I became a walker thirty years ago. Initially, I walked every day – around the block with a cane to strengthen an injured right ankle. After six weeks, the ankle was healed. I was left with a cherished habit.
I have kept walking since, different reasons prominent at different times. During the pandemic, my husband Patrick and I walked twice a day for outdoor exercise and companionship. Eventually, we mapped out walks to cover most of the Ancaster and Dundas neighbourhoods. The best surprises during these neighbourhood walks occurred when we discovered walkways connecting two cul-de-sacs, allowing us to cover new territory without doubling.
This morning I walked with sun shining over my shoulder, a gentle breeze tickling my cheeks, swaying branch shadows following my own shadow on the rail trail. I could hear the crunch of feet pacing on the gravel, sometimes only mine, sometimes a chorus of feet, sometimes accompanied by the creek babbling. While walking outdoors, I feel most comfortable in my body, breathing deeply with the rhythm of legs and arms, on my way, with no important destination. I can practice mindfulness, paying attention, often with my camera, to moment by moment all the path. Grateful thoughts flow naturally.
Walking with friends, especially a regular walking buddy, nurtures the heart as well as the body. An added blessing of daily walks is the boost to creativity, long recognized by writers and artists.
Isn’t it wonderful that walking is also good for our health? See the recent blog below from McMaster Optimal Health on the health benefits and follow-up resources.
Even a twenty-minute walk is long enough to fling open the inner door to insight and inspiration.
~ Julia Cameron
Gros, Frederic. (2014). A Philosophy of Walking. HarperBooks.
McMaster Optimal Health (2023). Walking for Good Health (an informative blog).
Nicholson, Geoff. (2009). The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism. Riverhead Books.