“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”
– Steven Wright
I haven’t always loved walking. As a child being dragged out to nature reserves and trying to keep up with the long strides of my six foot three father, I may have done my fair share of moaning. Yet I do recall fondly the amazing views from the tops of hills, and the chance to see native animals and insects up close.
Something must have rubbed off, because over the years walking has become a daily practice, not only a source of mental and physical health, but a well of deep joy.
One of the greatest attractions of walking – has to be its simplicity. Having never been one for activities involving lots of equipment and preparation, I love that all that’s needed is some footwear and appropriate clothing for the season and off I go. Its also one of the most gentle and peaceful ways to exercise I know and if I invite a friend it can be a great way to socialise as well.
Having a dog means I head out every day, sometimes twice a day. Being lucky enough to live in a tree filled suburb backing a nature reserve means I always come back refreshed and recharged, no matter the weather or what’s been happening that day.
When you walk you encounter the world at a different pace. Walking It’s the bodies natural way of being in the world.
And when I’m walking I’m not sitting (with all its harmful effects). And with just 30 minutes of walking a day I know I can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. When I step out, the experts tell me I’ll also be reducing my risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
Most importantly though, walking lifts my mood, connecting me to nature and green spaces. Sigh.
A recent health diagnosis showing advancing loss of bone density, has set my feet more firmly in motion. I’ve quite literally decided to walk my way to wellness. Along with my daily dog walks, I’m setting out with a friend to explore local nature reserves and national parks. Who knows. like my grandfather who never missed his ‘daily constitutional’, I could become living proof that walking is the cure all for just about everything.
I’m hoping to be fit enough to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro for the Jane Goodall Foundation next year. In the meantime, here’s are some images to inspire you to your own walking adventures.
View from Square Rock, Namadgi National Park [April 2016]
Main range walk, Kosciusko National Park [March 2016]
“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.”
-Wendell Berry, Remembering