We all know the importance of an active lifestyle. The more you get up and, uh, out, the better you are going to feel both physically and mentally.
There’s no doubt about it, staying active keeps your endorphins high as well as keeps joints from getting stiff and achy when you reach a certain age (coughs). Even at my somewhat still-young age, I’ve been a big believer in supplements and working out and adding protein to maintain muscle mass. Luckily, I’ve managed to keep any pain from ever starting. While I have had my share of sports-related injuries, I bowl, I swim, I go horseback riding, ( a torn muscle and an almost torn meniscus) I’ve hobbled my way back to my normal routines.
During that time, I went back to my very first love, which was walking. Not only did I find it to reduce stress, but, it was actually fun. I’d grab my camera, and go for nature walks, ever watchful for wildlife, and odd things to do a shoot with. Just the simple pleasure of seeing flowers bloom, or geese flying over, or a duck swimming placidly in a pond, would bring a smile to my face. Yes, I’ve had those days when I wanted to forget, and I’d go walking in a light mist of rain. somehow, it just felt good against my face, the wind blowing my hair.
As a writer and amateur photographer, some of my best ideas and photos came from just being out and about. I call it listening to my muse, but really, it was just a way to clear my mind, blow off steam and refresh, renew myself and my spirit once more. I find that I return to my normal life a much better person for having had that hour-long or half-hour walkabout. There’s something calming like a cat’s purr when watching a sunset, or seeing clouds roll in, or feeling sunlight or breathing in fresh clean air. My favorite thing to do when I go on vacation is to take a walk along the beach and both watch and listen to the sounds of the ocean and waves crashing to shore.
Walking has been my getaway, a sacred passage for many, many years. My heart just beats a little less heavy in more ways than one, I find peace, and it is a way for me to balance and ground myself again. While I’m not a tree hugger, I do love the sound of crunching in fall leaves and I enjoy the colors each year. Nature has taught me to just take a moment, breathe and enjoy life, at a slower pace. I turn to movement, tai chi, and walking when I need to reconnect with myself and the earth one more. I can practice my breathing, lower anxiety, get my heart rate up by increasing my pace or increase endurance by choosing an incline, or I can just unwind with a walk around the block and a few waves to the neighbors.
It is my medicine. My self-prescription for seeing my world right-side up again. It helps make me, this stubborn girl, me again.
Stressed? Walk it off.