Living Different

Put on Your Tennis Shoes and Call Me In the Morning: Walking as Medicine

the_other_path_walking_as_medicine copy

“I will tell you what I have learned myself.  For me, a long five or six mile walk helps.  And one must go alone and every day.”

Author Brenda Ueland as found via Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way

Walking has become a necessity for me, only I didn’t know it until the days added up that I was not able to walk.  Usually this was when it was over 100 degrees or I was too busy with a paying job.  Then I realized how important the act of a good, hour long walk is in my life.  Not simply for vanity’s sake or my heart’s health.  Walking helps my mind.  It puts things in categories.  It helps with depression and anxiety.  Walking is medicine.

My favorite times to walk are in the early a.m. or at sunset somewhere in nature and somewhere remote.  Not only is it beautiful outside (weather permitting), but there is something almost magical in the air.

“Are you one of those powerwalkers?  Man, those girls kick ass!”

Real quote I’ve overheard from someone in daily life

(Watch the video here)

I’ve encountered life-affirming things and dangerous things while walking.  The great things include:

Resolutions to problems
Intuitive insights

“I see you walking all the time. I think you have many problems.” 

Real quote I’ve overheard from someone in daily life

The strangers things that have happened while walking include:

Barking coyotes/packs of coyotes
Being flashed by a stranger
Stumbling upon a potential drug deal
Being chased by wayward dogs

I remember meeting a woman several years back who told me she and a friend used to do laps around the park “Not these days” she added with a sigh “I don’t have the time.”

I used this reason myself and my life has paid the price.  Now days, if I cannot walk, my whole day is off.

“I’d only start walking if I could drink wine while I was doing it.”

Real quote I’ve overheard from someone in daily life

When I worked  a full time job and went to college in the evenings, the most effective time to walk was in the early morning after I’d gulped a huge cup of coffee.  I would feverishly push myself out the door, knowing I had a small window of time to make my day better.  I could always find all sorts of reasons to stall my way out the door.

I’ll never forget walking early morning (California time) on September 11, 2001 and listening to the radio around 6:00 a.m.  What I heard on my speakers sounded like some type of radio show – a re-enactment of some horror.  I had no idea that what I heard was real and that the world would be forever changed.

Walking with a friend is fun.  Walking alone is therapy.  I can go for a walk in a bad mood and return a little more settled.  I can leave for a walk in a wonderful mood and return in a semi-meditative state.

Whatever tactic, trick, or discipline works for you, to get those shoes on and open that front door is the point.  Whatever measure you take, the benefits outweigh the procrastination and frustration of that first mile; the rest is mind-altering.

“I hate exercise.”

Real quote I’ve overheard from someone in daily life

Some of my tricks to get me walking include:

Using a walk as a method to save gas en-route to the post office or store
Allowing myself to go for just a 15 minute walk (which later turns into an hour once I get going)
Choosing a route with a beautiful house that I enjoy looking at
Walking to my favorite thrift shop with the most interesting people

In the end, if walking is like medicine for you, too, defend it’s time slot as you would a best friend who has been falsely accused of wrongdoing.  If you end up taking care of everyone in life except yourself, use this as a way to say ‘no more – it’s my time.’  Trust me.  You’ll feel a little twinge of revenge and it’s a healthy activity that’s not hurting anyone.

“How come you walk so much?  I thought you were meditating.” 

Real quote I’ve overheard from someone in daily life

Trailer for the film ‘Walking to Werner‘ about a young filmmaker who walks from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA to meet film director Werner Herzog

“Most days you should meditate 45 minutes.  On the days you don’t have time to meditate, you should double this time” 

Real quote I’ve overheard from someone in daily life Youtube Inspiring Videos

Watch more videos from on Youtube


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This entry was posted on June 24, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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