Making a virtue out of necessity to rediscover the joy of moving at nature’s pace
Our first full lockdown month was a memorable one – for the evolving horror of the evolving pandemic and also for taking the time to try to navigate mindfully through it at nature’s pace.
I certainly didn’t start April with a personal challenge in mind, but it ended up that way. Who expected April to be the sunniest on record, given what the previous two months had thrown at us?
But because of that, getting out every day to exercise under our C-19 restrictions has been such a pleasure – for the feel-good factor of moving in the bright, warm sunshine and fresh air, and for seeing Spring slowly unfurl, via a succession of colourful blooms and life renewed.
From daffodils and primroses , through magnolia, tulips, cherry blossom, bluebells, forget-me-nots, the heavy scent of May and Lilac blossom, to the profusion of candle flowers now on the chestnuts, and even early poppies, it was a delightful, day-by-day progression.
By the end of April, the air was full of bird song. Woodpeckers are busy and the first Swifts have arrived. Swans are patiently completing their nesting duties and this week I saw a duck surrounded by 10 newly born ball-of-fluff chicks. Perhaps April is the best month?
It was about halfway through the month that I started to be interested in the mileage I was accumulating through walking, cycling and jogging in the quiet green spaces in and around Leamington and Warwick.
I was diligently tracking my daily exercise on Strava. With 10 days to go I could see that I had a fighting chance of making it to 400km...and then the challenge was on. It kept me going for the full 30 days – making sure I moved at least 5km per day, door-to-door. And so I did it!
Despite the weather turning over the past days, I broke through 400km on the last day of the month – accumulating 128km walking, 28km jogging and 254km cycling. By far the most I’ve ever done in a month. Strava also told me that I'd picked up almost 3,000m (10,000 ft in old money) of elevation. Apparently, that's equivalent to climbing Germany's biggest mountain, Zugspitze, in the Alps (no I'd not heard of it either, but I'm glad I've now e-climbed it).
Well, it’s May Day. 31 days of lengthening evenings, warm days (hopefully) and nature in its glory lie ahead.
So, if you can do so safely, why not make your own resolution to get out every day this month – come rain or shine – to accumulate some serious mileage and to and enjoy the tremendous physical and mental health benefits of your choice of walking/running/cycling.
Then see how you feel when you wake up on June 1, with the entire summer still ahead of us. Like me, I don’t expect you’ll want to stop. Enjoy!
Attached are some of my favourite pics taken on C-19 walks in the month.