Oh, The Places I have walked!
Like most Americans, my enthusiasm for the countless exercise fads that appear regularly has had its highs and lows. I have been active my whole life which is not to say that I have exercised my whole life.
As I tried and abandoned different exercise regimes the one exercise that I have consistently enjoyed is walking. I have tried jogging, aerobics and step classes. I have bounced on trampolines, biked both indoors and outdoors. I have been a swimmer, golfer and tennis player. In an effort to find my inner self I have attended yoga and Pilates classes.
It is not that I am uncoordinated; it is that I get bored easily and I am very averse to working through the “pain”. Let’s face it swimming lap after lap staring at the black lines painted on the bottom of a pool gets boring after about 50 yards. You have to admit, if any part of your body hurts at the start of a jog it is going to hurt more at the end.
Walking is something you can do any time and any place. I have walked off sadness, stress, anger, depression and frustration.
I have been plagued off and on with sore discs in my neck and the one activity that always helps alleviate the pain is walking.
Of course exercise does not mean you can’t do two aerobic activities in one day. You can walk in the morning and still play tennis on Sunday afternoons. Walking is an activity you can do when you don’t have the time or energy to do something else.
You can walk around the mall and dream about what you would buy, if only you could. You can keep from actually stopping in stores and making purchases by telling yourself that you need to keep moving to keep your heart rate up.
By walking through my neighborhood, I now know when different varieties of flowers are in bloom, when the leaves are turning on the trees and which birds are visiting my area. I also notice when I have new neighbors and when old neighbors spruce up their homes. I have met wonderful new friends on my walks.
I have walked with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, hiked between the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre in Italy, walked through Las Ramblas in Barcelona, braced myself against the winds while walking along the coast of Brittany in France and strained to see through the fog on walks in Nova Scotia. I have walked miles through the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Chicago, Seattle and New York City. I have walked on beaches from Newfoundland to Florida, and through forests from California to Georgia and many places in between.
So put on a pair of comfortable shoes and get walking. That is all you need to get started.