Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Goodbye Philippines, Salamat Po! Hello Chicago!

Blogging, what a great idea! Stand back a few feet from my own life, take photos, observe and make pithy comments, reflecting wryly through a health and wellness lens.  And then life happens, faster than I can take photos or reflect in witty stories, let alone apply the experiences to health and wellness practices.

After 8 whirlwind months my time living in the Philippines has come to an end!  As I write I am air-bound for Chicago.  So many experiences in such a short time, mining my reflections in the months to come will no doubt yield some posts on healthy living based on my experience of urban living. Manila was quite a shock for this Alaska-raised, former suburban-Chicago baseball mom, and most recently Oregon small-farm girl. Wow! It's a varied life!

While my emotional status is definitely up for discussion I am choosing to focus on my physical health (with serotonin side benefits).  Honestly healthy choices may be all I can control right now.   I’m thinking specifically of my heart health.  Hurling 550 mph on my way to Tokyo, I read the April 24th Asia version of the Wall Street Journal which ran a great story on heart health by Melinda Beck.  Do you know if I walk just 30 minutes a day I reduce my chances of heart attack by 70%, only 10 minutes a day reduces it by 50%!  

I have been regularly walking on a treadmill while living in Manila, primarily to avoided the heavy pollution, and humid heat while addressing the sedentary nature of my work at the computer. The same article mentioned that spending my work day sitting in front of a computer is the equivalent of being a smoker in regards to my heart’s health, that’s a surprise! The solution is to have regular intervals of moving through out the day.  I guess I could have used the office stairs a few more times a day.

I have had a love-hate relationship with my walking shoes. How many times living in the states I’ve thought, I’m going to start walking regularly, 20 to 30 minutes a day, how hard can that be?  Then the weather changes or the dog has carried off one of my shoes, or the guys in my house have decided to watch my favorite show, or I just don’t feel like walking at the moment, I’ll do it later.  

While I do not like anticipating difficult circumstances, I believe that my daily living choices are an opportunity to practice so, when life is difficult, I have established a pattern.  It seems counter intuitive that when all is disrupted, I am going to walk.  I’ve been “practicing”regular walking in my daily Manila living and now when I need it most, I have the preparation and confidence to carry out daily walking, while readjusting to life in the states.

I have got to walk, for cardiac health.  Okay, mental health too.  Already as I think about where we will be staying when we first arrive in Chicago, I envision myself outdoors walking in the beautiful spring weather, except when it’s cold, blustery and raining sideways.  So, I see myself doing circuits in the nearby mall, that’s if there is no treadmill in sight.