There are days when I feel ‘rewarded’ for the fact that I have quit smoking (8 weeks plus…) but there are days like today when I appreciate that whilst I’ve given up smoking, I’ve also given up youth.
Not all my aches and pains are down to the ‘demon weed’ and whilst my nicotine-free system might consider that it would now be feasible to build in some regular exercise, the rest of my 56-year old frame is going to wade into that argument with lots of reasons why a sedentary, smoking lifestyle cannot suddenly be supplanted with a more active regime.
When the Princess was a mere tadpole, I used to take her out pretty much every day in her pushchair to one of the two parks that lie within easy reach of this house. I don’t think I appreciated at the time how much that daily regime was keeping me in shape – or at least in a shape that didn’t resemble a doughnut on legs.
Perhaps as a consequence of those trips, I have a certain nostalgia about those parks, such that I see them as an arena for healthy exercise and children having fun rather than a haven for perverts, glue-sniffers and absconding schoolchildren; the truth probably lying somewhere between the two.
So, for the last couple of days, I have marched off, shielded from the gales and the rain by lots of sensible cagoul-type vestments and filled with a sense of virtuous pride that I am finally getting some exercise. This is all fine until about halfway round this 2-mile loop when I develop a feeling at the base of my spine akin to someone lighting a bonfire down there. I can gain some temporary relief by sitting down for a few minutes but once I start moving again, the bonfire soon flares up again.
It’s a level of pain that I would describe as moderate and once I sit down it soon disappears, but it has the effect of taking the shine off my daily outing to the park, which eventually becomes something of a slog if I’m honest. I intend to persevere in the hope that the issue is due to a weakness in my back muscles or due to the fact that I am several tons overweight (or an interaction of the two) and that both of these issues can be successfully addressed by more, not less, exercise.
Like I say, some days I feel rewarded by not smoking any more, but it’s hard to appreciate how much better my lungs are working when the base of my spine feels like it’s on fire…..oh well, onwards & upwards…..