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Week 10: Hooray for springing forward

March 14, 2012

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a morning person. I have tried to be one of those people who goes to bed at 9 p.m. and wakes at 6 a.m. –– bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to joyfully greet another day. I wish I could be one of those people who starts each day with exercise, so I can walk into work with my chakras in line, my inner self at peace and my mind cleared of all proverbial clutter. Some days I am actually able to accomplish at least some of these goals. After all, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” More often than not, though, I stay up too late doing “one more load” of laundry, reading a book or just staring at the ceiling unable to sleep. These nights lead to my complete inability, six hours later, to welcome the sunrise with a smile. My late morning start leads to a shortened trip to the gym –– if any at all –– and the knowledge that I will be finishing my workout when I get off work. Only a few short days ago this meant a bonus trip to the gym, but now, my favorite option is back in play.
Yes, I am that crazy person who loves daylight savings time.
I know countless people who dread that precious lost hour of sleep, who swear it throws them off for weeks, but I am not among them. I feel a surge of energy knowing the days are going to be longer. I feel I have more time in the day somehow, that still seeing sunlight means I’m getting bonus hours to get more done.
Among the many things I enjoy in my fictitious bonus hours is walking my dog when I get home from work. Or, even better, waiting for my husband to get home from work at 6:30 and walk our other dog with me. We call it our “family walk.”
The “family walk” is not necessarily the best workout in the world, I won’t lie. I’m sure another 30 minutes on the treadmill or the elliptical machine would be much better for my waistline. However, as I’ve said before, in order to really make the changes necessary for a lifetime of healthy choices, one must experience some rewards.
I am an impatient person, so for me, waiting to see the scale change is not a great source of encouragement to keep me on my path toward better health. I am someone who needs instant gratification from time to time. That’s where the “family walk” comes in.
Although to someone watching us, our dogs may look as if they’re actually walking us and not the other way around, the “family walk” has become one of the best new habits my husband and I have taken on.
Before I began medication for my blood pressure, I found the quickest way to get that number down was the “family walk.” It never failed — my blood pressure was significantly lower when we returned home. I’m not sure what it is, except the sum of its parts — my husband and I get to talk about our day, and we always get a few good laughs out of something one of the dogs does. We feel the sun on our faces; we breathe fresh air, and we take in the beauty around us. A world of stress breaks apart and hits the asphalt like pebbles behind us as we take each step. It is good for my heart, body, mind and soul. Thankfully, it’s that time of year again. Mr. Franklin and I will just have to agree to disagree.

Angie Carnathan is the Lifestyles reporter for Starkville Daily News. Contact her at sdnlife@bellsouth.net.

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