In early December I will – fingers crossed – reach my half-century (sorry, I’ve been trapped in the house with too much Test Match Special this week). My main priority is not to ‘party like a pig’ but to set out to be fitter at fifty than I’ve ever been. I read something a while ago (can’t remember where or who by) which talked about the Present You looking after the Future You. It’s common sense, really: I’d like to be fit and active and do crazy things for as long as I can so I need to lay the foundations for Old Age Action Granny now.
I’m looking at this holistically. Where diet’s concerned, I think I’m doing alright. All our meals are based heavily on fresh fruit and vegetables, mostly from the garden, and with a local supply of excellent fresh fish and seafood, free range chicken and eggs, food miles and shelf life are negligible.
I eat masses of whole grains and pulses, I don’t have a sweet tooth and I’m not a cake- or cookie-monster. However, I am the first to admit that my biggest downfall is a love of red wine. I know, I know – all those empty calories, not to mention the alcohol: it’s a naughty habit and it’s encouraging middle-age spread to – well – spread. I’m not giving it up all together (a person needs a little fun now and again) but I’m seriously cutting back. Sparkling mineral water isn’t quite so appealing but I’m learning to like it. (At this point, I can sense several raised eyebrows amongst my nearest and dearest: honestly, folks, it’s happening – this is the new me!). 🙂
Apart from my new ‘reduced Rioja’ lifestyle, my biggest challenge is maintaining a regular exercise habit. I’m not a couch potato by any means. Actually, far from it – I’m a bit of a fidget, really, but I’m not very good at finding the self-discipline needed to make myself get out there and exercise. I’ve started running a bit but it’s really hard work in these mountains, I’m doing some yoga and weights in the barn but it’s all a bit half-hearted.
So . . . today I have signed up for the Country Walking #Walk 500 Miles challenge https://display.engagesciences.com/display/container/d/f28d4b95-c6e6-4d45-a9bf-ce6e8dd5a2df/details. Quite honestly, it’s madness on my part. I think the concept is brilliant: sign up in January to walk 1000 miles by the end of the year or in May to walk 500 miles. What a great way to encourage people to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. Unfortunately, I only read about it yesterday which gives me 148 days of the year left in which to walk 500 miles – that’s just under 3.5 miles per day every day. Gulp. Knowing that I’m going to spend three out of the next five days stuck in a car for hours and hours, this possibly isn’t my brightest move yet but hey, what’s life without a challenge?
In his inspiring Zen Habits website http://zenhabits.net/ Leo Babauta regularly encourages accountability as a useful tool in maintaining new habits. It makes sense: if I tell myself I’m going to walk 500 miles by the end of the year, I can talk myself out of it. If I tell other people, it’s not quite so easy. Great psychology. I know my blog doesn’t have a huge following (unlike Leo’s!) but from now on I shall start every new post with the cumulative total of my walking miles. I can start now as I’ve just walked exactly 3.5 miles: only 496.5 to go. Can I do it? Yes, of course I can if I really, really try. Will I do it? Mmm, we’ll see. Wish me luck! 🙂