Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday's 2nd Post....Hidden Benefits of Walking

I don't think there is anyone around who has not heard the benefits of walking, at least on the physical aspect. I know, personally, after being about 250 a year ago and starting to walk more and more, I am now down to 212 and besides the thrill of getting into a size of clothes I had not been in for DECADES, I do feel better, physically and about myself mentally also. I have also suffered from depression over the past few years and I know some of it has to do with my self image and mentally, I am feeling better than I have in years.

However, there are other parts of me which benefit from walking too. These are things which aren't mentioned in articles on walking, but I feel are just as important as the physical benefits you derive from walking. All your senses get engaged while walking.

TOUCH

I don't get to "touch" much as I walk, but I am more in tune with my body than I use to be. I do have problems right now with "heel spurs" in my left foot and after walking and sitting at work or home, my hips do stiffen up. So walking is not a totally pain free thing for me. But I "walk" through it. My body now tells me to get up and walk and gets antsy if I don't walk on a daily basis, even if it is only taking the dog for a longer walk. In fact, my body is telling me to up the pace and start a little jogging in there. I have a good friend whose now ex-husband had told her for years "you can't run", ditched him and started running. She is now running miles and miles a week and has participated in marathons. I want to start running now so I can add to my "just commuting" routine.

SIGHT and SMELL

This is one of the real benefits of walking. I have noticed things I would probably not have if I had been driving by. These are some shots of my walk which I mainly take the dog on.

This is a little rose garden which sits about 6 feet from the road and is about 10 x 4 maybe. And filled with roses. Old roses which have the most intense colors. And the scent is wonderful. Even this far away as I walk by I can smell the roses. In the mornings, even though it is just starting to get light, I would know where I was just by the smell alone.

If I was driving by I would never know how wonderful this one little patch of earth smelled.
Of course, I am very tempted to come by with a pair of clippers and "trim" the rosebushes.

But the roses also bring back some childhood memories. My grandfather had roses and that's one of the things I can remember from early on in life - roses (when the world only had black and white roses as OD would say). My parents have a wonderful rose bed and these pictures do nothing to capture the deep beauty of these flowers.














I do admit I have a fondness for the yellow/orange roses. Or the really deep reds. But they all have to "smell". I don't like the modern roses which are all pretty and no smell.


And when you speak of smells, after I pass through the roses, being the South in the warm months I am delighted by the smell of both honeysuckle and magnolia.

The honeysuckle you don't often see, but somewhere, as you pass by, there will be a bank of them, perfuming the air.

And while my neighbor's magnolia is not actually blooming yet, there are a couple of areas which I walk through where they have been planted and I get these huge, creamy white flowers and this overpowering lemon smell. I often get a flower from my neighbor during the blooming season and bring it indoors and my house will smell heavenly.




SOUND


This is a little side area I walk by. You can't really see it, but there is a little water feature in this garden area and as I walk by in the morning or evening I can hear the trickle of water. If I wasn't already relaxed, this would do it. It sounds so peaceful. So much so I have been tempted just to sit in the road and listen to it.

During the morning hours especially when I walk, although I listen to my podcasts mainly, I can't help but hear the birds. Everywhere there are hundreds of different bird songs from the trees and bushes. When I am walking Noel, I don't listen to my podcasts, and the jingle of her tags on her collar makes a good counterpoint to the birdsong.

So all my senses are engaged when I walk. Even my sense of taste. Sometimes the smell of the flowers is so heavy you can taste it, but mainly it is the anticipation of my coffee or tea after the walk. Or the taste of salt when it is hot enough for me to sweat some.

I have become a worshiper at the altar of the Goddess of Walking!

4 comments:

  1. Judy...
    Bravo to you for keeping up with the walking...and actually making it sound...feel...taste...like something I might want to try....HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO YOU!! Thanks so much for the wonderful comment on the blog...You know I so appreciate it from my heart to yours!
    Artfully Yours,
    Pattie

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  2. This post is so inspiring! I'm going to wake up earlier tomorrow morning and start walking! I already walk to work which is only 5 minutes away and love the sound of birds and the smell of flowers (hyacinths right now, I think) but I want to do more! You're inspiring me to do more!

    Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog.

    *hugs*
    Sophie

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  3. Hello Judy...

    What an unexpected surprise to read your warm, kind and meaningful comment on MUSEologies!
    Thank you very much! The photos of your walk and your words take me along with you. Beautiful! Motivating! I look forward to returning.

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  4. WOW Judy! Excellent, I was right there along side you. And you really nailed it with the smells of the outdoors. Sometimes I'll catch a little fragrance and dart left and right trying to track it down. Also I'm glad to hear that other people get antsy if they're not moving around enough. I thought I was the only one that couldn't sit still for very long. Thanks for taking us with you on your walk.
    Rylan

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Thanks for commenting. It means a lot.