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Keep Moving

By Debbie Koenig

By the time I lost the first 75 of my 100 pounds, I had learned to walk everywhere. I had an office job back then, and commuted by subway. Some days I’d get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way, and other days I’d skip the subway entirely and walk across the Queensboro Bridge. If I went out after work, my feet got me to my destination.

I haven’t had an office job in 16 years. Working from my apartment has cut down on my opportunities to move considerably. My office is about 20 feet from my bedroom, and it’s only another 10 feet to the living room. For a while there, I was too embarrassed to check the pedometer on my phone with any regularity. But I’ve been making an effort for a good few years now—regular morning walks with my friend, using my get-off-the-subway-early trick any time I take it, that sort of thing. And more recently I’ve been going to the gym with my husband three mornings a week, and weight training, too.

Somehow, though, even that doesn’t feel like enough. I’m solidly middle-aged at this point, and I see what could happen if I don’t keep making opportunities to move. It feels like a slippery slope into old-lady lethargy, so I’m forcing myself to do more. Lately that includes:

Gardening! Spring has sprung at our house upstate, and I’m getting my hands dirty. Last weekend I bought a bunch of plants—flowers, herbs, vegetables, plus several big bags of soil, fertilizer, and mulch. By the time I’d transplanted everything three hours had gone by.

Housecleaning! Cleaning a whole house takes a lot more effort than it does for an apartment. I’m counting it as an activity! And back in Brooklyn we’re getting ready to move, so we’re clearing out decades’ worth of stuff. Also counts!
Hill climbing! Our house is in the mountains. To walk anywhere means straining your quads. I’m embracing it.
Refinishing furniture! Awhile back I bought a cute little mid-century dining-room set off Craig’s List. Restoring it is taking a lot of elbow grease.

Biking! I haven’t ridden a bike regularly since high school. Riding in the city intimidates me, so I signed up for a free how-to class. There’s a ride-share station across the street from my apartment building, so it’ll be nice to just hop on and go.

Basically, I’m trying not to take the easy way. No car or subway if I can help it, no hiring a cleaning crew or gardener. I need to move, as much as possible.

Follow Debbie on Connect @debbieskoenig

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