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Just as the sun is rising: encouraging an active start to the day

October 20th, 2010
By Sue Clark

The alarm rings before daylight and my immediate reaction is to groan, turn over and go back to sleep, but deep down I know that once I tumble out and get 'on the road' it's going to be worth the effort.

As I crawl out of bed and don my 'walking/biking' gear I agonise over which of the two activities will be the lesser of the two evils. If I choose to walk, Wurzel, my four legged companion, will have fun sniffing all the exciting smells. If I bike he will enjoy another hour curled up in his basket.

The decision has been made; today I shall walk. The first 150 metres are the worst, then the joints loosen, the body acclimatises to the outdoor temperatures and I am on my way.

Walking up Staples Street in the pre-dawn light, the cattle look shadowy as they move slowly away from their overnight spot under the willow trees. The Pukeko mother birds urge their young chicks away from me, and the chirping sounds of awakening birds is good company.

As the sun begins to peep over the horizon the joggers, walkers, runners and cyclists become more numerous. They are a smiley lot, shouting out cheery greetings as they pass me by, and it's a wonderful feeling of being part of something rather special.

The route along Motueka's Harbour Road to the Kumaras, down Staple Street and along Thorp Street is popular. So too is the route along Wharf Road and down Trewavas Street, but there are many fabulous blocks that can be used for the early morning exercise.

You might well ask, "Why get up so early, why not do it in the eveing?" and my reply would be instant! If I leave it until after work, I find it hard to beat the negative vibes because I am tired, there is a meal to cook, the garden to tend, the animals to feed, the horse to be ridden, it's oh-so-easy to say "I will do it tomorrow" - which in my case, seldom ever happens. So ... early mornings it is and once done it's great to know I have achieved my daily challenge.

If I manage to keep up the resolve, if I keep encouraging the brain to be positive with regard to my fitness instead of being negative, I believe I will find the spring in my step becomes springier, and I will be far less stressed than the before. I have to admit that getting up in the early hours of the morning is not easy but the benefits far outweigh the real effort I have to make to get out there and do it.

For those of you who would love to get active but are finding it hard to get into a routine, my advice is if you are not strong willed, find a friend who will enjoy walking or biking with you. But however you set about it just get out and do it ... and reap the benefits as I am certain I will.

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