Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm walkin', yes, indeed...

In this hot and humid corner of the world, the best time for walking for exercise this time of year is very early in the morning. Later in the day, even late in the afternoon, the heat makes the experience most unpleasant if not unbearable. And so, I've been trying to do my walking early in the morning, and seven o'clock this morning found my husband and me at a local park hitting the trails for the next hour. Even at that, I was drenched in sweat by the end of the hour and had to go home and change my clothes.

But as I was walking, I was thinking about walking and its place in our lives. Mostly we do it for exercise. We don't do it to actually go from one place to another or as a normal part of our daily routine. We have to make the effort to walk, and often, like this morning, we have to first drive somewhere in order to do our walking. How different from the custom that exists in much of the world, even in this era of the automobile.

In many if not most countries, even western countries, people do actually walk from one place to another. Even in this country, in many of the large cities, people do still walk to work or to shop. But in Houston and its environs and in other sprawling cities like it, it seems that walking is an unknown and, in fact, an impossible concept. For one thing, everything is just so spread out that walking to the places we need to go isn't really feasible. For another, the climate here usually makes it impractical. For confirmation, just reread that last sentence in my first paragraph.

But our bodies were born to walk. Our legs were meant to carry us wherever we needed to go, and that old adage about "if you don't use it, you lose it"? Well, there is a lot of truth in that. I have this theory that very many of the ills that are so common to our society today, from diabetes to heart disease, are a direct result of our failure to use our legs as they were intended. Oh, sure, bad diet plays its part, too, but even a bad diet can be at least partially overcome by good exercise. That's my hope anyway, and so, I'm walkin'...

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