I rather enjoy walking. I have a route that I walk daily. It is up one side of a steep hill and then down the other side. After I complete the hill, I turn around and walk it again from the opposite direction. My daily walk is a little less than two miles and takes me about a half hour to complete.
I also do pushups and sit ups. I try and do at least 50 of each. Sometimes I don't do that many and sometimes it is embarrassing when other people in my family watch.
"Hey dad. I don't think that's a proper push up." Said my very knowledgeable daughter. "I think you have to go all the way down."
"It is so proper. You don't have to drop your belly on the ground; all you have to be is horizontal. That's how we did them in the Army."
My daughter shook her head. "You probably were able to do them that way because you were a First Sergeant and no one had the nerve to argue with you."
"My dear," said I in a condescending tone. "I'm doing a proper push up. I can show you what is proper. I have a copy of Army Field Manual 21-20."
I started to do sit ups; more comments ensued: "Shouldn't your back be flat with the floor?" asked my wife.
I replied: "No, all you need to do is have your back touch the floor, and your elbows touch your knees."
Both my wife and daughter giggled. At that point I realized that I was being teased.
I used to jog. I liked jogging, because it appeared to be lots more macho than just walking. I wore a fancy jogging suit, and would always attempt to run a bit faster if I thought people were watching. I started to notice that running appeared to be a bit rough on my joints; jogging became more painful then fun.
I stopped exercising for a while. I spent a lot of time at my computer, watched lots of television, and I started leaving permanent indentations in the cushions of my La-Z-boy lounger. I noticed two things, my weight started to increase and so did my blood pressure.
Ever so often, I am encouraged to check in with my doctor. It had been almost a year since I spent any time consulting with him so I made an appointment.
I arrived at the Doctors office and I didn't wait long before the nurse called my name. She had me step up on the scale and weighed me.
"Hmmm," she said, "looks as if you have put on a few pounds."
I mumbled "I probably should have emptied my pockets."
She didn't reply, but had me sit down and took my blood pressure.
"Hmmm 155 over 87. Looks as if your blood pressure is a bit high." She wrote something down on my chart and walked out of the examining room.
My doctor came in, probed me, poked me and did all the things that doctors do when they examine people.
"What sort of an exercise program do you have?" He asked.
"Uuuuh I spend lots of time running my TV remote and I play computer games."
"I don't think you are getting enough exercise." He said. Your weight and blood pressure are up, your cholesterol and triglycerides levels are unsatisfactory. You're not getting any younger, and I would like to think that you still have some good years left. Exercise is good for your heart, it can lower your blood pressure, and cholesterol. Exercise builds and maintains healthy muscles, bones and joints and it will reduce a person's risk of developing colon cancer or diabetes. It can also improve a person's psychological well being."
I smiled " I'm a happy person. I think I am psychologically well, I used to run, but it was pretty hard on my joints."
"Why don't you walk? You can get the same benefit from walking for a half hour a day, that you can get from running. It is also lots less stressful on your joints.
I brightened. "Sounds good to me."
"Remember Bill, exercise is lots better than the alternative."
I didn't have to ask him what the "alternative" might be and decided that I would make an effort to exercise daily.
I try to walk briskly and I do put some effort and a bit of drama into my daily walk. One friend followed me in his car and told me that he thought that I looked like Forest Gump.
I discovered that time goes by faster when I walk and have someone to talk to. I will often telephone people in my family and talk to them while I am walking. I use a hands free blue tooth and I have also managed to engender some strange looks from people who see me walking along the road seemingly talking to myself.
I don't care. I am happy to walk. I am happy to exercise. I am happy because I am improving my health and my psychological well being. Everyone can use some good mental health Not only is my mental health improved but so is my cholesterol, triglycerides and my blood pressure.
Extending ones life is a great thought. I would heartily recommend it for others as well.
I rather like walking, how about you?