Occasional Epiphanies

How Could I Forget?

Lifestyle Mar 12, 2012 28 Comments

It's nice to just be outside.

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?


28 Responses to “How Could I Forget?”

  1. Reply Prudence MacLeod says:

    So much wisdom here. These bodies were designed over millions of years to walk. Yep, that’s what it’s all about, not working out, or power walking, but walking the dog, chatting with a friend, and smelling the roses. Walking brings out the sheer joy of being alive. Love it.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      Thanks, Prudence! I really feel like my body remembered how much it loves walking. And I realized another reason why I am moving somewhere sunny: so I can walk all year round!

  2. Reply Coleen Patrick says:

    I love to walk too. Even though I wear a pedometer, I still enjoy it the same. The pressure I put on myself comes with strength training. I haven’t found something I like about it yet, so it always feels like something I am forcing myself to do. Work in progress!! :)

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      That is a hard one, because doing some form of strength training is important. Me, I love weight lifting. It’s the cardio machines I hate. If I could lift weights and then go outside and walk, I’d be a happy person. I think that’s the situation I will look for in Miami. If you don’t like weight lifting, I wonder if there is another form of strength training you would like. I know some people do yoga for strength. Or what about one of those body pump weight lifting classes? Maybe it’d be more fun in a group?

  3. Reply Annette Gendler says:

    After biking, walking and hiking are my favorite forms of exercise! I have certain morning walk routines that I miss greatly when I don’t get around to doing them.

  4. Reply Pat O'Dea Rosen says:

    Walking at a nearby park is my thing. I like being outside and being in touch with the seasons. Right now, in my part of Texas, redbuds and bluebonnets are in bloom, and the bayou is full due to recent rains. Whenever I’m tempted to cut my walk short, the prospect of what’s new around the bend keeps me on the path.

  5. Reply Jennette Marie Powell says:

    Walking is my preferred form of exercise! Mostly, I use the treadmill, so there’s the pressure to get up to a certain heartrate. But I also read while on the treadmill, so that alleviates much of the pressure and makes it something enjoyable. But walking outside is definitely just for fun, especially when it’s quality time with the four-legged family members. :)

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      I’ve tried walking on the treadmill, but it always makes me dizzy when I’m done. Plus, I feel pressure to run if I’m on a treadmill. And I don’t want to do that anymore. :)

  6. Reply Karla Robinson says:

    Walking is the best, even if it’s slow. I like going for walks with my husband or my son, i like when i go for walks with my mom or my sister, there’s no interruption, no tv, no anything, amd you can really have a conversation with people. I like the gym but it’s different cuz everyone is on a rush. I wish i could walk more, things are different now mom and sis live too far, friends are far and most of the time hubby is working or too tired :( that leaves my little son, who just started walking , he walks so very slow and i have to pick him up after 1/2 a block, some day, i have to wait till he’s a tad older. But we are gonna go on walks it’s gonna be our thing, i can’t wait to walk and talk and listen to him.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      Walking with someone is very nice. It’s a good way to have girl time, and I love seeing those cute old couples who walk together. So sweet. I bet walking with your son will be great, once he can walk for a while on his own and before he runs off to be with his friends. Enjoy those moments.

  7. Reply Ginger Calem says:

    Great post, Emma! As you know, I work out very hard in the gym, but I LOVE a walk. My daughter’s school is 1/2 a mile from the house and some days (when I’m forcing myself not to be in such a hurry) I fire up the pandora on my phone and walk to pick her up. I love it. I breath in the fresh air and love the feel of the sunshine on my skin. I notice things, things I never see when I’m zipping by in my car. And, the walks always get my creativity firing.

    For you, who doesn’t like ‘cardi-machines’, you can do more CrossFit like workouts which combine weight lifting with other bodyweight movements, etc and get your strength and cardio all in one. Win-Win!

    It’s a gorgeous day here today … maybe I’ll take a nice walk later and then sit on the porch.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      Ok, I must know, what is the CrossFit thing you are talking about? I am pretty sure my gym doesn’t have it. But it sounds fun!

      • Reply Ginger Calem says:

        In a small nutshell, CrossFit combines weightlifting, plyometrics, gymnastics, running and just about everything into an infinite number of combinations. You move weight (sometimes very heavy) fast. When you do this, your workout intensity goes through the roof which enables your workout duration to be shorter. No more 45 minutes on an elliptical or treadmill, etc. We use barbells and olympic weightlifting, kettlebells, medicine balls, handstands, you name it …. All things using your whole body. ((Ok, my small nutshell got big. Sorry! The name of our gym is CrossFit Georgetown and we have a pretty thorough FAQ if you want to know more.))

        The mini-workouts I’ve given in WritersButt have been extremely basic examples. I’ll give you two 2 CrossFit workouts that we do involving different sorts of movements and patterns.


