Happy talk

What a foot injury has taught me about the art of slowing down

It’s easy to get caught up in the pace of modern life, to the point that only unforeseen circumstances can force us to stop. But, says Christine Manby, a compulsory break can be a blessing in disguise

Sunday 16 June 2019 15:00 BST
You can’t help but be mindful when you have to move at a fraction of your usual speed
You can’t help but be mindful when you have to move at a fraction of your usual speed

Isn’t it annoying when all those aphorisms the grown-ups used to spout at you when you were a child turn out to be bang on? Like “a fool and his money are easily parted”, which is especially pertinent in the wellness realm, or “more haste less speed”, which is the lesson I learned courtesy of the joints in my right foot last weekend.

The pain came on out of nowhere. One minute I was sashaying up the Kings Road pretending I was still 22, despite the fact that I’d just bought a pair of jeans at Marks and Spencer. The next, I had aged two and a half decades and I could barely put my right foot on the floor. It was as though a horse had trodden on my instep.

I limped home and collapsed onto the sofa, thinking I just needed to stay off my foot for a bit. I must have overdone it, though I couldn’t think when. I have been planning to do El Camino but I haven’t stepped up the walking yet. That said, in 2014 Professor Brian Clark at Ohio University discovered that merely imagining muscular contractions can have a positive effect on muscle tone. It stands to reason therefore that I might have imagined myself to a long-distance walking injury. Whatever, I draped a bag of frozen peas over my forefoot and hoped it would be better in the morning.

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