What if the ideal answer to fitness – and life – was simply taking time to smell the flowers? Celebrity chef and walker extraordinaire Laura Calder on why she’s sticking with the slow path.
Rural people don’t, or at least didn’t, “work out”. They worked. In my twenties, when I was into distance running (I loved the pace, the peace, the away-from-it-all-ness) my grandfather used to mock me. “Why don’t you go pile some wood instead of wasting your time.” Both my grandfathers were fit as fiddles and strong, but they certainly never went to a gym in their lives and they just didn’t get it. Neither did I ever see either of my parents deliberately “exercise”. They did gardening, or put on storm windows, cooked, kept the fires going… In short, they lived life. In the evenings, they used to go out for a walk, but that was to look at the sunset or the stars.
I knew a girl once who was very overweight. She worked in a country store and was clearly unhappy. One day, she decided that she was going to start building her life around walks. Having never done it before, she started walking an hour a day. Nothing else. That was it. And do you know, she melted? She positively melted before our eyes. She has never gained a pound back and she has never stopped walking (it has been twenty years).
Just last night at a dinner party, a friend of mine in the advertising business said, “The new trend is no car.” (I almost want to take credit for that: I’ve never owned one!) Obviously, in rural settings, a car is indispensible, and in those times walking is more of a hobby. But in cities, feet are my main mode of transportation. If I have a meeting across town at 10, I leave at 9 and hoof it. If I have a dinner at 8, I’m out of the house at 7 wearing speedy ballerinas. It’s not just for exercise, it’s to clear out the cobwebs in fresh air, and it’s to take in the world at a digestible pace. It’s a lot harder to stop and smell the flowers if you’ve just driven over half of them at 100 miles an hour. Read more blog posts by Laura here, visit her site on www.lauracalder.com or follow her on Twitter.