I took a long walk this morning. When I reached the top end of my route I sat for awhile to rest my aching thigh before turning around to return home. Eight blocks from home my muscles were screaming in pain, I was blocks away from anywhere to sit down other than on the filthy sidewalk and I didn't think I was going to make it the rest of the way.
I stood under a big tree, leaning against the trunk, taking the weight off my sore leg and tried once again to figure out what is causing the recurrence of the same muscle pain I had when I was doing physiotherapy the first few months after I broke my hip. I’ve been so careful to walk slowly and carefully since I went back to my spring/summer exercise routine after our long winter.
After resting a couple of minutes I was tempted to panic about how I was going to walk the rest of the way home. Well, better to tough it out and move through the pain instead of standing stupidly against the tree wondering what to do, right?
I hobbled slowly for about half a block, taking ever shorter steps and on the verge of crying from pain and frustration and fear. I decided there was no point continuing to baby my leg. Better to move as quickly as possible and hope for the best instead of inching along so slowly, because the pain would be the same either way, right?
WRONG! The decision to lengthen my stride, born of fear, turned out to be the solution to the muscle problem. By the time I reached the end of that block, the pain was gone. GONE! As I strode along at what used to be my walking speed before this past winter shut down my long walks, the muscles loosened up and the aches and pains ceased.
So, today I learned something very important: walk normally, at my usual pace from before the fracture, my old length of stride....thrilled to make this discovery. I am being forced to stop babying that leg. YAY! No more baby steps, only long, brave strides from now on.