Last weekend I joined my son on one of his regular runs, about two miles around the roads in our neighbourhood.
I struggled to keep up as he, being a fit young man ran on ahead leaving me in his wake. It wasn’t long before I lost sight of him as I ran, then jogged and eventually walked my way home.
Well, it has been a while since I ran – or did any vigorous exercise, for that matter. Even though I stretched out my limbs when I got home, I spent the next two days walking like Norman Wisdom, my legs were so wobbly.
It’s a far cry from my days as a highly toned athlete, or as near as I will ever get to being one. You may snigger but believe it or not, I was pretty fit at one time. I went to a gym regularly, took part in spin classes and did a bit of running on the treadmill three or four times a week. I also did a lot of swimming and once I even competed in a triathlon. Impressed?
Let me tell you, I impress myself when I remember those days. I was probably at my peak fitness when I took part in that event. Now we’re not talking those iron man endurance things where competitors swim in the sea for about two miles followed by a cycle of around a hundred miles then they have to complete a full 26 miles and 300-odd yards marathon. Oh no, this triathlon was a beginners event, considerably shorter but no less challenging for a first time entrant.
As time has moved on and life has got busier, keeping fit is not always up there at the top of the priority list any more.
If I get out for a good walk it’s an achievement these days and something that needs to be planned out almost with military precision.
Running for the bus is sometimes the height of my workout in a week, which is a shame, because we’re always being told about the health benefits of keeping fit and for one who bangs on regularly about good mental health, I should really be taking a dose of my own medicine and making time for exercise again. Something has to change.
All of which is why I’m signing up this week for Aware Defeat Depression’s Mood Walk on Friday, June 12, taking in the beautiful surroundings of Barnett Demesne and Shaw’s Bridge. Aware is encouraging people to take part in either a 5k or 10k walk, raising vital funds through sponsorship, every penny of which will go towards Aware’s services and education programmes to support people affected by depression and increase understanding about mental illness.
So I’m in training again, and if you want to join us on the walk visit www.aware-ni.org/moodwalk or phone Kieran Hughes, Aware Defeat Depression’s fundraising officer on 028 9035 7820. Just £10 gets you a Mood Walk pack – including a t-shirt. Walk with me and together we can make a positive difference.