Walking is my therapy, it is my church.
Not running, walking. I hate running but walking I can do.
The concept that walking is fun was first introduced to me years ago by one of my closest friends today. I was facing some personal struggles, particularly with my confidence. I had my first run-in with asshole employers, who for political reasons made my position obsolete. Having never lost a job before, I was left feeling heartbroken and blindsided. More than anything I was angry. I was angry for the hours, focus and passion I had put into my job. I could have spent that time with my family. I was also angry at my own naivety, as I did not see their actions coming. I have always been a little naive, especially in assuming only good intentions of others.
There was the most gorgeous, confident woman working at the same resort at the time, in the real estate office. I barely knew her, but from a distance I adored her. Honestly, I would see her across the property and admire her natural beauty and stance. Nancy appeared friendly, she always looked amazing, she wore the most beautiful smile, and she appeared to be in killer shape. Once the word got out about my circumstance, and how distraught I was she seemed to take an interest in little me. She basically came into my life at a very vulnerable time, I needed a friend, and she was determined to get me back on my feet. We quickly became close friends and confidants, and today I consider her family. She practically forced me to recover mentally, and I will always love her for that. She would show up at my house early morning, coffees in hand, telling me to hurry up, wash my face, put on a bra, and grab the dogs. This is how it started, both my love for her and my love for walking.
Looking back on that time now, I’m actually grateful that I lost my job. It was the beginning of our long, loving, loyal friendship. It was also the time I was taught to love myself, that I was good enough, and that no career title would ever define me again. These are some of the many important lessons I learned while we walked.
This strong, beautiful woman’s confidence started rubbing off on me. Every day we walked, I became stronger, both mentally and physically. She appeared to be in killer shape because she was. A walk with her was never on a flat surface and easy sailing. We would trek through the desert, by the canal, in the woods, up mountains, through the lake, you name it, we did it. We’d run into rattlers, bears, coyotes, bulls, eagles, owls, swarms of mayflies, ticks, rodents, dead animal carcasses and hunters, there was never a dull moment, it was always an adventure. During our walking sessions we would laugh a lot, and sometimes we would cry. It was a chance for us to vent, regroup and support each other. She would push me to my limits both physically and mentally, and remarkably, I began to crave it more and more. On every walk, I was already anticipating the next one.
It was on one of our walks that Nancy introduced me to another one my dearest friends today, Pam. Pam, is a beautiful, caring, hardworking mama, who is funnier than shit! I am so grateful to have her as a friend. See, walking has given me so much.
Now, in a new town, it is my son who I mainly walk with. I shared my secret therapy with him years ago, wanting him to reap all the benefits too. He gets it, he is always willing and ready to go for a walk, it helps with his anxiety. Sometimes our walks are silent steps but most of the time they are full of gab. It has been on our walks that we have had some of our most meaningful conversations, debates, and life lessons. I wanted to pay the gift of walking forward to my son as Nancy did for me.
My husband and daughter avoid walking at all costs. Walking to the end of the driveway sounds exhausting and completely unnecessary. For me, happiness is inhaling fresh air, exerting some energy, and having the time to clear my head. Walking regularly also helps me justify my Doritos addiction. It is recommended that we exercise at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. A walk might be the perfect exercise solution for you, just make sure it is a brisk walk. The effects will quickly begin to accumulate, and you will start noticing the positive benefits. If motivation is a weakness, start small and create future goals. By continuously upping your game you will be walking for 30 minutes in no time. Having a walking companion(s) helped me stay motivated and quickly increased my endurance. When you are having fun and are surrounded by great company, you will never focus on the distance, you’ll just keep going. Walking is simply a wonderful way to keep you happier and healthier. There are so many proven benefits to walking, check some out below. Think of me when you are out walking and smiling to yourself as I do. It will make you feel better on the inside and out, you will see.
Mental Health Benefits:
increases blood circulation to the brain
increases sleep quality
promotes cognitive function
improves social interaction
increases sex drive
lowers blood pressure
reduces the risk of coronary disease and stroke
reduces cholesterol levels
increases bone density
improves leg circulation
can relieve back pain
assists in gut health
assists in modifying weight
improves overall general health