Columns 7.3.2018 03:22 pm

Long walk to free hard hearts

President Cyril Ramaphosa enjoys an early morning walk with the general public from the Guguleto Sports Complex to the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town three weeks ago. Picture: Jacques Nelles

President Cyril Ramaphosa enjoys an early morning walk with the general public from the Guguleto Sports Complex to the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town three weeks ago. Picture: Jacques Nelles

You see, walking was never my favourite exercise. Maybe it’s the word exercise influencing my thinking. At school, it meant physical training class – and there, any form of exertion got my goat.

There’s an affinity between the new president and me. We both walk. But whereas he meditates, I masticate – chewing gum to keep my mouth from becoming sandpaper. Another difference: he enjoys meeting people en route, I tend to sidestep.

You see, walking was never my favourite exercise. Maybe it’s the word exercise influencing my thinking. At school, it meant physical training class – and there, any form of exertion got my goat.

Or horse. That horrible piece of furniture over which you have to fly – as if I’m Superman.

I’m not. More like Clark Kent who kept hitting the front of the horse square on with spindly knee caps.

Rope climbing was also part of the torturous session. I got halfway up when my sweaty hands let go, sending me to earth, bum first.

So what gives with walking? The third day in hospital after replacing four arteries, the surgeon, Dr Terrible Tertius (a term of endearment), ordered, yes, ordered, me to get my butt out of bed, grab a trolley with a nurse in tow, and take to the long ward passages. And walk. Evidently, the heart needs to pump like crazy to klap the new blood vessels.

Normally a sexy nurse does the trick without any walking involved. I’ve walked ever since. And bumped into all sorts. Nice people generally, but also the weirdos. Like the one who tells me there is an advantage of walking. “When I die, they’ll say, ‘well, he looks good, doesn’t he?’”

Or another who says walking adds minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 to spend an additional five months in a clinic at R10 000 per month. And, “I like long walks, especially when taken by people who annoy me”.

Then there are the roamers and lurkers who move off the path, making their way to a rose bush they spot in somebody’s garden. Or inspect the paving, shamelessly running their hands over it.

It’s free entertainment, removing the drudgery of walking on your lonesome and putting you in a happy frame of mind that’s surely good for your health.

Maybe I should try meditating. Look what Cyril’s has done for the country so far. Together with mine, we might see a complete makeover of hearts and minds.

Cliff Buchler.

Cliff Buchler.

 

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