I recently came in from a four mile walk, took one look at my husband and said, “I have found my bliss and it’s long-distance walking.” He then proceeded to tell me I had completely turned into my mother. Yes, it’s true. All I need is a dog and I will be exactly like her. Lol.
In all seriousness, I have been searching for years for the perfect exercise for me, and it turns out it’s been right in front of me all along. If you’ve been following along for the past year or two, you know I’ve been walking a lot. I usually load up my iPhone with some podcasts or an audiobook, get out there, and hit the park. For a while, I thought I would be into running, but no, it was too hard on my knees. Then I thought maybe I would pick hooping back up again. But hooping calls way too much attention to itself, and I like to blend into the background. What I really needed to do was walk longer and farther. Two or three miles a few times per week wasn’t enough. Do that much every day? Now we’re talking. Throw in even more walking on the weekends, and I’ve finally found what works. Combine it with a trip to the gym every week to lift weights, and I have something that provides me with bliss.
There’s something about walking that really appeals to me. After the first mile, I’m usually able to turn off my attention to my body and just listen to my podcast or audiobook without even noticing where I am or what I’m doing. It’s a meditative state of being, almost transcendent. I walk past dozens of people and don’t even recognize them! I realized recently that I should probably not change up my walking routine because I’m fairly inattentive when I’m in this blissful walking state. I walk in a park near my home that’s pretty safe. Lots of other people are there walking and the county police are usually there too. The path around the park is well maintained and traffic is minimal. It’s really a perfect place to walk. Just look at how beautiful it is!!
The only problem with long-distance walking is weather. I live in the Northeast US which means cold, snowy winters and hot summers. I came up with a rule for winter walking and it’s “28ºF and up as long as it’s dry.” My main nemesis in the winter is ice. Last winter I slipped on ice a few times and it made me stay home more than I liked. This winter I want to be careful but go out more. The outdoor air and sunlight is important for my mood! But if I have to, I can always walk indoors on my treadmill, which I do often. I have a treadmill desk, and if I do two writing/editing sessions a day, I can get in four miles easily. It’s a good compromise when the weather outside isn’t cooperating.
My goal this year is to walk 1000 miles by the end of December. So far, so good! It has definitely been a lot of walking so far to meet this goal, but as long as I’m able to walk every day, I’m doing it. I don’t regret making this goal. I’m feeling much healthier and happier for it. I’ve found bliss with every stride and every mile walked. I know better than to let that go.