Before the pandemic, I was a regular at the gym (Yeah, we’ll pretend that’s true). When the isolation period began, I had to find another way to exercise.
I thought about swimming, but I didn’t feel comfortable getting in the same water as other people. I’ve heard what people say about chlorine killing germs and whatever, but I’m still kind of paranoid about that.
I thought about bike riding, but all we have is a girl’s Cruiser. I could ride it, but I’m embarrassed to ride a granny bike around and I’m too cheap to buy a guy’s bike that I probably won’t ride anyway.
I thought about jogging, but then realized I couldn’t because it’s stupid and I hate it.
I finally settled on walking.
I’ve had some experience with walking and hiking over the years. When I was in college, I spent a summer at Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas, working alongside the naturalists on the guided hikes. Years later, my wife and I even walked the entire Appalachian Trail (well, the width of it).
Walking has a lot of benefits. I learned a lot from this article by the Arthritis Foundation. It points out that regular walking improves circulation, shores up bones, improves your sleep, and slows down your mental decline (that’s a good one for me).
Walking also decreases your stress levels, which all of us need nowadays. Brisk walking produces stress busting endorphins, which reduce stress hormones and helps improve your mood and general outlook on life.
I also found that walking gives me time to talk with God. And since I’m walking between 5 and 6 in the morning, there are a lot less distractions.
I spoke with God this morning as I walked. It was actually more like I dumped a semi-truck full of worries on Him. I prayed for the victims of Hurricane Laura and Marco and told him about my own feelings of survivor’s remorse. I ranted about my old and new fears, grievances, and burdens. I vented about how hard it is to live today on the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and still cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters, racial tensions, social unrest, political discussions, poverty, hunger, unemployed friends, family relationships, work tensions, and church issues.
He listened to everything I said. He knew it all anyway. He’s God.
I think I’ll keep walking.
*Photo courtesy of Michael Descharles