As mentioned in my last post, a love of walking has been re-awakened in me these last few weeks.
Daily walks, exploring the area around us, has become a wonderful habit.
I have always enjoyed going for a walk. When we used to have a dog, a daily walk – sometimes two – was a necessity. The dog needed exercise, but it was also a joyful experience. Everyone knows the pure joy of a dog when you head out the door with a leash in hand. It was often therapeutic after a hard day at work to head out with a “smiling” dog, whatever the weather.
We continue to enjoy walking even without a dog, and recently it is my means of transportation, so I am doing it a lot. It has become a lifestyle change, an adjustment of a mindset.
They say 10,000 steps a day is healthy and I do believe walking remains a great form of exercise. I know you will tell me the warm weather helps…and it does. But even in the winter months at home, with the sun shining and the crunch of the snow underfoot, a walk provides a physical and mental boost.
The physical benefits are obvious – it may not be the same as the training of a bodybuilder or a triathlete, but it is keeping me in shape.
I have reflected on the mental benefits, and here are a few I feel:
When walking, I practice keeping my head up and appreciating my surroundings. I do my best not to spend my walk thinking about things that are stressful, or planning, or worrying.
I also do my best not to worry about time – how long is it taking, what time will I be done, what do I need to do when I’m done. I focus on enjoying the walk.
I don’t have a cell phone so that helps with the previous two points – there are no electronic distractions when we’re out for a walk. A pet peeve from my gym-going days were people checking their cell phones in the middle of gym class. But I digress.
I look around and appreciate the flowers, trees and birds I see along the way. There are so many and I love admiring them.
In the heart of the city, I notice the sights, sounds and smells – some of them good, some of them bad, like any city! There’s always a lot of activity and new things to discover.
I notice and acknowledge the people we meet while out walking. We always say hello and have met a lot of people this way (many of whom are helping us learn Spanish, a side benefit!)
Walking has gone a long way to understanding how to get around! In a new city, or even in a familiar one, walking is a great way to get to know your surroundings, your area, and how to get around, as well as explore new sights.
Walking is a great way to connect with your walk-mate. My husband and I have covered a lot of ground together this last while. We get to visit, hold hands, share what we see…all without a cell phone, computer or iPad in front of us. We are connected to each other and our surroundings.
Do you have any others? The benefits are endless, so get out and enjoy a walk today!