Tuesday, May 26, 2015
“Serenity comes to the self propelled”. A friend said that to our group of women at one point during our hike on the Bruce Trail this past weekend. We were hiking a 16 km section in the Beaver Valley and it was a perfect spring day. It was 20 degrees, and a soft wind was was blowing and the bugs weren’t bad. The sky was a perfect blue. The 6 of us long time friends were on a weekend get-away that we affectionately call chickfest. We’ve had many chickfests over our 25 years of friendship and the weekends have taken place in different settings – some have been urban, others in provincial parks when we have camped and this year a friend loaned us their cottage by Flesherton. Our weekends are always a unique blend of activities and have included biking, hiking, paddling, finding good cafes, cooking really good food together, having lots of conversations, laughing a lot, reading and relaxing.
The hike we did this year along the Bruce Trail took us through beautiful hardwood forests and across fields of long grass blowing in the wind. We hiked up ski hills. We saw many beautiful views of the Beaver Valley and the farm land. We found lots of spring flowers in bloom including an orchid. There were butterflies around us and birds were singing. Apple trees were in bloom and their blossoms smelled divine. It was the perfect day. We were lucky that all the conditions conspired. That doesn’t always happen.
At the end of the hike we came home to beer o’clock. We drank beer, ate chips and told stories of our day and remembered the many beautiful moments. We all did a little yoga to stretch out our hips, hamstrings and lower backs. And then we prepared another amazing meal and enjoyed our well deserved glass of wine! You can bet that we all slept really well after our hike.
I believe that one of the secrets to good life is having a body that is strong enough to go on these kind of adventures, and to have friends to go with. One of the women on chickfest brought a book with her called “Younger Next Year” for Women (there is a version for men as well) and it is written by Dr Henry Lodge and Chris Crowley. It talks about what women need to do once they reach the age of 50 to grow younger as they age. The authors suggest that all women need 3 things to age well: cardiovascular exercise, strength training and social connections (people to go out and be active with). The authors recommend that women must signal their bodies to keep growing by exercising six days a week (for 45 minutes) or our bodies will go down hill. In the opening forward Gail Sheehey says that “exercise provides the signal that jolts our cells into repairing and renewing themselves and releases the chemicals that bathe the brains in positive feelings.” The message in this book is that exercising is our job and as is as important as any medicine we are taking or any other task we take on in our day.
I am grateful to all my girlfriends for these amazing adventures. I promise I will keep exercising so I can stay strong enough to keep going with you!