Breaking a sweat

I’ve recently started to make more of a point to get regular exercise.  I’d love to lose the rest of the “baby weight” (from being pregnant with Liam, but also still from being pregnant with Benjamin) but even more just because I feel better when I move around — it’s good for my body and my brain.  After years of being active regularly without having to think too much about it (riding, dancing) it’s amazing how crappy it can feel to basically stop moving except when you need to.  (Even that’s an exaggeration — we don’t own a car, so I walk a lot, and I chase two kids around all the time, so that’s a lot of activity, but it just isn’t the same as moving for the purpose of moving.)

Not wanting to end up injuring myself right away, I’ve started slowly — I’m walking and doing a little bit of yoga.  I felt better almost immediately, and now, after just a week, I’m really starting to notice a difference — I walk for time, not distance, and I go significantly further each time.  So, that feels good.  It just feels good to move.

I usually walk with Liam in the mornings (don’t worry — I don’t make Liam walk, he gets to ride in the stroller) when B is at school, but I don’t always make that work, so then I try to go in the afternoons.  Today, I went in the afternoon with both Liam and Benjamin.  Liam rode in the stroller and Benjamin rode his “pushing bike”.  We had a blast.  It was so fun to be outside, making my body move, and spending time with my kids — we all really, really enjoyed it (even Dan met up with us after he got home from work).  It was a beautiful day, and I got a pretty good workout in — Benjamin can get going pretty fast on his bike!

I’ve often wondered how the Viennese manage to walk everywhere and still look perfect.  They are beautifully done up (in general) and seem to maintain that throughout the day — even though use of public transportation, and walking, are so common.  On all my walks over the past week or so, I’ve been noticing something — in part, at least, it’s because they walk pretty slowly.  Even I, relatively out of shape (and with pretty short legs), manage to speed past even tall men walking to the train station.  If they’re out just strolling around, they go even slower.  I doubt they usually break a sweat.  It’s a novel concept for me — maybe I’m an impatient person, but I almost always walk quickly.  No wonder they manage to look the same at 6:00 in the evening as they do at 8:00 in the morning!  It also helps to explain why they’re always so bundled up (I am easily the most lightly dressed person I encounter when I go out for my brisk walks).

That isn’t to say they don’t exercise — they definitely do.  It’s a very active and relatively fit culture, as far as I can tell.  But when they’re about their daily tasks, they seem to take their time . . . although they ALSO manage to be on time to everything (a paradox I have yet to figure out).

There’s a measured pace, coupled with an efficiency and promptness, that I find really nice in the people here.  They manage to be on time without being rushed, fit without being obsessed.  I still haven’t figured out how they do it, but I like it, and I hope I learn a little.

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