Walk it off

7 06 2010

A step in the right direction.

I’ve been walking for my health off and on for a few years now and I have to say, it’s not as boring as I thought it would be. I mean, if you’ve read my post on driving, you already know I’m never alone (at least not in my head). Add to this the MP3 player, the GPS unit, my camera and voice recorder and my note pad and pen, it’s really a wonder I get any walking done.

The passionate pace …

Lately I’ve become passionate about this endeavour. Not so long ago my back became a target for chronic pain. My doctor took me off my bicycle and said to stay off of it until my back felt strong enough. I’m happy to say that I’m back on board my bike, but walking is what put me there. I didn’t bicycle enough for it to be a benefit to my health. My back hurt not from the bicycle but from being weak. Walking strengthened my back and now I have my choice of exercises.

Tough choice!

Now I have to decide every day which exercise to avail myself of. Walking is less calories burned per hour, but better for my back. It also provides a fertile environment for my mind to wander around. Seeds of ideas can be planted and grow while I pace along. Biking burns more calories out of my system and I see more countryside and I am able to think at the same time, but it is more distracting so ideas can be left behind, lost on the trail, never to be heard from again. It’s also not as easy to stop and photograph things or make notes and listening to my MP3 player on the bike is not safe, so I don’t.

I wish all my choices were like this, an embarrassment of riches so to speak. Last week, on my bike I saw a raccoon, two Canada Geese, another family of five Canada geese (the male tried to attack me to protect the young) two snakes, a black squirrel and a Moss Back Turtle whose shell was at least twelve inches across. While walking, a couple of days later, I found a patch of Giant Hogweed, heard, and subsequently spotted a Baltimore Oriole, saw a cluster of American Gold Finches, listened to some David Bowie and some Dido and planned this post.

Time on my hands

I once thought that walking or biking would take up too much of my already thinly stretched allotment of time. In setting aside an hour each day for walking or biking and sticking to it for a while now, I’ve come to realize that I’m not losing this time. In fact, I’m wondering whether or not I’m losing the other 23 hours, flying through them in a hazy blur. While walking or biking I’m suddenly forced to pay attention to the moment, talk with myself, meditate and ruminate, be in the moment. I’m still the same ditsy blond guy I always was, (oops, under the gray. oops, when I have hair) but I’m a healthy and somewhat more relaxed ditsy blond/gray/bald guy.

Bonus round …

The benefits of walking and biking are obvious, increased lung capacity, stronger heart, better muscle tone, healthier, happier and in less pain (remember my back?). In addition to all these benefits, both walking and riding help me take off the weight I put on to keep me warm in the winter. So I guess I’m hooked. How can I lose anything but pounds?




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