We took Mr. Carter to Walt Disney World for the first time last March. The original trip was planned for his fifth birthday, but COVID-19 forced us to change our plans several times, so he made his first trek to Orlando at seven years old. Prior to the journey I had hunkered down at home during the pandemic for two years.
I have been to Walt Disney World many times, both in my childhood and on Bert’s Big Adventure, and in all those visits I never had an issue getting around the parks. For those who have never been, these are big parks and challenge even the most fit to chase kids around in the Florida sun. However, I always seemed to manage.
This year was different. My feet hurt. My back hurt. When I’d get out of the hotel bed in the morning, I had to wobble a bit to get my rhythm going by the time I got to the bathroom. I’d wave Mr. Carter ahead of me at times in the park to catch up with his other mother so I could slow a bit. I had become an old lady at 52. I was frustrated and embarrassed, yet I pushed through the discomfort and made sure my son got the most out of his experience.
Yet, I couldn’t accept this seemingly sudden breakdown in my body. What had changed? I realized I used to get regular massages and had stopped during lockdown, so I immediately made an appointment.
“Were you in an accident?” the therapist asked.
When I responded that I had not, she expressed confusion as to why my lower back had locked up. She said that usually happens during something traumatic like an accident.
“I’ve just been sitting for two years,” was all I could come up with.
And that’s what did it, sitting. After more massage therapy, everything loosened up and my pain and awkward movement was gone. I wouldn’t consider myself athletic, but I have spent most of my life walking either during or after work and getting the aforementioned massages. The combination allowed my body to stay loose and kept it from feeling the effects of aging.
However, when the pandemic hit and I was forced to stay at home for so long, I wasn’t walking down a long hall to a public bathroom. I wasn’t consistently going to a break room or visiting the desks of colleagues throughout the day. I was sitting either at my desk or on the couch, never really moving for extended periods of time.
When we think of health and fitness, images of a gym or some puffed up body in very tight clothing comes to mind. Yet real health is far simpler than all that. It’s about not standing still. It’s about not lying down all day. It’s allowing your body to do what it was built to do: move around. So, whether you walk, jog, hike, or wheel around, being on the move in any capacity keeps you healthy.
We weren’t able to fly last spring, so Mr. Carter has asked us to go back to Disney for that opportunity. I can guarantee you this time I won’t be as uncomfortable and will keep pace with an eight-year-old.