When I was in the midst of a wretched divorce (and they are all wretched), my friend came by every morning to go walking. 9 days out of 10, I did not want to go. I was nuts, really, up too late at night writing endless journals, fighting with my soon-to-be ex, worrying about everything. I had headaches and random physical pains and—oh, yeah. Depressed. Shocking, I know.
10 days out of 10, she calmly and cheerfully insisted that we go anyway. We’d walk four miles around my neighborhood and then she’d go on her way, and I’d discover that—quite to my astonishment—I was actually alive and breathing for one more day. All thanks to Sue, dragging me out. (May the saints sing her name.)
Walking seems like an absurdly simple exercise, doesn’t it? We often discount it because it is simple, and yet, experts say it’s one of the single best things we can do for ourselves, right up there with eating vegetables and giving up the smokes. I am of the belief that even if you smoke and haven’t touched a vegetable in five years, you ought to be walking. Maybe even more so.
Not everyone is capable, I get that. My father has diabetic feet issues and walking is excruciating for him. There are other conditions, too. You know if you are one of the people that absolutely should not walk.
If you’re suffering knee or hip or back problems, however, you might find that walking will help. I had such severe lower back issues when my boys were small that I would sometimes have to sit in a chair to cook breakfast, and as soon as I got them out of the house to school, I’d break down in tears. I resisted anything physical because it hurt. A lot.
A massage therapist who was treating me asked me to start walking around the block a few times a day. I agreed, tearfully. (I was pretty much tearful about everything.) It was embarrassing, hobbling around my block, [...]