More than twenty years ago, Pamela and I went on a holiday to Tunisia. Whilst there, we made friends with another couple – as one does (or should that read ‘as two do?’) Anyway, Brian and Nina Kearney remain our friends to this day. Brian exercised (!) a life-changing effect on me.
Brian was an enthusiastic walker, and being a typical Cork man, he didn’t offer advice in any half-hearted delivery. ‘’Listen, Boy, you and me … we are going to meet here at ten o’clock in the morning and we’re heading out for a four mile walk!” What could I say…?
I didn’t really enjoy those first few walks; but by the end of the second week I was hooked – and like Forrest Gump, I have been unable to stop since then.
As well as my daily walk and pleasure strolls, I have partaken of a few sponsored walks and raised a bit of money for good causes. On 15th September I head off to Romania for a sponsored walk in aid of ‘Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust’. I am paying my own way, so that all monies donated will go to the cause. I have two good friends who are alive today because of a transplant, so this fund-raiser is close to me heart. All donations gratefully received! Email me at Bernie.firstname.lastname@example.org (End of commercial!)
We shall touch on the advantages of walking in a moment; but unless one enjoys involvement in any sort of activity, you will not stay at it. I just love walking. Some of my best ideas have come to me on the road. When you switch off the brain, the subconscious kicks in and very often it is in the subconscious that the answer lies. The best newspaper articles have come to me while I am striding out there – or as Blackadder would put it, ‘venturing forth!’
Now don’t tell me you are too busy or don’t have the time to go for a daily walk? (Actually you don’t have to go every day) You can make the time, and for doing it, you will perform better and finish up with more time to do other things.
So you are busy, stressed and a little overweight? If there was a pill to cure this, you would take it? You wonder if you could slow down the aging process even a little? If there was another pill to give you this, you would take it as well? I know … I know; you have to spend long periods peering at screens and find yourself becoming a little irritable. Maybe you don’t believe there is any cure for this? A problem keeps going around in your head and you cannot seem to focus or ‘nail’ it? There is nothing in a bottle that will fix all of above, but this column is giving you a tip that will sort you out. Simply take up walking and give it a fair chance.
Like me, you won’t enjoy your walking at first, but persevere for a few weeks and like Forrest Gump and myself, you won’t ever want to stop.
Practice using your arms and stride-walking. Your rhythm and momentum will propel you forward. Don’t ‘dawdle’ – I find that harder on the body than fast walking. It is possible to ‘over-stride’ – but I don’t think you will. Just walk at the pace that has you slightly out of breath.
And there’s more! Walking is also good for your ‘gut-health.’ Your digestive system will improve as the passage of food is helped through the intestines. Research shows that walking increases the strength of the signals from the brain to do with sight and touch. It helps you to think and discover things more quickly. I suppose this goes back to the jungle and when we got up off all fours.
I still haven’t mentioned the one organ that everybody knows will be the better for exercise … the heart. There is nothing better to keep the old heart beating better and longer, than walking. Town, city or country – there is always a place to walk.
Here I reach my ‘word count – but I could go on for another column. Just remember the old hippie adage; ‘If it feels good do it!’ Walking feels good. When you feel that breeze in your face and the sun on your back, the feel good factor will come.
Yes, walking is good for body, brain and soul. If you haven’t tried it, do so now: You will never regret the effort.
The bottom line in any sales pitch is always the price: Waking costs nothing!!
Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.