There are always a hundred reasons not to go walking. It’s too cold. It’s muddy. There’s too much else to do, you just walked yesterday…. But to deal with depression, grief, or stress, you should make walking a regular part of your life.
If you Google “why I should walk,” you will find that walking is good for your heart and your bones. It helps chronic back pain, reduces anxiety, improves your sleep, connects one to nature, gives back a sense of control, fuels creativity…. Walking helps you heal.
You can hike on mountains or hills, in forests, along coasts. You can stroll in crowded city streets or suburban shopping malls. Walk in hallways with walkers or wheelchairs. Walk and talk. Saunter in silence. Walk with friends, with a dog, or alone with your thoughts. Or with the memory of the one you love who walks no longer. You can walk away from troubles or walk with them. Sometimes you’ll find solutions or walk your way into being at peace with your pain.
My main walking companion is my inherited dog. Saturday, the path we followed up a hill was covered with decaying leaves. We watched chipmunks dart in and out of the hollows of dead trees. We passed a small tree growing from a crack in a rock. Geese honked over us. In another month the trilliums would start to bloom, followed by tender trout lilies, and then the mayapples with leaves like umbrellas for rabbits.
It wasn’t much of a hill. But sweating and out of breath, I looked back down at where we’d started climbing. Signs of birth, life, and death were everywhere. The circle of life. Right there in the woods. And on the top of that hill, under the sky, I felt blessed, big and small, and part of it all, at once.
What kind of walking or exercise do you do? What brings you out into nature?