Dr Stewart Hase - Psychologically Speaking

The warrior and the peacemaker: Ill walk you through it

I try to either walk or jog most days. Yes, I know, Have you ever seen a jogger smiling? But it keeps my GP happy, which means he doesnt nag me too much at my annual check-up. And it helps keep my weight down and lets me have a slice of pizza every year or so!

I travel a great deal so I jog and walk in all sorts of interesting places and have favourite courses along beaches, alongside rivers, around parks and headlands, across paddocks (fields in the UK), and through woods and forests. There are some truly wonderful places to walk and run in the world. Mostly I try and find places that are quiet and enjoy the solitude of being in my own mind. Sometimes I dont think about anything at all. Men can do that. Women often ask their silent men what they are thinking. The reply is usually, Nuthin. She says, No, come on. Tell me what youre thinking. The response is the same, Im not thinking anything. This can lead to an argument. But women need to understand that men can in fact think of nothing at all. Complete absence of the firing of the neurons except for those needed to keep breathing and maintain consciousness. And women? No, theyre thinking all the time and we blokes just cant keep up.

Sometimes, however, I do exercise in places where all manner of the young, old and the restless pound the pavement. I have observed that women who are walking or running together are nearly always talking. It is not unusual to be nearly run over by these chattering speedsters, so engrossed are they in their conversation. Not only does this prove that women can multitask but that they have a lot going on in their minds that they need to share with someone else, and in a hurry. The exercise for them is probably as much about socialising as it is about keeping fit and maintaining curves in the right places.

Men, while they run or walk, are warriors. Quiet and intense; drawn inward by some primitive drive that is based in the hunt, the need to track down the prey; focused. Occasionally youll hear a phrase or two and a grunt in reply but rarely that animated chatter you hear amongst women on the move.

This apparently innocuous difference between men and women can create some interesting problems in relationships. For example, when my spouse gets home from work and has a problem to discuss, we sit down on the deck outside with a whisky in hand. She starts to talk. After about three sentences I, being a bloke, jump in with some solutions, smile with self-satisfaction, rub my hands together and ask what we are going to cook for tea. But she wants to talk more; lots more. When I get home with a problem I will define it in about three sentences. She sits there waiting for more, while I gaze at her waiting in anticipation for answers.

Women need to talk about things and men are driven towards solutions. Vive la difference! But understanding the difference and modifying our behaviour in response can really help prevent strife. And more peaceful exercising!

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