I discovered last week that walking can be dangerous to your health.
I like to walk, but hadn’t been doing much of it lately because of (a) the cold and (b) the ice on the sidewalks. The cold made it difficult to work up any sort of pace (for me at least) without taking in large gulps of freezing-cold air into the lungs, which I don’t think is healthy.
The ice on the sidewalks, it goes without saying, can also be dangerous to your health. It also leads to a curious condition where you may pass a number of other people walking in the opposite direction without ever making eye contact. You’re both too busy concentrating on making sure your feet are safely placed to worry about social interaction.
However, those conditions were not in evidence when I went out last week, and I decided to go for a somewhat longer walk than what I had been doing over the past few months. The first realization that it had been a while came as soon as I turned from Foothills onto 15th Avenue, took a look at the lights at Ospika, and thought, “Those look a lot farther away than they used to be”.
They were not, of course, and it didn’t take me more than a couple of minutes longer than usual to finish my walk, which surprised me. I had figured there would be a good chance I would collapse halfway there, with my body rebelling against the sudden onset of exercise.
I walked to 15th and the Bypass, then turned around to come home.
I got to Nicholson Street, by the post office, where there were a couple of pedestrians crossing at the controlled crossing.
Two vehicles waited for them to clear the lane, then made right-hand turns onto 15th. I saw the light was about to turn green again on 15th, so I stepped off the curb.
At which point another vehicle accelerated, raced by me (with the driver making a sort of apologetic wave to me as he did), then turned left onto 15th with some of the other westbound traffic already halfway through the intersection.
OK, I thought, so there’s one bad driver on the roads today. That’s not bad.
Then I got to 15th and Ospika, and almost the exact same thing happened. I was waiting to cross 15th heading north, saw the left-hand turn light about to change to red, started to step off the curb . . .
And another vehicle didn’t even slow down at the red light, made the right-hand turn from 15th onto Ospika (with the female driver giving me the same apologetic wave), and sped away.
If people wonder why Canadians aren’t as fit as we were years ago, that might be part of the reason: fear of death.