Compared with all the “flash” exercises of late that are so trendy (quick workouts that are all the rage), walking may seem like the shy family member nobody notices.
It’s true: walking by yourself can be utterly boring. But in reality it is probably one of the best low-impact activities you can do for your body. The Buddhists like to call it walking meditation when it’s really slowed and reflective, but you can also pick up your pace and walk with a friend and feel an ensuing ebullience after you finish.
Aim for an hour and find a safe nature loop, widening your stride or speeding your pace for some variation. If you must, you can hit the treadmill and use the ramp increments to build muscle as well, but why not leave the dreary indoors and meander like Socrates?
Even the art of flânerie, strolling with no purpose, is considered exercise, and there’s something about gazing at store windows and thumbing through used books that is alluring. Whether you are a flâneur wanting to meander, a Buddhist in walking meditation or a power walker aiming to increase your heart rate on hiking trails, you will find walking efficacious no matter how fast or how slow it is.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Come to think of it, forget the monotonous treadmill and go outside where you will have a much more sensory experience anyway.
In other words you don’t see bluebirds flit while you’re on a treadmill. Go out walkin’ after midnight. Patsy Cline did it. You can too. If you don’t like walking in the dark, at least listen to Thomas Jefferson and walk very far.
By Mark Damon Puckett