What are friends for

My twentysomething son is into the third year of his occupational therapy degree.  He recently completed a Mental Health first aid course at uni.  He was struck how important it is for people to know there’s someone there and particularly interested in making a difference in the area of men’s health.  Now that he has Kovu (the chocolate lab) he walks every day.  He lives close to university, so he walks there too.  He also works out at the gym.  I’m impressed.  The only exercise he ever did before was walk from computer to fridge and back.  His greeting is still, “what’s to eat?” as soon as he walks in the door.  I’m okay with that.

Like his father, he doesn’t drink at all, but his friends do.  He noticed between drinking, gaming and a sedentary IT work life, his friends were gaining weight.  Without commenting about their lifestyle, he started up a walking group for a few of his mates.  Much to his surprise they enjoyed the first walk with Kovu leading the way.  The group grew larger.  Other young men on the fringes of the group wanted to join in.  The young men now go to various walking trails and parks around the metro area.  He and his friends are looking trimmer.  Importantly, he tells me, they talk about all kinds of things when they are walking.  They stop and take photographs.  They stop and examine nature.   All this from a screen device fixated generation.  To say I’m dumbfounded is an understatement.

When my son was younger I would wear one of those step counters and try to complete my 10,000 steps a day.  He was spending too much time playing video games so I would pay him $1 for every kilometre he walked with me.  The kid nearly killed me!  He wanted me to exercise all the time.  I ended up putting a cap on the weekly earnings!

I was recently at a workshop where the presenter, an American academic, talked about the pros and cons of anti-depressants and the current thinking about the role of walking and exercise in the treatment of depression.  I’ll exercise caution about my thoughts on this but there is a side to me that shouts, “Yay! at last” this literature has found a place in the mainstream.

I don’t like company when I walk.  I prefer silence.  I often close my eyes and ‘walk’ through the south west big timber forests for just a few minutes.  It makes me tingle.  It may not be physical exercise but it is exercise for the mind.  We need that too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


5 thoughts on “What are friends for”

  1. Wow. I am so impressed with your son. Walking is such an inclusive activity, and who can resist the power of a cute dog. He and his walking partners must be feeling so much better, physically and mentally.

    Walking and mental health are the reasons I took up the Pokemon Go with my son. He was not in a good way but we went out together. We don’t play so much now. I prefer to walk in the bush. Catching sight of the elusive birds has its own mental health rewards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So was I lol! He visits me often when I’m home and is such a sponge. It’s good to know he’s action oriented.

      I agree with you on the bush walks. I’ve never experienced such joy in simple things before.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How wonderful of your son to initiate an exercise group! Bravo for him!
    I just read an article about how emotional pain/depression might function similarly to physical pain by telling us we need to step back to heal. The rush to medicate disrupts the healing process. There may be something to this. Obviously, there are severe mental illnesses that need meds, but the everyday ups and downs might just be there for our personal growth.


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