Thursday 22 August 2019

Rachel Dugan: 'Why run if you can go for 'walkies'?'


'In our house, “walkies” is now everyone’s favourite word, and we find any excuse to go places on two (or rather four) legs' (stock photo)
'In our house, “walkies” is now everyone’s favourite word, and we find any excuse to go places on two (or rather four) legs' (stock photo)

Rachel Dugan

For as long as I can remember, I've never been that interested in walking.

"If you want to get somewhere, why not just run so you get there faster," my pre-teen self would wonder out loud when my sprint to the local shop was met with quizzical looks.

When I got older, I stopped the stare-inducing sprints but retained my allergy. "Walk? Nooooooooooo. Can't we just drive?" my teenage self would drawl whenever my parents suggested we go anywhere on foot.

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Sometimes they would resort to semantics in a bid to induce me outside. It wasn't a walk, it was a hike. Or a ramble. Or even an adventure. I was rarely fooled.

While I no longer digress into an adolescent moan every time I have to walk somewhere, I have retained my suspicion into adulthood. I can't help but feel walking is a bit of a mug's game, one of the most boring and inefficient ways of getting from A to B that mankind has been fooled into adopting as our default mode of transport.

However, since we got the dog, things have changed.

In our house, "walkies" is now everyone's favourite word, and we find any excuse to go places on two (or rather four) legs. We've even - shock, horror - driven to an entirely different county simply to park up and walk around. My teenage self would be deeply horrified.

But according to a new study, dog-owners like us are reaping the health benefits of our pooches' love of the great outdoors and are four times more likely to meet the guidelines for physical activity than our pet-free peers.

The people behind the UK-based study have bizarrely felt the need to warn people that getting a four-legged friend is not the next big thing in fitness, like aqua aerobics or competitive spinning.

"A dog is not a tool just to make us more physically active," the academic who led the study helpfully pointed out.

I suspect people are unlikely to rush out and buy a dog in lieu of a Fitbit. But if they do, they should remember that a puppy is for life, not just the duration of your latest heath kick.

One thing you can't argue with, though, is that they really do turn a boring walk into a real adventure.

'Love Island' romantic - if you close your eyes

I'm watching 'Love Island'. Before I continue, let's get the formalities out of the way. Yes, I know it's misogynistic, vacuous nonsense. If 'Love Island' was a drink, it would be a luminous alco-pop, and I am most definitely a pinot noir girl.

It is the televisual equivalent of a dirty doner kebab on the way home on a Saturday night. And in this golden age of television, how can I justify bingeing on meat of suspect origin when there's such a smorgasboard of fare on every evening that is much better for the body, brain and soul?

But, you see, 'Love Island' (when you strip away all the many, many layers of fake tan; when you ignore the proliferation of dental-floss bikinis and the fact most of the men look like bronzed beefy pitbulls pumped full of steroids; when you forget about the fact it's not a partner they're all there to find but a lucrative endorsement deal or at least a paid appearance on some late-night Channel 4 panel show) is really a show about the most human of emotions.

Beamed into our homes from a luxury villa in the Mallorcan countryside, these are essentially familiar, universal stories we can all relate to.

Boy meets girl, girl kinda likes boy but then mugs him off when a new hottie moves in only to find her advances spurned when he decides to couple up with a rival Instagrammer.

You see? Truly, a tale as old as time...

Irish Independent

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