As I slipped and slid over mounds of rocks today, he announced, “You know, walking over uneven surfaces is good for people our age.”
What the $%@*!
I was not feeling the joys of rocks and their slippery unevenness as I walked along the beach today. And “people our age,” what does that even mean?
Hmmpf! But I must admit, mounds of rocks do not keep me away from the beach. Even though I am a bit confounded by just why our beautiful sandy beach turns into a rock monster in the fall and winter.
Then I started noticing the different rock qualities. Does smaller gravelly rock count as an uneven surface? It is definitely easier to walk on, less slipping and sliding and maybe even a bit less sweating involved.
The larger rocks, ranging in from the size of my fist to the size of my foot, definitely create more unevenness and I find myself needing to concentrate on my footing to stay upright while trying not to turn an ankle or worse. They seem to roll and rumble, mini avalanches always a possibility. And while the photo doesn’t capture it well, they always seem to be piled up on a slant.
But then I started thinking about some non-beach rock experiences with much bigger rocks. In hiking terminology climbing up larger rocks is called scrambling (at least that is my understanding). My most vivid memory of this kind of climbing was on a hike in South Dakota a few summers ago where we scrambled to a peak with gorgeous views. It was not my favorite kind of hiking–lots of feeling like my feet were ready to skid out from under me. My solution was to lower my center of gravity and use my hands.
So just what exactly is supposed to be good about navigating over rocks or other uneven surfaces? I’m guessing this is about working on balance, building up the kinds of muscles that help with balance, maybe even developing confidence that traversing these surfaces is a possibility. Now I’m wondering, does this also apply to surfaces like snow and ice where footing is also sometimes in question? And is this physical activity also good for the brain where concentration and problem solving are needed, taking the automaticity that we take for granted on smooth surfaces?
Hmmm…more to ponder.