Be Active, Be Challenged, Be Happy

by Benita Zahn

Who isn't taking part in some sort of virtual distance challenge? I'm involved in 2. The ON3NY distance event is, as the title suggests, the third in the series. The organizers donate to charities supporting people struggling during the pandemic particularly food pantries and other social service groups. This time you get your choice of distances and length of time to complete the challenge. I've opted for 300 miles in 3 months. It is proving a challenge because work has been exceptionally busy, the cold weather, and I hate running on a treadmill and I don't cover as many miles snowshoeing as I do running. Okay, enough excuses. What the challenge accomplishes is ensuring that I do MOVE even on the days I'd prefer not to. I've also signed up for the Freihofer's READY SET SNOW challenge which encourages us to move every day and move any way you want. (There is also a Facebook page to check out.) Yes, I'm double dipping. Hey, there are just so many hours in the day! What I'm being sure NOT to do is compare my effort with someone else's. Frankly, that can be a dark side to these challenges. 

Like everything else with social media there's the potential for us to compare what we do, have, experience with someone else. Never mind that we usually share the best of our lives and even airbrush the details, it's well known that most of us succumb to viewing others as having more, whatever that more is defined as. So, the same can occur as we plod our way through one of these virtual challenges. I see it in comments participants post, making excuse for why they HAVEN'T done more rather than celebrating what they HAVE done. Heck, I bet their friends who haven't signed up are sitting around not coming near the miles being racked up, even if you think they're paltry.

The point of these challenge events is to encourage us to move, to stretch, to reach into ourselves and find what we are capable of. They are not there to make us feel unworthy or shamed. I realize we can feel that way every time we cross a finish line - that someone was better than us. But the only thing we need to consider is our effort. Did we give it our all? If the answer is no, then we can learn from that and regroup and try again.

So, let me challenge all of you. If you haven't done so in a while leave your watch at home. Go out for a run with a song in your heart and your eyes wide open to the world around you. In short, just run for the fun of it. And if you have a 4-legged friend, take it along. Trust me, that may be the biggest challenge during these dark days and the most fulfilling. Leave all the 'shoulds' behind and simply be in the moment.

                              Bill Hoffman off for a run with his companion Taush

Alan Via author of Dog Hiker recommends great hikes to take with your dog

Benita Zahn, DPS Bioethics

Anchor/Health Reporter
Health Beat Host
“Everything Theater” Podcast with Ellen Cribbs
“Live Smart” column Times Union

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