        5 Pull Ups
        10 Push Ups
        15 squats

        *All bodyweight, movements can be scaled to ability. You would repeat those three movements to see how many rounds you could get through in 20 minutes.

        Two: using some weight as an example

        5 rounds for time of:

        400m run
        30 sit ups
        15 deadlift (heavy!)

        More than you asked for probably. *grin*

        • Reply Emma Burcart says:

          Ginger, That is awesome. It sounds like a super fun workout that I would really enjoy. I actually checked into it in my area, and unfortunely it is cost prohibitive here. Like most of the fun exercise classes I have wanted to try. Is there a way to do Crossfit style workouts on my own at the gym? Maybe there is a way I can switch it up and not have to do so many boring cardio machines. I have tried classes at my gym, but they just never fit my schedule. Yes, I am difficult.

          • Ginger Calem says:

            Yes, you can totally do CrossFit workouts at your gym on your own. You may have to modify some movements based on equipment. Most regular gyms aren’t set up for olympic weightlifting and those lifts are so technical I wouldn’t advise them unless you’ve had some coaching on them. BUT– most anything else you could figure out. If you gym doesn’t have kettlebells, you can sub out a dumbbell instead. You can also use dumbbells for stuff you’d use a barbell for as well.

            We post our daily workout on our Facebook page. For anything you have questions about, just ask. Also, on the main CrossFit website (crossfit.com) there are links, I believe on the left, and in there somewhere are video and demos of all movements and workouts.

            At least you have enough to get started. Think, mix it up. Lift heavy. Move fast.

            A common rep scheme is 21-15-9 So you’d pick 3 things, say, KB swings, burpees, squats. So you’d do 21 of all three, 15 of all 3 and 9 of all 3 and then you’d be done and likely very worn out. :)

            Have Fun!! And let me know if you have any questions. :)

  8. Reply Marcy Kennedy says:

    I love walking! I used to go every day with my previous dog. It was one of the highlights of my day and I’d be bummed if I woke up to rain. I’d like to start walking more again, but my new dog is still very much a puppy at heart and has a different personality, so we’re still working on making the walks peaceful rather than a lesson.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      That is what it’s like with my parents’ new dog! It’s funny how often we now realize how amazing their first dog was now that we have something to compare her to. :)

  9. Reply Karen McFarland says:

    I’m with you Emma! I love walking. It’s exercise and relaxing at the same time. There is something about getting out in the fresh air, wll almost fresh air, and listening as you say to the birds, the breeze flowing throught the trees. And the chance to clear our heads. Yep I love my walks! :)

  10. Reply Jessica O'Neal says:

    LOVE this post, Emma. This is so true. I really do enjoy walking with no purpose other than to be outside and moving. There is something so calming and peaceful about it that really does allow you to put your thoughts in order. I go running outside a lot for my exercise and sometimes I can allow my mind to wander in the same way, but others all I can focus on is how far I have gone and how much more I have to go. Thank you for the reminder on the joys of just going on a nice walk.

  11. Reply Debra Kristi says:

    I love a brisk walk. The surge of adrenaline that courses through the body. It’s exhilarating. The fresh air, new and old life unfolding around you. The only downside for me is that I must usually have the kids in tow and without fail one is usually complaining before the walk it through about how they can’t walk, they’re going to die, and I must leave them there. “Carry me. Carry me. Carry me.” Are the words I hear, but Wonder Woman’s strength I don’t possess. Walk on their own power they must. It’s not the ideal way to end a beautiful experience {chuckle}. Thank you for your visually enticing post.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      Haha. I remember walking with my brother when he was a toddler. Usually, I would just strap him into the stroller whether he wanted it or not. I knew that if I didn’t, I would end up carrying him.

  12. Reply Anthony Lee Collins says:

    Walking is about the only exercise I get, and I really like it. I walk at least a mile or more every day (at a pretty brisk pace). I always recommend it as a great teatment for depresson or similar problems. I have certainly felt crappy when I stopped doing it for a while.

    So, of course my characters live in a world where everybody walks and there are no cars.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      I hadn’t thought about applying that to my characters. It is a good thought. Although I think the characters in my WIP would be more into pilates or something trendy like that.

  13. Reply Natalie Hartford says:

    I love going for walks. To be honest, I have a hard time making them a cardio work out because I tend to get lost in the pure joy of just “walking”! I love walking puppy girl – she’s so happy and excited to be outside sniffing the world that it just fills me with joy. And if hubby joins us, then it’s a gab fest as we look at the new houses going up around us etc…or sometimes I lose myself thinking about different story ideas etc. The end results is always the same though – like you, I am always reminded of how much I enjoy just being outside. Ahhhhh!

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