|Esther, Smacking her lips|
|She sees a squirrel. LOOK OUT!!|
In our minds we were going to adopt a cute little lap dog. At the shelter, a big, goofy, floppy-eared lab/pit mix glommed onto us and we were hooked.
Who knew, but big dogs need big exercise, something that we didn't do. I had no time to exercise or walk, (we all know the excuses) but when a dog threatens to pee on your shoes or poop in your bed, you see reason. So we started walking Esther. A lot.
At first I was plagued with injuries. I took comfort in my ability to diagnose myself--Plantar fasciitis, knee pain, etc. I recovered (mostly) and started back to walking the dog again, at least once a day. My husband takes the early morning shift, the kids the mid afternoon shift, and we walk as a family together at night.
The kids love to walk with us. Who knew? They've invented a game they call Stealthing, with rules, and everything! They wear black and run ahead, hiding in the bushes, and then jump out screaming, trying to scare the bejesus out of us. That was great until they almost got skunked. That's a whole 'nother story.
The fact that they enjoy walking with us at night doesn't stop them from bickering over whose turn it is to walk her in the afternoon. I swore that I was going to make them hold in their pee for 8 hours so they could see what the poor dog goes through. But I digress.
Turns out I was walking---a lot. I wanted to know how far I was walking and I figured there was an App for that. Boy is there! "Map My Walk" is a super cool app for your smart phone that maps out where you walked and how long it took you and even pauses while you talk to your neighbor! (I talk a lot) This is where I learned that if you walk three long sides of a block, cut across two short sides and make a rectangle back to your house in the city, you will have walked a mile!
Soon, I was able to see that I was walking anywhere from 7 to 12 miles a week! Cool. My husband is doing twice that as my knee recovers BUT WOW! A mile a day!
It turns out that walking in the city has some hazards,though.
Yes, you read that right. City squirrels. They are dangerous bad @$$ mofo's, who get very territorial. There is a GANG of squirrels who have some serious attitude two blocks away. They guard this big dumpster like it's their own personal property. There are like, FIFTY of them. This weekend, my husband was telling me about these squirrels with 'tude. I was laughing and trying not to pee in my pants (it was cold and I've had kids--'nuff said) as he walked a bag 'o poo over to said dumpster. As he lifted the lid, a squirrel came flying out and stood right on the lid staring him down and chittering like crazy.
Juan jumped back as the squirrel leaped onto a pole next to the dumpster. It turned around and sat at eye level giving Juan the stink eye and cursing him out as he deposited the poo into the dumpster.
After depositing the poo, Juan pulled out his smartphone. He has an Android with a Translation App that includes squirrel, dog, and cat dialects. (Cat mostly is mostly insults.)
The THINGS this squirrel was saying would make a sailor blush.
Juan backed away slowly, flipping said squirrel the bird and hoping it wouldn't pull a shiv on him. I mean, these squirrels are tough. Even Esther (a.k.a.Crime Dog, Esther-Bester, Goofy, Prancy-Pants) was afraid.
Living in the city, you learn to avoid certain blocks. We all know which blocks are safe, and which are not. These squirrels have marked their territory, and we'll have to avoid it unless we want to invoke their wrath.
But at least we're exercising. A mile isn't that far. Now listen here. I DO NOT RUN. My pelvic floor muscles and my knees decided that for me a long time ago. But walking helps your bones, your heart and your brain. It slows down Mild Cognitive Impairment from moving on to Alzheimer's dementia. It helps depression and winter blues. It prevents wrinkles and makes you sing and move your hips like Shakira. Okay, maybe not, but I got your attention, didn't I?
Thirty minutes a day, five days a week is all you need to do and you can break it down into three 10 minute walks. Just start. Hopefully you won't have to get a dog to motivate you, like we did.
And watch out for the squirrels.