugli, put on a big coat, and walked into town to get bagels. I felt odd, and indeed I was a curiosity in this barely- walkable town, with steep sidewalks on the edge of traffic-choked streets. It was great, though. We accomplished an errand, and I got some exercise. Piglet got some fresh(ish) air, a little sunshine, and some new scenery. When the weather is warmer, I hope to do it more and more. Hopefully the summer will bring more strolls into town and, once Piglet is big enough, some running with the baby jogger.
Gretchen Reynolds has a piece in the New York Times today detailing just how bad it is to be sedentary. She cites research indicating that merely stretches of uninterrupted sitting–even in an otherwise fit individual–is detrimental to ones health. (And I used to make fun of a friend who liked to stand at work!)