I walk Khalee every day. Sometimes we take long walks and sometimes it is just a quick jaunt around the neighbourhood.
Sometimes, I want to take a longer walk and she votes no, turning toward home at every opportunity.
All of these walks feel good for my brain and for my body but they don’t exactly feel like exercise.
Khalee, you see, has two speeds 1) sedate amble (to maximize sniffing possibilities) and 2) all-out gallop (to maximize speed for her and danger for me. I think the danger thing is an accidental side-effect or at least I hope it is.)
The sedate amble, with lots of pauses to do a complete sniffvestigation, is her usual speed but she might break out the all-out gallop if the path is especially snowy or if she sees that my husband has arrived home while we were out.
I enjoy the amble but I find myself wishing I could speed up a bit (without going all-out gallop) and get a bit of a workout in but I don’t want to make her rush. She is, after all, a dog, and sniffing is how she explores the world. And, of course, these walks are supposed to be about her, not about me.
On top of my wish to get in a little exercise while I am already moving, I find that, despite my desire to let her amble along and despite my attempts to be mindful about my walk, my ADHD brain sometimes starts grumbling about being borrrrrrrrred.
During one of our walks last week, my brain got especially whiny and I decided it was time to take things up a notch.
I didn’t want to speed up and risk putting Khalee into turbo mode (and myself in peril since her four legs give her way better balance at all-out speed) so I decided to make my slow walk a bit harder, really using the muscles in my legs to pull myself forward with every step instead of just strolling along.
(The nature of my efforts made me think of an 80s or 90s aerobics instructor saying ‘Create resistance. Imagine you are moving through mud.’ so I also managed to make myself laugh a bit in the process.)
At another point in the walk, I tried moving my arms a bit more deliberately. And I also changed our route a little so I had two hills to climb instead of just one.
As a result of these tweaks, my brain stopped whining about being bored AND I felt like I had gotten just a bit more exercise into my day. And that was on top of the generally good feeling I get from knowing that I am taking good care of Khalee and myself by being outdoors for a walk, whether it feels like exercise or not.
Now, I’m not saying that I am going to do this on every walk but on those days when I am feeling a little restless, when our walk feels slower than usual, or when my schedule is so tight that our walk might be my only chance to exercise, I will definitely find ways to work harder without making Khalee rush through her sniffvestigations.
After all, I wouldn’t want her to miss any details. They could be crucial when her case gets to court. 😉