Daily exercise this month consists largely of walks, with just occasional days suitable for kayaking. Due to the rain these walks often end up being along roads, the same roads, day after day. Frequently I walk alone. I have been reflecting on what stops it becoming tedious? What I have realised is that for me going out each day for exercise can have different savours.
Often I set out with a particular purpose. It may be that my fit app. prompts me to choose a route to meet a target. In that case I stride out at a steady pace, conscious only of the rhythm of my movements, enjoyment is in the action itself. I’m like a little wind up toy, mechanically performing my task.
Another day I might want to either; clear my thoughts of anxieties that crowd in, or conversely, focus my thoughts. When I’m preparing to work on my story writing I like to immerse myself. It helps to live out the scenes in my mind, so that when I come to write I’ve already performed some of the editing . As I walk I’m trying out scenarios filtering, adapting and imagining them so that I can come home and describe them.
On either of those sorts of walks it helps to be solitary, and weather, or the scenery, even passers by, do not really register.
Some days I go out specifically to notice my surroundings. My pace is slow, and stops can be frequent. I’ve at last remembered to put a light pair of binoculars in my bag! I’m constantly surprised and delighted at what I see and hear.These are the walks when I lose track of time and my feet drag homeward. They often inspire me to write, create art or they may just spark joy.
So many other people are out taking their exercise that a walk can evolve into a social event. Liberated from the demands of normal life, folk have time and want to chat. Albeit from a distance. It’s impossible to plan such walks but they are valuable and combat feelings of loneliness.
Sometimes a walk can be unplanned, just a means to an end, shopping, dropping off or collecting something, but once I’m out and about, I keep going!
Not all my walks are solitary. I do occasionally walk with one of my friends, and each of them brings their unique own flavour. I look forward to walks with groups of friends soon, but I hope I won’t forget the benefits I have discovered in daily walking.