I have a good exercise routine established over many years and I have been able to keep it up for over 30 years. It started when I had my back operated on to fix a ruptured disk. I was given exercises to strengthen my core to better support the now bone-on-bone L5 disk and I discovered that these exercises worked. Over the years, I developed a routine that involved doing these exercises one day alternating with walking for about 4 to 6 kilometres on the alternative day.
|All alone in Shube|
During the COVID-19 Pandemic the walking became an issue, especially during the first wave when the parks and trails I normally used were closed to the public. It is hard to “Stay the Blazes Home” and get my walks in. For a while I had to limit my walks to the streets in the neighbourhood, so when the parks opened again I was happy to be able to go back to my regular routes.
One of my favourite walking routes were a couple of loops in Shube Park, the lovely city park within easy walking distance from my house. When the parks opened however I discovered some problems. Some of the most scenic and interesting trails were not close to six feet wide, making it impossible to follow the proper “social distance”. I found myself stepping into the woods when encountering other park users. One solution was to stick to the “Great Trail”, part of the Trans-Canada Trail system, where the pathways were wider and it was easier to maintain a distance between other walkers. I also discovered that if I timed my walks in the park for the week days rather than the weekends it was better. On the weekend, there were more families and groups of people who seemed to just ignore the social distancing rules. During the week, most users were groups of two or singles walking their dogs and they seemed to understand and follow the rules better. I discovered that a walking the trail around Lake Mic Mac was a better option on the weekends because it was wider and not as popular as the ones in the main park.
|A little used trail|
Walking on the sidewalks was always an option, but again, the sidewalks do not provide enough room for a six foot distance between people. I also tried some other trails around the city and discovered that many parks conveniently placed nice benches alongside the walkways for people to rest and watch the scenery. Obviously these benches, when occupied literally blocked the trails if you follow social distances rules.
I wanted to continue my walks, so I developed a “Road Less Traveled” strategy. I started looking for trails that were not used as much and I started following routes that others did not use. There is a nice trail out in Cole Harbour that only a few locals know about, and I found that walking on the trails in Burnside Industrial Park on the weekends provided people free walking routes. Even walking in Shube Park, I discovered the trails that fewer people used. Even walking on the city sidewalks and streets, it is possible to follow routes parallel to the main streets that are less used, and by exploring areas of the city I did not normally go to provided nice safer vacant walking routes.