We’re on the cusp of spring weather now and it’s time to start going outside. That makes it even easier to get your needed exercise.
… what? Is exercise a bad word? Does it make you feel ill like the taste of cough syrup? I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, just because the weather’s nice doesn’t mean I have to get up at 6am and take a 3 mile run before work!” And you’re right.
Exercise isn’t just something you go out to do and buy a whole second wardrobe for, and pay a membership fee to participate in. Exercise can and should be a part of your day to day life that reduces stress and pain. I plan to write several posts here sharing ways to incorporate more activity into your life as well as fun recreation to get yourself and your family outdoors but for today I have one simple message. Just walk.
We are lucky in the Cooper Young area to have a lot of options in walking distance of our homes. Growing up in the suburbs meant I could walk from my house to a lot of other houses and that was pretty much it unless I wanted to brave 2 miles in the grass next to a 2 lane road with no curb. Now I can get anything from fresh produce at Easy Way to 20 kinds of draft beer across the restaurants and bars in one mile of my home. Even walking to Overton Park I pass another perfectly good park.
You don’t have to walk just to be walking. I hate going out to walk or run and going in a big circle to end up where I started. It just feels dumb by the time I’m done so I don’t do it. Instead I look for opportunities to enjoy a small walk or jog when I need something. One soda, a few bananas, a drink after work. Things you need to do anyway and if you take the extra 10 minutes to walk then you get the relaxation of time to yourself instead of the frustration of traffic and parking.
Most of all I want you to realize the benefit of a small amount of walking. No pain no gain is far from true in this case. Many respected researchers have demonstrated, with proof, that walking lowers the chance of diseases ranging from heart problems to osteoporosis. One of the best (though long) summations of benefits can be found on the How Stuff Works website http://www.howstuffworks.com/benefits-of-walking.htm . A couple more examples are http://www.coolwalking.com/benefits.html and http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/walking/a2004-06-17-walking-numerousbenefits.html
Finally I want to share a quote from one of our most famous presidents. Thomas Jefferson was a truly learned man. He is known to have spent years of his life reading and researching for 8 hours out of the day in his personal pursuit of good knowledge (and running 4 miles a day as well). His summation of walking and its effects:
“Of all exercises walking is the best.” – Thomas Jefferson