Thursday, August 7, 2008

Love, Fear and Walking

The simplest, easiest, least expensive way to exercise is to walk. Other exercise fads come and go and promise dramatic results, but walking is the one thing anyone can do without investing in special equipment or needing any kind of special facility to do it it.

Walking is about love. Love of the outdoors, the opportunity to meet people, the opportunity to build up your stamina and aerobic power at whatever pace is natural for you. It is an opportunity to stop and really notice what kinds of plants are growing, how people have worked to improve and beautify their homes, an opportunity to get some fresh air in the sunshine or the moonlight.

Over the years however, an element of fear has falsely been introduced into walking. After watching tens of thousands of hours of TV shows and movies in which we have watched people get murdered, raped and robbed, some of us have come to believe that these crimes are much more common that they really are. So in recent years, many new housing developments are in gated communities, with walls around them, limiting the ability of anyone to walk through the neighborhood who does not own a property there.

There have been other cases where private citizens have managed to buy land that was formerly accessible to the public and put fences across it in areas such as beaches.

This mentality has been extended to vacation areas as well. Consider "all inclusive resorts" where vacationers are encouraged to spend their entire time in one hotel facility and do all of their eating, drinking, socializing and activities without ever venturing out and seeing what the people and place surrounding them are like.

Walking is a true freedom. The ability to simply wander about at our own pace and explore our world, speak to our neighbors and get some good exercise that will help us live longer and healthier, is something that we can treasure and enjoy.

Let go of fear. Change your choices in entertainment. Savor life. Walking is a very safe activity. Not only do people not usually suffer serious injuries simply from walking, they also rarely get attacked simply while walking. There is also a very positive side to walking. As with other forms of exercise, it stimulates the body's healing system and our endorphins, those agents of pleasure that elevates our mood and our spirit. A recent study revealed, not surprisingly, that neighborhoods built with pedestrians in mind had less obesity. Walking, then, is an act of loving yourself, by keeping yourself healthy and happy.

Act from love, enjoy life, and take advantage of one of the best things you can do for yourself for free. You will gain a new appreciation for many things, and perhaps meet interesting new people.

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