Crossing great distances by foot was never something that caused anxiety for me growing up. I started running cross country in junior high school and would easily run five or ten miles in an afternoon.
I ran cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and spring track in the spring. During the summer, I ran an average of about seventy miles a week to stay in shape. I was co-captain of the Men’s track team and held the school record in the hurdles.
My enthusiasm for running waned after injuring my knee. I found myself running less and looking for other outlets for staying active. I would occasionally still run, running the Peachtree Road Race on and off from 1980.
The last time I ran that race, I was 48 years old. That was four years ago. It was one of the most difficult things I had ever done finishing the race that year. It wasn’t that I was out of shape, but it was the first time I really felt as if my body were telling me it had enough.
My bones and joints hurt. It was as if there was no lubrication in all of my joints. I could feel my bones rubbing against one another in my sockets.
It was at that point that I started thinking that there must be an easier way to stay active without creating so much stress on my bones and joints. Walking became a very real and viable alternative.
I had always loved to hike local trails and walking didn’t shock my legs and skeletal system the same way running did. My wife and I began destination walking. We might walk to the grocery store or walk to the post office. Sometimes we’d just go out to walk the dog and found ourselves walking several miles.
We’d start off going to one destination and then once we arrived, we’d declare a new one. Although spontaneous and fun, these walks would usually leave me with blisters. This is because, I would go out in flip flops or beach slides expecting a brief walk and come back several hours later with aching feet.
Shoes are so important and make for happy feet. Now I try to make sure I have on good walking shoes when going out for walks.
I bought my wife a pedometer. She is so funny with that pedometer. She is always counting steps. She won’t go anywhere without it. If
we’re about to go for a walk, and she realizes that she left it upstairs, she’ll ask me to retrieve it. This is because she feels her steps don’t count unless she’s wearing the pedometer.
Walking with a friend is a great way to spend an evening, a great way to catch up on what’s going on and a great way to stay healthy.