We all tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Sayings like, “Just do it!” and “Go hard or go home!” remind us that we should be putting 100% effort into everything we do. But if we go hard all the time, we will end up at home. On the couch. Exhausted, sore, and unable to do anything other than drool and push the buttons on the remote.
I have to admit I sometimes have this die hard attitude about working out. I enjoy a good workout. I actually like sweating and there is such a good feeling that comes with the burn of lifting weights.
But I forgot how much I also love the other side of the coin.
My memories of high school and college, and the first few years after graduation, are filled with walks. My step mom and I used to go on long, slow walks in the neighborhood. We would talk and laugh and just enjoy being together. And we almost always stopped along the way for coffee.
When my little brother was a baby the walks involved a stroller and we had to take turns going into Starbucks to pick up the lattes. As me brother grew and my parents got a dog, we started walking her instead.
But some things remained constant. We weren’t walking for exercise. We didn’t pump our arms, count our steps, or even keep track of time. We were walking to walk. Because we enjoyed it. The way it is supposed to be.
As life has gone on and everyone has gotten busy, our walks have dropped off. My step mom and I still talk every day, but now it’s on the phone as we both drive home from work. She has taken to running with a group and I am a gym rat.
So the other day I decided to go for a walk. Alone.
I had forgotten how much I love walking. Not for any purpose or with any plan. But just to walk. I strolled along through my neighborhood. The smell of the fresh air and sounds of birds and traffic made me smile. For me it’s not about nature, it’s about being outside.
I remembered how much I used to walk in Quito. I didn’t own a car, and it was nice. I would walk an hour to the grocery store and take a taxi back. I walked to friends houses, to run errands, one day I even walked all the way downtown. Just to walk.
Walking clears my head in a way nothing else can. When I was running all I thought about was the end. And I couldn’t clear my mind with the noise of my heavy breathing. At the gym I listen to music and concentrate on how my muscles feel.
When I am walking, I just am.
How do you feel about walking? Do you put exercise pressure on yourself? Or just enjoy the walk?