I still see a number of people out walking for exercise and just the enjoyment of it. It’s kind of a mindless activity at least on a smooth path, where you can unwind yourself or unwind an issue. Sadly for many, the only walking they do is to get to their vehicle or when leaning on a shopping cart.
Walking is still one of the most enjoyable and inexpensive ways to maintain a modicum of fitness. A favourite excuse is being too busy, but if you look at your schedule there are always some real time-wasters in it and that time can be used for walking. A walk can be circular or out and back and the pace is what you want it to be or whatever your body can take.
Sadly many people cannot walk (or do much of anything else) without an electronic communications device in one or both hands (if texting, that is). We have been convinced that non-stop communication is essential to our way of life. Make a pledge and leave the iPhone at home or if that’s too daring for you, at least tuck it away so you still have it if an emergency occurs.
One of the supreme joys of walking is that your mind can go anywhere or it can just shut down for a while. Having company on a walk is up to you, but the wandering mind does better alone. Mental preoccupations such as family, work challenges or other interpersonal concerns can often be minimized and even solved on a quiet walk by yourself.
Nature can be seen and heard better during a quiet saunter through someplace new or even through the same area you’ve been a hundred times before. Try walking a route that you’ve driven many times, such as your own neighbourhood. You’ll be amazed at the new things you see that you never noticed when you were preoccupied by driving the vehicle.
Outdoor gear manufacturers and salespeople will be happy to take a lot of your cash to get you into the latest high-tech footwear and clothes to keep you dry and cool or warm depending on the season. A recreational walk is not a hike or a trek so nothing more than comfortable shoes and ordinary clothes that suit the weather is all that you will need. As your routine changes and frequent or daily walks become a habit, then maybe your next pair of shoes can be bought with walking in mind. They will cost a little more, but the added comfort and support will more than offset the extra money spent.
Hiking poles are now quite common and once you’ve gotten used to using them you will appreciate the extra support that even one pole provides. They vary in price but start at less than $50.
Considering where we live, I encourage carrying a bear-spray on any walk away from a residential area.