On Wednesday morning Tom and I decided to take a short trip to Devil’s Lake in the morning. We had just bought some new hiking shoes in preparation for our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and wanted to try them out. We didn’t have any meetings to attend and no pressing things to do that morning, so we decided to take advantage. It was a perfect fall day. The sun was shining and the park smelled like that wonderful sweet leaves smell I can’t get enough of this time of year.
We parked at the north shore and made the quick hike through the west bluff. I was very much enjoying the fresh air and the fact that I wasn’t in front of my computer. We had picked up a pumpkin scone (I want to eat these every day) at a coffee shop before we left Madison and saved it for the top of the bluff. Just as we were making our last steps down the bluff, we passed a couple just starting their hike.
The man asked, “Hi, how long until we get to the top?”
I laughed a bit and said, “Uh…you only just started! You’ve got a ways to go.” The man looked at his wife whom he had his arm around, and was assisting up each step, and says “Well, yes, but she’s really struggling.”
His wife then chimes in, “You’ll be old one day too!”
This couple appeared to be in their late fifties or early sixties, which to me, isn’t “old.” I felt sorry for this woman. There are many ways to get “old” and the way she has chosen, won’t be the way I go.
Because in this situation, age has nothing to do with the fact that she is struggling to take steps up a bluff. I don’t know this woman. Maybe she just had a hip or knee replacement. Maybe she is healing from some other injury. I don’t know. But she appeared able-bodied and of sound mind. It seemed as though the excuse “I’m old” was her out. The trails at Devil’s Lake aren’t meant for expert hikers. Heck, most people who have been out west and to the mountains know that Devil’s Lake is just a leisurely “stroll.” But if you don’t move your body on a regular basis, and succumb to any excuse to rationalize why you don’t use the body God has given you, then it might be tough.
I understand that life can take its turns. An injury, an accident, a death that causes deep depression, a new job, a new baby, or a number of other things that can cause a shake-up in routine. But once we get a handle on things, moving our bodies in a way that we enjoy should be a priority. If we have been blessed with legs that can walk, run, jump, ski, row, bike, swim, snowshoe, etc. it’s our responsibility to use them. Walking is a normal human activity. At any age.
My motivation to workout on a regular basis is so I can sign up for a 5k on Thanksgiving and not have to worry about training for it. It’s so I can take a trip to a state park and not question if I’m in “hiking” shape. It’s so I can go on a 20+ mile bike ride on a random Saturday morning and actually enjoy the ride. I workout so I can live my life and do whatever life throws at me. And yes, I plan on being in shape well into my sixties, seventies, and hopefully eighties. God has blessed me with an able-body and I’m planning on using it.
Ok, I’m off my soap box now. I hope you have a very happy Friday! Enjoy this fall weather to its fullest.