Lesson Learned in London

by Anne Bennett on January 17, 2012

Telephone Booths in Hyde Park, Central London

I’ve done it! I’ve Jazzercised two days in a row! OK, so maybe I’ve got an excess of endorphins flooding my brain, but I am feeling rather invincible and I hope that any of you who have decided to be active every day for the next three weeks (ending February 6) are feeling the same.

Royal London Hospital, Liz's home-away-from-home

Every time I think I’ll be unable to exercise on a daily basis, I remember 2006, when Elizabeth was studying for a semester in London. She suddenly came down with appendicitis; I flew over and arrived just as she was being wheeled out of surgery in one of the oldest hospitals in the city, Royal London Hospital (founded in 1740) on Whitechapel Road (Jack the Ripper’s haunt in the late 1800’s!).

Lizzie’s appendix had ruptured so she was pretty sick and in and out of the hospital for several weeks. Hospital visiting hours were strictly adhered to: absolutely no visitors until 2:00 pm each day. The place was literally on lock-down until then.

Early riser that I am, I had no choice but to walk the streets of London until visiting hours. From early in the morning until the afternoon I walked and walked and walked, stopping occasionally for coffee or a bite to eat. London has lovely parks interspersing busy streets with shops, historic sites and museums, so I was never without interesting sites to explore. I carried a Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar with me at all times and broke off a chunk whenever I felt I needed a bit of fuel.

Lizzie finally was able to return with me to Kansas and when we arrived home, I was shocked to find that I had lost 10 pounds during my three-week stay in London. These weren’t just any pounds but 10 stubborn, seemingly impossible-to-lose menopausal pounds. How was this possible, I thought? I hadn’t even thought about dieting, I had eaten regularly and had even had a glass or two of wine every evening when I arrived back at my hotel.

And then it occurred to me: it was the walking that did it. I had walked every day for hours, along the streets, up and down the stairs to the Underground (like millions of Londoners), through the parks. Although I hadn’t walked fast–indeed I often stopped at shops and museums or sat on park benches and people-watched–I had nonetheless covered what I estimate to be about four-to-six miles a day without even thinking twice about it.

No wonder people who live in big cities weigh less than the rest of us. They have no choice but to do what I did–walk. It isn’t exercise to them–it’s the only way to get from point A to point B.

And so, I’m not going to bail on my commitment to be active every day for three weeks. I know I can do it because I did it before, in London.

 

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather Hunter January 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Hi there, Anne! It was great seeing you at Jazzercise this a.m.! We can do this challenge, we can do this challenge! Love your blog and I’ll see you tomorrow. Heather

Amy Kamm January 18, 2012 at 7:44 am

Jsut returned from 2 weeks in Paris and London…walked like a fiend although less than if I had been on my own…didn’t lose an ounce…..poor me…you’re right though about the walking 4-6 miles everyday….getting out my old aerobics tapes right now.

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