In Sydney we may go out for exercise, either with people from our own household or with one friend. It has to be close to our home. We can’t drive 100km and go for a walk on a favourite holiday beach. But we can exercise in our own neighbourhood.
When I was out on my walk early one morning last weekend I walked around a corner and noticed an elderly lady looking confused. She turned and said, ‘How do I get across? We cannot not touch.’ pointing to the button to change the traffic lights. I smiled, lifted my arm up and said ‘Use your elbow’.
I also noticed, even if I only met very few on my walk, most people did not move to the side. The footpaths are less than 2mts wide, so unless one person moves to the side we will not adhere to the suggested 1.5mth distance. Even when walking in pairs they seemed to be ok with taking up all the footpath. I always try to move to the side to make sure I keep the distance, but it would be nice to see other people offer the same sometimes.
This made me think how confusing this time is for many. What we can and can’t do. We are living in a way that has transformed, often with daily changes, and many are still struggling with the new norm. Either through ignorance, arrogance or just plain not knowing any better and having lived the ‘old’ way for a long time.
This is what I do when I head out. Maybe this post can help others with suggestions on what to do. I rarely exercise outside on week days, as I work from home, and find it easier to fit in some yoga or dancing in my days inside. But on weekends I try to get at least one descent walk in.
- I head out early to avoid the crowds. So often around 7 or 8 in the morning.
- My walking bag has tissues and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
- Before I go, I wash my hands with soap and water and put a dollop of hand sanitizer in my palm, but I don’t rub it in till outside of my apartment building. That way I know I have clean hands after touching any common door knobs.
- I often wear a cap and sunnies for a bit of protection, but no mask. We still have a low number of cases in Australia, and my suburb is very quiet.
- When I see someone approaching I move to the side.
- I look up and try to meet their gaze for a greeting, but many do not. It’s as if they think making eye contact can be contagious.
- I don’t stop for coffee. In fact, most places I walk in and the time of day have no shops open so not a temptation.
- Favourite places to walk to are areas that have an abundance of nature, either bushland settings or waterways. The sound of animals going on with the morning chatter and the sound of running water or waves has a calming effect.
- Crossing the road, I use my elbow to change the traffic lights
Walking is a brilliant form of exercise. It’s gentle and most people can do it, plus, if on a sunny day, gives you a nice dose of vitamin D. It also helps clear the head of all that clutter and worrying thoughts that might creep in with everything going on in our world.
So get out there and enjoy.
Stay safe all and keep washing your hands.