I’m a walkaholic and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve always enjoyed my morning walk but now it’s become an addiction. If I miss it, I feel weird, like I’m out-of-whack. Walking makes me feel good and I’m not about to stop. For a while, I was doing about 5 miles a day but even a stroll around the block makes a huge difference.
I walk for a variety of reasons, so I thought I’d list them to possibly inspire you to take it up yourself if you’re not already doing it.
1. My morning walk makes me feel good
In a previous post, I mentioned a book called No Sweat by Michelle Segar Ph.D. She states that exercising for health or to lose weight can make you feel frustrated if you fail or you think of it as medicine. Instead, do it because it gives you joy.
I love exploring my neighborhood, looking at houses, birds, people, clouds, feeling the sunshine on my face, the wind in my hair. . .
2. It gives me a sense of accomplishment
I wear a fitness tracker to keep myself accountable and because I like to compete with myself. If I set a goal to reach a certain number of steps per day and accomplish it on a regular basis it’s satisfying. That discipline translates to other aspects of my life. I like to get things done on time and reach goals.
3. It reduces my stress
When I’m breathing in the fresh air on my morning walk, and taking time to think without distractions it’s the best way I can think of to relieve stress. If someone or something has made me angry, I feel calmer after walking a couple of miles. It sure beats banging my head against the wall or holding in my frustration until it causes me to become ill.
4. It’s my creative space
I don’t listen to music or an audiobook when I walk. I like to infuse myself with the atmosphere. Plus, I want to make sure I don’t get hit by a speeding car or some klutz on a bike. If you don’t pay attention you can get hurt. Instead, I let my imagination fly. Ideas for blog posts come to me like magic. They just show up in my head.
When I’m home working in my office I get distracted by phone calls, emails, or my roommate asking me where he put his keys. I need that alone time to get my thoughts together and create.
5. My breathing and overall wellness improves
One of the benefits of walking is that it clears your respiratory system making it easier to breathe. This happens even if you take a gentle walk. Your walking rhythm works your lungs naturally and opens your airways. There’s nothing scarier when you’re over 50 than shortness of breath. Walking lowers your blood pressure, strengthens your heart and helps you stay flexible.
6. It keeps arthritis at bay
Ever since I started walking regularly, I rarely feel stiff. As a writer, I sit too much and that can be dangerous especially as you get older. Now I feel like a well-oiled machine without the aches and pains.
7. Walking is relatively safe
The last thing I want to do is hurt myself, so I avoid exercises that could possibly make me disabled. Walking is what we were born to do. I ran when I was in my 40’s and it was great, but I don’t want to go through a knee or hip replacement if I don’t have to.
Admittedly, I’ve occasionally been a klutz and tripped on a sidewalk crack but have been able to catch myself. I guess that “step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back” quote rings true now that we’re old enough to be grandparents. So I try to focus on lifting my feet up and watch where I’m stepping because there are tons of cracks on the sidewalk where I live. (in Earthquake country)
Below are my tips for taking a morning walk (or anytime walk) successfully
- It helps that I live in a moderate climate and can walk outside almost every day. If taking a morning walk means going out in zero degrees you can always purchase a treadmill, stroll around an indoor mall, or walk back and forth across your living room.
- Wear good shoes that are comfortable and don’t hurt your feet. I like shoes that let my feet breathe and give me support. One of these days, I’ll get some orthotics because my feet turn in, or so I’ve been told. If it’s wet and slippery outside make sure your shoes have a good tread, so you won’t fall on your keister.
- I ALWAYS carry a small shoulder pouch with a reusable water bottle inside. I never leave the house without water. I also carry a credit card in case I want to take a break at a nearby coffeehouse and my phone in case of an emergency or if I want to take an Instagram photo. You never know what you may see or who you’ll meet on a walk.
- You can work out your arms while you walk by swinging them in various directions. (palms up, sideways, up and down, behind you) If you don’t want to carry lightweights, do more repetitions.
- Stretch and do squats at stoplights while you’re waiting for the light to turn. (at least that’s what we city folks do)
I love to take photos when I go for a walk
The photos below are from a bike path that begins in the Art District in North Hollywood, California, (NOHO) and continues into Burbank. It has a conjoining bike path with a pedestrian lane so there are fewer streets to cross and less chance of tripping on cracks. Enjoy the colorful pictures I took on my morning walk and if you like them, please share them on Pinterest.
Click on these NOHO street art images to view full-size in a gallery
Do you go for a morning walk? How often do you do it and what’s your favorite time of day? Please leave a comment below.