Walking as a way of life

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walking as a healthy lifestyle habit

Part of living a healthy lifestyle is thinking about the big picture of your life and what you want to feel like when you are older. Activity plays a big part in helping alleviate daily stresses and exercises muscles that want to be moved. I’m not an expert in all things fitness, by any stretch of the imagination, but part of 2011 for me was learning to listen to what my body was telling me. This time of year sees a rise in gym memberships and renewed vows to become active in hopes that these vows become lifelong.

At one point and time, I found running exhilarating and the kind of clarity it provided really helped distill my thoughts. Move into the recent past, and running had become a form of drudgery. Part of staying active in developing healthy lifestyle habits is finding something you love and then doing it consistently. Thus, you will find me running when someone is chasing me or perhaps when I’m craving a run.

In college, one of the residents in my dormitory was a very successful distant runner. He would sometimes decide to run his races barefoot at the last minute, given the terrain and course for the cross country team. These would be races he would win and ever so blithely shrug off the medals. His closet boasted a ridiculous number of running shoes for a variety of circumstances. He poked fun and would admonish me or anyone he saw using the elevator instead of taking the stairs.

“You have feet to walk! Use them.”

Walking and I have been friends for a long time. I like to walk and find that this simple and often overlooked part of our daily lives creates so many opportunities for enrichment. Often, my walking excursions have occurred after-work, but I’m trying something new this year. Well into January 2012, I’m spending the greater part of my lunch break walking all around the neighborhood. This small act gets me away from the computer for a brief time, letting my eyes and fingers take a break. It encourages me to drink in the natural Vitamin D of the sunlight filtering down from the oft-sunny San Francisco sky (the fog typically burns off by lunch).

From a creative standpoint, I get a chance to reconnect with the environs and people around me. This midday break lets me stop and listen to the wild parrots flit from tree to tree or visit the farmer’s market on Thursdays. Some days, I’ve spent walking with a friend and having stimulating conversation. Other days are spent walking alone and in silence- these jaunts are great observational tours. For more mind candy days, I tune in and catch up on some podcasts that inspire me.

Walking is something most of us take for granted. Step by step, it gets us where we need to go and makes life more enjoyable. It is something that when I’m old, I will still look forward to keeping deeply woven into the framework of my days. For today, it means a bite sized adventure and break.

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Annelies

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