Walking a Mile in A Dude Abikes’ Shoes
“Walking is a man’s best medicine.”
“Also, a woman’s.”
— A Dude Abikes
When this month and year began, I somehow tricked myself into committing to walk for 30 minutes every day. No big deal, lots of people do that and much more. Many people run for way more miles and hours. Millions, nay billions of people, may not even have access to bikes. Others are wheelchair-bound or have just one or even no or prosthetic legs. My bicycling 10,000 miles in two years may seem impossible to some, but it’s a piece of cake for others. So hard or challenging varies based on many factors.
But for me, who used to enjoy running before weight gain, age, foot and joint pain set in, it is a big deal. So far, through three days of juice fasting and a week of vegan food that resulted in anemia, sub-freezing temperatures, flare-ups of plantar fasciitis (which is not related to having a proto-fascist in the US White House), and now being wiped out from cedar fever, I have somehow managed to keep at it. Has it helped? Let me walk you through it. A Dude has puns, ya’ll.
But first, a picture of lunch. What I can tell you about this walking experiment is that I’m glad I’m doing it but it’s not been easy with the ailments I mentioned. Biking by comparison is relatively easy in some ways, with hills, momentum and of course A Dude’s favorite part: sitting down. However, in seeking to be a little less of a fathlete, I believe walking is a key component of overall health.
You Gotta Walk Before You Can Run
Not only is weight-based exercise good for the old bones, there’s something peaceful about a good walk. You can empty your mind by feeling the rhythmic swaying of your arms, the wind, sun, rain, look at your surroundings a lot more carefully than if you’re whizzing by on a bicycle (or a motorized vehicle), and even talk to your neighbors. So why not do it more? Well, it’s slow and inefficient. Running would burn more calories, which I need to do to reduce my weight. (Hey, I’m in shape! Round is a shape.) But running is hard on the joints and feet and so I plan to walk until I can run, if I ever do. Here is a chart from Strava showing all the walks I’ve done, although they’re only indicated by “XT;” you have to look at each day to see them:
The Benefits of Moving, The Benefits of Ooh… Feelin’ Good
The politics of dancing
The politics of ooh feeling good
The politics of moving, aha
If this message’s understood
— Re-Flex, The Politics of Dancing, 1983
Somehow these lyrics popped into my head and I went to find the music. This was and still is a seriously good jam with a great video. The point being 1) A Dude has been around a while and 2) moving is good for you. Here’s an article citing various studies about why walking is good for you. Assuming it’s not like you have chronic issues say balancing. Speaking of the 80’s, another tune comes to mind:
“And after all the violence and double talk
There’s just a song in all the trouble and the strife
You do the walk, do the walk of life
Hm, you do the walk of life.
— Dire Straits, “The Walk of Life” 1985
We’ll see if the walking helps with weight, mood, strength and so on. I’m sure it does at some level, though I’m not walking very briskly most of the time. But as usual, my message is if I can do it — start a new healthy habit and stick to it for a month, hopefully longer, and not caring if I’m doing it perfectly — most of you can too. If music helps, by all means take it with you — as long as you can hear bicyclists coming up from behind you and cars, too. So what’s keeping you from getting out there for a nice saunter, stroll, mosey, amble, or a constitutional?
Are you a daily walker? How do you manage when weather’s bad or you just don’t feel like it? Have you noticed any changes from doing it?
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