Monday, August 24, 2009

These Boots Are (Not) Made For Walking

~ Yesterday afternoon I went for a long walk, and in the process discovered just how incredibly unfit I am.

I walked down Military Road to Cambridge Terrace, then down to the Esplanade, before walking back along the beach path and up Semaphore Road to home. I mapped the route on Google Maps today and found the total distance is eight kilometres/5 miles (click image to view route full size).

By the end of my walk I was tired and sweaty, and almost limping. In fact, my calf muscles are still aching today.

It occurred to me last night (in what had to be the understatement of the day), that I am not as young as I used to be. In fact, when I go travelling again next year I will be pretty much exactly two years older than I was last year. Then, I was a mere lad of 59. Next March when I set off, I will be 61, and as far as the government is concerned – a Senior Citizen. Not an old aged pensioner, mind you – just a Senior. I still have some years to go before I officially become an OAP – not that I’m in a hurry to reach that landmark.

However, just as I wanted to improve my overall fitness levels before I travelled in 2008, so too do I want to improve my ability to walk reasonable distances before I again set off next year. Given that I spend far too long sitting in front of a computer, and given too, that the amount of physical activity I undertake each day is quite frankly minimal, I have a lot of work to do before the end of March 2010.

Ok, ok, it’s time to be brutally honest. I currently weigh around 105 kilograms, which translates to around 231 pounds! For a person of my age, that is clearly too much, and whether I travel or not, I have to try and reduce my weight by at least 10 kilograms (22 pounds). It’s a big ask, as they say, and I don’t know if I am going to be able to achieve it, but I have to do something, otherwise I know I will be struggling next year.

The obvious reason I write about this today is because if I am going to enjoy the travel experience as much as possible, I have to be reasonably fit and healthy to do so. Yes, I could take a tour and spend 80 percent of my time sitting on a bus taking in the sites, but if you have read more than one entry on The Compleat Traveller, you will gather that I am not the type of person to engage in that form of travel.

The good news is that down here in the Southern Hemisphere spring is just around the corner, and the long hot days of summer are on the way. This means I can look forward to six months of fine hot weather, and lots of walks along the beach, and even the occasional dip in the ocean. If I have some success in the area of weight reduction and increased fitness – I’ll report back via these pages. Wish me luck.

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