benefits of walking


Walking with Gratitude
by Joyce Moseley Pierce

During this season of gratitude and thanksgiving, I wanted to write about something we do every day with very little thought. Something we’ve been doing since we were very small. Most of us did it before we even talked. I’m talking about walking.

The way I see it, there are basically four reasons we walk:

1. Travel – To get from one place to another. We don’t even think about getting up each morning and walking from our bed to the bathroom, but I watched my elderly grandmother as an invalid for many years and gained an appreciation for my ability to get up and go wherever I wanted without help from anyone else.

2. Pleasure – I remember taking walks with my grandfather and my dad as a child, and that tradition has continued with my own grandkids.  When the grandkids come to visit, they love to walk down to the lake in our neighborhood to feed the ducks. Part of the enjoyment, I believe, is just being away from everyone else. We walk, we talk, and we just enjoy one another’s company. When I was in Las Vegas for the birth of a new granddaughter, I walked the other two kids to school one day. My granddaughter, Olivia, who was 5 at the time, stopped other kids along the way to say, “My grandma is walking me to school.” She was so proud, and I am so thankful to have the health to be able to walk with her.

3. Exercise – Walking is one of the best ways to exercise. You can walk at the pace you need to reach the desired heart rate. All you need is a pair of good walking shoes. No clubs to join.  No classes to attend. You can walk during the day or at night. Inside or out. In the mall or on a treadmill. If you need more of a challenge, you can carry a backpack with additional weight, or you can swing your arms to raise your heart rate. You will find that your legs have to move as fast as your arms. Even if you’re uncoordinated, it is impossible for your legs not to follow your arms. Try it. 

4. Peace of mind – You’ve heard of the “fight or flight” response? When I am upset or when I have things to work out in my mind, I go for a walk. I may start out stomping as I try to release anger, but by the time I get back home, I have worked through it and my mind has been cleared 
so that I can think rationally. Instead of sitting in a chair stewing about a problem, or getting into a fight with someone, walking can be great therapy, and you may be able to find a rational way to resolve the problem. 

I suppose walking is one of those things I’m especially grateful for because when I was a year old my mother realized I wasn’t walking properly. It looked like one leg was longer than the other, but the actual problem was that the leg hadn’t joined the hip properly.  After tearfully pleading with other family members who wanted to deny there was anything wrong with their little girl, she made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and I was put in a body cast that went from under my arms to my knees. I spent the next year in that cast. I probably weighed as much as my mother did with that plaster cast. As an adult, my aunts and uncles told me about how horrified they had been when they saw "the horrible cast" and feared it would keep me from doing things other one year-olds did. They told of their joy when they saw that I not only learned to walk, but run and climb in spite of the challenges I had.

Probably the most valuable lesson from that experience was that I learned that with encouragement, I could not only walk, but I was given the confidence to believe that I could do anything.

On Thanksgiving when you stuff yourself with turkey, instead of curling up on the couch and taking a nap, think about taking a walk instead. It will help revive you and give you the time you need to think about the things you’re grateful for.

Copyright 2002 Joyce Moseley Pierce
  Joyce is a freelance writer and owner of Emerson Publications.

She is the creator of "All They'll Need to Know," a workbook to help families record personal and financial information.

She is also the editor of The Family First Newsletter, an 
ezine for families with young children. To subscribe:

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the benefit of walking


benefits of walking

(c) 2003 Caton Family

benefits of walking