So I was taking a walk in ridiculously warm and sunny Seattle yesterday. (How weird was the weather? It was 78 degrees in Seattle. And it was 78 degrees in Honolulu. I am not kidding. See proof, at right, as posted on a friend’s Facebook page. And yes, it’s a Seattle friend who is currently in Honolulu. Busted!)
Anyway, I digress. I was in a little park that has a half-mile pathway that circles a lovely green space where people can play volleyball, throw frisbees, play soccer, or walk their dogs. And suddenly, without even realizing it, I thought “I should walk around the park one more time so that my activity monitor numbers will go up.”
(By the way, I’m deliberately not naming the actual brand of monitor I use, or what “numbers” it gives me that I’ve been so beholden to these past couple of years, because that’s not really the point. The point is that I had a gadget “rewarding” me for a long time, and making the mental shift to pay actual attention to how my body is feeling takes time.)
So I took a moment to reset my head on this stuff. I didn’t need to walk around the park one more time to get better data. I wanted to walk around the park one more time because it was a gorgeous day outside and I wanted to enjoy it for a little while longer before going back to work.
So, that’s the mind game I’m going to start playing with myself. Instead of looking to a gadget for the next few weeks, I’m going to look to myself. Am I enjoying my workouts, or am I still choosing workouts based on how many imaginary data points I would be influencing if I chose, say, running over yoga class? Am I checking in with my body? Am I really paying attention? Am I slowing down enough to really pay attention?
Here’s my theory:
One of the benefits of exercise is mindfulness.
That is, as long as we really embrace it.
By paying attention to our bodies, we sleep better, we move better, we get up off our duffs more often, and then we get stronger all around. We start to insist on things like reasonable working hours and regular breaks and decent benefits.
And then maybe we start asking ourselves whether we’re doing the work we’re really meant to be doing in life. And then we start going down a new path, and we realize that getting healthy and active and strong has benefits way beyond the cosmetic changes.
By unplugging for a while, I’m working on increasing my mindfulness, and seeing where that leads. This will be a very interesting experiment. Onward.
Yesterday’s #every48 workout: A rest day, but that walk in the park was superb, I tell you.