The Secret: I, however, have found the secret of why my fellow walkers continue outside no matter the weather conditions. Sanity, well-being, and better mental health come to mind as I get ready to put on my rain coat and boots.
A Life Habit: When I think about it, I have been walking since I was a young girl. It helped me to escape the alcoholism, anger and sadness in my home. I felt like I couldn’t breathe in the house and outside there was wonderful air. I tried not to be aware in the house when things weren’t going well. Outside I was aware of everything! It was a way of connecting with beauty and nature and in those walks I found such gratitude for being alive.
Later I found walking as a step toward sanity and quiet when I raised my three boys on my own. Getting away then was not as easy and there were many days a walk was not always going to happen as three little boys needed me. Once again the air outside was invigorating and gave me energy to face another day.
As I began my business and pursued more college degrees, walking kept me centered and on track, reminding me that self-care was a responsibility I must keep daily. It helped to give me energy for facing exams, long hours, and the pressures of single parenting.
After the children were raised and the house seemed alone and quiet, I walked daily with the reminder that physical movement was vital, and my thinking became clearer with each step. I could still find the joy and gratitude that surrounded me in nature.
The Benefits: Today, walking does so many more things for me than it has in the past . I wanted to share with you, dear reader, what benefits I get from heading out into the rain, snow, sleet or hail every single day:
- Better sleep
- Clear thinking
- Normal cholesterol and blood pressure
- Better attitude
- Tension relief
- Less aches and pains
- More motivation
- Increased energy
My physician recently told me “Sherry, you are growing up very well.” I knew what she meant when all my numbers were in the “normal” range. She recently gave me an EKG as a routine part of my health records and said my heart was perfect. So there is one more thing walking does for me: heart health!
Heart health is both physical and emotional. Physically, my numbers were normal but in terms of the emotional – love coming from my heart – that can only be measured in the way I love others and stay focused on love and gratitude.
I am continually reminded of the anger, selfishness, and sinful world we are each exposed to on a daily basis. I can’t change a lot of circumstances, but I can change my attitude and quiet the demons in my head.
I commit to loving as Jesus did. This is not always an easy task, but I am called to do this as in the Gospel (John 13:34) where Jesus asks us to love others even as he loved us. I want to challenge you to head outside for a daily walk of 30 minutes minimum. Break it up into two segments of 15 minutes if that makes it easier. I guarantee your heart will love you for it!
Blessings and good health to you,