I go for a walk most days with a friend who lives on a hilly road in Newfane. She drives over to my house and parks and we then roam the roads of Brookline which offer only the occasional hill just to make sure you are paying attention.
I can remember as a kid devoting a large portion of my life to getting out of walking anywhere. We lived too close to school to qualify for a bus, yet far enough that I complained mightily about it. I would whine if sent to the store for a loaf of bread.
Today my grandchildren in Cincinnati, not only walk back and forth to school, they walk home and back for lunch. I remember doing that. There were very few overweight kids at our school; obesity was not a national problem.
I’m the first one to jump on an elevator or escalator. I just love those moving sidewalks in the airports. I always look for those little motorized carts that whiz around the terminals. And sure enough, when I get to my destination, the first thing I want to do is go for a walk after sitting all cramped up on some airplane.
We have friends in Putney who would always suggest a walk before dinner. Their idea of a walk is a 10-mile forced march. But the aches made one feel so virtuous.
The medical profession just loves having us walk and our knees are particularly relieved that we gave up jogging quite a few years ago.
The secret to remaining faithful to a regular walk, I find is having a walking buddy. My friend and I have been remarkably diligent in keeping to the routine of a daily stroll of around two miles. We chat and chat. One might say we gossip, but I will deny it. We discuss our children, our grandchildren, the past, the future. We talk our heads off.
And the time flies by. We get back to the starting point and it seems like we’ve been gone merely minutes. Except that we are huffing and puffing from the walking and talking.
I have a neighbor who walks while pushing a stroller full of sleeping baby. She actually chooses the hilly portion on purpose. I get worn out just watching her prance up the hill in front of our house.
My walking buddy and I stick to our regimen as best as we possibly can. We walk in the pouring rain with umbrellas. We’ve walked in major snowstorms.
That’s the beauty of the system. Neither one of us wants to be the one who says, “Maybe because of the blizzard out there, we should skip it today.” It’s a big game of chicken.
The financial aspects of walking also have great appeal. You don’t have spend thousands of dollars on a treadmill or drive a half hour into town and pay to use equipment that doesn’t allow for smelling boiling sap, ripping off daffodils from a neighbor’s yard, waving to total strangers in pick-ups or listening to birds celebrating spring.
Walking is good for the body and good for the soul.
Would somebody walk out to the kitchen and get me a cup of tea?