It’s not just about the exercise. As Henry David Thoreau said, “I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks—who had a genius, so to speak, for SAUNTERING…” No disrespect, but this guy really liked his walks! And so do I.
My long, thoughtful walks started early in my years with my dad, a master of sauntering: Around his neighborhood, over the creek looking for crawdads, talking about how the weather works, buying a coffee at the convenience store, then returning to his warm apartment. Before dinner, after dinner, it didn’t matter when, how, or where. We would just walk. Those are some of my best childhood memories. The memories I am most thankful for. Not the food feasts or holiday presents, but the slow, whimsical walks shared with friends and family out in nature, or even in a concrete neighborhood. There is something about walking that warms and lets your heart out, the perfect way to connect with other people. That is why every Holiday, I invite anyone and everyone to walk with me.
It is said that walking is the perfect exercise for the body. Because it is low stress on the body, but more importantly, I think, because it reduces stress on the mind. With our lives as busy as they are these days, how can we afford not to stop for half an hour to take a walk?
Having trouble getting the kids out to walk? Here are some tips I’ve learned from personal experience:
·Change the name – Don’t call it a “hike” or even a “walk” if that tends to incite a riot. We use the word “adventure” in our house. (they still whine sometimes)
·Point out every cool thing you see along the way: animals, acorns, sticks, bugs. Have the kids collect things as they go along.
·If all else fails, just take them anyway. They may whine the whole time. Just ignore that, they will catch on to the fun part eventually.