December 3, 2007

Walking in Inclement Weather

New York is currently under a wind advisory, and I can attest that conditions are not ideal for a stroll in the park. I've been out walking anyway, just because I needed to get out, and I took the dogs with me, because they had their own reasons for getting out. The effort seemed thrilling for the first ten minutes, but then the walk turned frightful. The wind was gusting to 50 mph, and I thought my terrier was going to rise in the air like a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. We turned around and walked home.

I like to walk every day, but when bad weather arrives, I find little pleasure in the alternative of walking on a treadmill in a gym. I'm a flâneur, not an athlete, and so I need the intellectual stimulation of the street more than I need to watch myself in the gym mirror walking nowhere and squirting water in my mouth from a sports drink bottle.

I don't like to let inclement weather stop me from walking, so I will bundle up in a parka that makes me look like the Michelin Man and then head out into the elements. Walking in inclement weather allows me to pursue my flâneur agenda, but I can actually burn more calories under rough conditions. After a walk in the snow or wind, I may feel exhausted, but at least I will have seen the windows on Fifth Avenue or the comforting fireplace at a cozy West Village café.

I'm not stupid, though. I always bring extra money for a cab.

Image: WOTBA upended at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North while walking in the brisk breeze blowing in from the west.

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