There was an afternoon recently that I was in kind of a melancholy mood. I've been there before, but luckily, I've learned to identify it and try to reverse course before a negative thought cycle gets going. Instead of sitting and wallowing, I decided to take a hike. It was a gorgeous day out, not too hot to bring Pruitt either. It actually would have been stupid to just stay inside. A waste of good weather. So I slipped on my sneakers, clipped the dog's leash on him, and set off running down our street. (A near San-Francisco grade downhill slope. It's really exhilarating.) We made our way through town to reach the forest trail and slowed to a walk, so I could take in the loveliness of the trees towering above. We crossed paths with some squirrels and a whitetail deer. Pruitt was even particularly well behaved, and sat when I told him to, rather than taking off after the deer and pulling my arm out of its socket. He can be a good boy on occasion.
On our way back (meaning up the San-Francisco grade hill. Not quite as exhilarating), I realized that I had a ridiculous grin on my face. Even though I was wiped out from the hike, the overwhelming feeling was happiness. Maybe this was the elusive "runner's high" that I've sought since the mile-run fitness exam in high school. Beats me. Anyhow, the melancholy that had earlier been threatening to seize my thoughts was gone. I had accomplished something that was good for me (and the dog). In just 45 minutes and a tad over 4 miles, I had an adventure. I came back with a fun story about Pruitt and the deer, which wouldn't have happened if we just sat home. (Though Pruitt would have been equally happy to laze about the whole afternoon. He's a hound dog through and through.)
I can't stress enough how important it is to move your body and get outside. There is a plethora of evidence for the benefits of outdoor activity. I wrote about a few in my biking post, which you can read here. It's hard to argue with, though there are always excuses. I could have talked myself out of the hike because of the recent rainfall. The trail might be kinda soggy. Admittedly, a few spots were, but it was by no means unnavigable. I could have reasoned that there was too much traffic on the city streets that day. I even could have said, "Pruitt doesn't feel like it." Lethargic hound dog, as I mentioned. ;) All feeble excuses that would have prevented an otherwise enjoyable experience.
I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees. ~ Henry David Thoreau
So my message for today.. Move. Get outside. It will help. The benefits far outweigh any excuses that can be mustered. In fact, I'm going to walk over to the library right now, just so you don't think I'm sitting on my behind and telling you what to do. :)
'Til next time,