On these walks

Jeff snapped this photo of me walking Pasha in our neighborhood, April 2009

Jeff snapped this photo of me walking Pasha in our neighborhood, April 2009

“It is on these walks that my best ideas come to me.  It is while walking that difficult clarity emerges.  It is while walking that I experience a sense of well-being and connection, and it is in walking that I live most prayerfully.” Julia Cameron

For several years now, I’ve been walking anywhere from two to five miles per day in pretty much all types of weather.  I cannot say enough about the positive changes this has made in my life.  My weight, my moods and my ability to stay free of minor illness have all improved.

More importantly, walking has become a vital part of my inner life.  While walking, I listen to favorite music or an interesting unabridged audiobook as I take in the beautiful changes of the seasons.  On my walks, I have come to know many of my neighbors (and their dogs) and have admired the gardening and decorating talents that enhance my enjoyment of being outdoors.

Even in a more urban setting, the advantages of walking are many.  I can stroll to the post office, the grocery store or a number of shops and restaurants, saving gas and getting exercise.  The landscaping is maintained to be attractive in each season, and the sidewalks, streetlights and constant presence of people make it easy to walk safely to almost any place I need to go.

I originally began walking when our dog, then 11 years old, began to show signs of failing health.  When I saw the remarkable change walking two miles per day made in his energy level and stamina, I was convinced I needed to increase my walking habit for my own health.  Now I cannot imagine life without this daily break.  It’s the only form of exercise I can stand to keep up for very long.

It does require time — anywhere from 45 minutes to almost two hours, depending on how fast and far I go — but I find that it is time well spent.  If you are not already doing so, try taking a walk some sunny day.  You might find that you like it as much as I do.

22 Comments

  1. warero

    Reblogged this on Javmode.

    • Thanks so much! I am happy you like it and I really appreciate the re-blog. Thanks for visiting us here!

  2. Ellis Anderson

    I so agree! I’ve been walking for decades and can’t imagine my life without it either. I break mine up into two half hour walks each day. The dogs nag if I don’t, and I’m thankful for their guilting me into maintaining the habit! I’ll look forward to the day when you and I can take a walk together!

    Thanks so much for your work on this blog!

    • Thanks to you, Ellis! Your journals in college (which you so generously allowed me to read) were my first real experience of being inspired by a friend’s writing to the point that I knew it was something I wanted to do, too. YES we must make the chance to take a walk together sometime! I also remember you biking everywhere and have a favorite photo (which I stole off one of your websites) of you on your bike and Jack running alongside you. At least I think it’s Jack?

  3. I love walking as well. I have at least three or four parks I frequent! I think it’s best during the late morning hours.

    • I agree – late morning hours are my favorite time to walk, followed closely by the waning hours of daylight on a gloriously LONG summer’s day! Aren’t parks a wonderful blessing to enjoy? My first experience with habitual walking was in a beautiful park in San Antonio, Texas, many years ago. Then picked up the habit again in a neighborhood park in northern California, but stopped abruptly when we moved to an area of Virginia that had NO SIDEWALKS. It took me a long time to get used to walking in the street! I have to be a lot more careful, but I’m used to it now.

  4. Mike Bertoglio

    Walking is great and we miss our walks in Hawaii out to Lanikai beach from Kailua, but there are some nice river walks here in Seattle. Also the Pill Box hike in Lanikai- did you ever do that one?
    Thoreau has a little essay on walking that always impressed me. In it he talks about the Middle Age’s period walkers who begged alms under the pretense of going to the holy land- “a la Sant. Terre. “It is where we get the word saunterer. Children would shout, “there goes a sant terre- there goes a holy lander. Walking is a holy activity and we can go to a holy place there, as your blog testifies. Thanks Julia.

    • We never did do the Pill Box hike, although we did the Diamond Head climb several times and always enjoyed it. I’ll have to look up Thoreau’s essay and read it; I know I’ll enjoy it. Thanks for the info.

  5. Mike Bertoglio

    Also please keep my daughter in law Rachel in your prayers. She has severe scoliosis from a childhood accident. She is expecting next month- end of March and may have a difficult delivery- secondary to scoliosis. May have mentioned this before.

    • Mike, you had not told us about Rachel but I will certainly pray for her, and perhaps many who read these comments will do the same.

  6. That looks like a very pretty neighbourhood Julia. We also do a lot of walking do to we live downtown. Edmonton has very extensive river valley trail system. Yesterday we did 11 km, punctuated by a hearty sandwich and fresh muffin at a very good homegrown diner on the way. We love to be outside, it makes you sleep better too.

    • Wow that sounds like a wonderful outing. I imagine you can vary your walk every day and not do the same walk twice for quite some time. You are right, the walking really does improve sleep. I have had problems with insomnia off and on over the years, partly due to having to be up several times in the night with our son for many years when he was younger. Over time I just sort of forgot how to sleep through the night, and then in graduate school I got where, once I was awakened, I could not go back to sleep with so much on my mind. It took me quite awhile to establish good sleep patterns again. Insomnia can make me crazy in a hurry, so I guard my sleep very diligently now.

      • I’m afraid I have always been a night owl, 5 hours of sleep seems to be good…six on weekend when Jim entertains the cats. He goes to bed at 8:30-9 since he gets up at 5am…I’d be doomed…LOL

        • I’m a night owl too, but I’m trying to change my ways lately! Jeff is a morning person and gets so much more done than I do. When the kids were in school, I’d be up late just catching up with housework and getting their stuff lined up for the next morning, and I probably got about 5-6 hours a night in those years. The only time that seemed to belong to me was after everyone was in bed, so I’d stay up just to have some time to myself when I didn’t feel like I had to be busy with urgent tasks. Since Jeff’s diagnosis I’ve been trying to go to bed when he does (10 pm) and get up when he does (5 am), and I have to admit those early morning hours of quiet are pretty nice. I finally figured out that it’s just as easy to get up at 5:00 am as it is to get up at 6:30.

  7. Love this picture of you. Have a nice walk next time. Love ya.

    • Amy we still have to schedule that walk together! Thanks for being here.

  8. You’ve really had to organize your time so well, you are a magician Julia! I was a morning person for 25 years, I worked for a major communications company downtown. The entire time we lived in the country an hours drive. To share a car, I’d get up at 4:30, leave at 5am, downtown by 6am for Jim (he started work when markets in Toronto opened) I went to a Gym since I didn’t start work till 7:30 or 8……….so now I’m really milking the sleep-in’s LOL

    • Your former schedule makes me sleepy just thinking of it! There are few things I relish more than sleeping in; if I had the chance, I’d be doing it much more often. As it is, sleeping til 8 on the weekends is still a real treat although Jeff says it’s easier if you never sleep more than an hour past your usual time to wake up. In winter especially, it’s just too cozy sleeping in to give that up! I’m basically wired to be a night owl and that will probably not change, since it hasn’t in 56 years!

  9. Sheila

    Julia, that is a wonderful photo that Jeff took of a favorite subject,I’m sure! What a lush,beautiful and very scenic area to walk or stroll. Amazing how schedules can change to fit different times in our lives. I think I’ll take you up on that walk on a sunny day. I’ll tell you about it so hold me accountable! Good night… Sheila

    • Thanks Sheila, I’ll be asking you about your stroll very soon! I have found that our schedules are a bit more flexible than they seem although we are all creatures of habit. Everything one spends time on is a trade-off for something else, and I try to be aware of that and open to other priorities when they come along. Thanks for visiting here and I hope you have a wonderful day today!

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