Walking is by far one of the most effective, inexpensive exercises that everyone knows, but that few do regularly because of “blah blah blah”! Well, I have decided that as far as my personal health goes, NO MORE EXCUSES! I must do it now or be ready to spend my later years in a hospital bed. With my various possible futures in mind, I started walking this past winter on the treadmill for at least 15-20 minutes daily. I read somewhere that if you can stick to doing one thing for twenty-one days, then your mind gives in and gets use to it. As experience grows, the task also becomes increasingly easier on the body. I suppose the persistency makes it a habit and I will feel like something is missing in my day if I should skip it. I should not ignore such feelings, but must also be wary of trying to do too much too soon. However, it is now time to put my health first. I recommend you do the same. If you have higher priorities in your everyday life than your health, then it might be time you rethink your priorities!
With my winter serving as a period of introduction with the “exercise world”, I was excited upon the arrival of summer and my ability to finally get outdoors! With the wind in my face, the warm sun on my skin, and the fresh air filling my lungs, I felt a childlike energy. Especially when one is just beginning, little changes can have grand effects. Stepping off the treadmill and off the porch was what I needed to help me reach my personal fitness goals.
My first day of walking:
I have been blessed with the ability to live in a beautiful subdivision. A walk around the block and back to my house is half a mile in length. That being said, on my first day of walking my subdivision did not look quite so beautiful and my block felt ten times larger! My body felt heavy and I felt dizzy a couple of times. However, I learned in that one walk that the day would be won through unadulterated perseverance. I was so excited when I made it back that I called my daughter to tell her of my “adventure.” My daughter knows I do not give up easily. The truth is that, for me, it is unreasonable to accept a life that is not how you would create it. I think everyone has the ability to find their ways out of given situations and to affect their change. It is our animal instinct. More politely termed our will to survive. With every breath we create the world in which we live. Some decisions bring us closer to our goals. Some decisions take us away. The important part is to never falter. Though not without distress, I managed to not faint on my maiden half-mile voyage. I stepped proudly through my doorstep with a new found hope and courage to hang on, to stay strong, and to persevere.
My walk on Independence Day!
The month of July is already here and the neighborhood is bustling in preparation for the Fourth of July. I, too, had plans, but walking remained a priority. As others were talking about ideals represented in that Day, I was also thinking about independence, but not necessarily the kind envisioned by this nation’s founding fathers.. I asked myself, ”Am I Independent? “ As I am getingt older, I am steadily losing self-control through a lack of energy. I am fortunate in that I am able to depend on my family, but that is a blessing, not independence. I am also an American citizen and have my rights of freedom and independence. I accept the benefits my government provides for me through my taxes, but that does not make me free. Our freedom reaches as far as our hearts are willing to extend it. Spiritually, emotionally, physically, we must truly be masters of our own destinies.
Marching with the Soldiers:
When it was challenging for me to walk at least a mile for my own well being, I thought about the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for my independence. “What am I doing?”, I questioned. My medical benefits are supported through taxes to my government, yet I am not willing to walk a mile to remain healthy and lower the cost of that care? I have taken the idea of independence and perverted it into a feeling of entitlement. Believing that patriotic responsibilities consist only of casting a vote and paying taxes is a cancer on this nation. It results in nothing better than stagnation and is of no help to myself, this government, or this country. We all, therefore, have an obligation to promote the greater good. Dramatic change does not, and should not, occur overnight. If the first step for some is philanthropy, then great. If the first step happens to be simply lacing up the old walking shoes, then that is fine as well. Given the selfless sacrifice thousands of soldiers have made in our names, the least we can do is help ourselves.
Additional Advantages to Walking:
The physical health benefits are blatantly obvious, but there are many other kinds of payoffs to exercise. I am referring to the impact it has on my mind and soul. With each step I take, I feel my mind is opening up. This country has been blessed by nature. When I step outside, I feel the trees lean towards me because they know I am happy to see them. I feast my eyes on different shades of green, allowing my mind to enjoy a positive flow of energy. I take deep, oxygen-rich breaths to soak in as much nature as I possibly can. These deep breaths became my link between the inner space and outer space. All these random subconscious actions result in more oxygen in my body and more energy throughout.
On my walks, I routinely see dogs and their owners. After few days of consistent encounters, dogs began greeting me by sniffing my feet. One time, a dog name Kelly wanted to stay with me and started barking as the owner took him away. I clearly could not know what the dog was saying, but I responded with love. I could tell from his gaze that he new I understood him.
Another day, a dog and her owner were out enjoying the cool breeze before a rain storm. The owner informed me that his dog is frightened by such weather because she was injured during a tornado. The dog did not seem herself and the man apologized on her behalf for her misbehavior. This small sign of the innate civility of man is something I would sorely miss if I were to stop going on these daily walks.
Walking with my family:
Annabelle is a beautiful eleven year old girl that I look forward to seeing on my daily walks. She is usually playing near her house, but when she sees me, she rushes over to give me a great big hug. She reminds me of my youngest daughter’s hug, one which I am not blessed with as often now that she is a Pharmacy student at Purdue University. Through that little angel Annabelle, her mom got to know both my daughters and me. What a lovely neighbor! When I go to the swimming pool, ladies recognize me from my daily walks. My closest neighbor’s girls, Madison and McChanzie, are four and two. They are no longer shy and play with me as I go by.
As my three daughters found their own paths in life, my husband and I were left alone to face the realities of Empty Nest Syndrome and I was under a depression for some time. My girls were the center of my universe and I felt so empty without them being in the house. My endlessly hardworking husband would bare my silent screams for the short few hours that he was home. My children were my driving force. I worked to provide for them and I rushed to get through the day so I could run home to share in their innocence. In addition to my familial identity struggle, my identification by birth as a South Asian Woman was pulling me away from accepting my new identity as an American Citizen. I frequently cried alone to sentimental stories and movies hoping to find some ease and comfort. I did not feel like getting up in the morning. Going to work was a constant challenge, because I knew at the end of the day, I would come home to an empty house. I asked my husband to cut down his work hours, but we both knew it was not the cure for what ailed me. He permitted me to quit my job and focus on anything that would make me happy. It took me a month of struggle with my self to prioritize my life. Health inevitably became first priority because my depression had forced me to ignore it. Walking became my number one “to do” on my list!
Business and Pleasure:
I have nearly ten years of teaching experience. I greatly enjoy mathematics and have decided to offer lessons to students in need of assistance. During my walks, I advertise my new venture by talking to parents in the neighborhood. It definitely saves money on gas and fliers! It is also more convenient for the parents to validate that the quality of my services will not be surpassed. I have been able to utilize exercise as a means of providing pleasure and stirring up business. There is no reason why I should not continue walking on the right path.
At night, I thank God for all that he has given me today and for all that he has laid out for me for tomorrow. If I do not do my part by walking, appreciating nature, and talking care of my whole self, I do not know feel I could be justified in asking God for peaceful sleep. I send a prayer his way as a small step towards a good night’s rest and thanks for all he has given me.
Thank you note:
Some of my friends have Congratulate me for my English writings. I must say my English is not as great but thanks to my daughters who edit my English writings most of the time. I make sure my thoughts and meanings do not change in the process.