Day 23: Walking

After a health issue (really lets name it for what it was I had a heart attack a year and 1/2 ago) I spend a lot of time walking. The heart is a muscle and it needs to be used. Yes, it works all day everyday but it needs to be pushed, motivated to strengthen itself and to keep all those passageways clear. So I walk.

What I find interesting is how we all walk but we each have our own cadence. Our own rhythm to our step. It is not just the speed that I sense as I walk along with others but the swing of their bodies or the stiffness that they bring to their movements. Their walking reflects so much of who they are.

morning walk.JPGYesterday I walked first in the morning alone. I try to walk quickly to raise my heart rate. I also try to walk with a relaxed feeling to my shoulders. My head up to see the coming morning and my arms swinging to create an ease to the walk. This walk makes me feel happy and wakes me up.

Later in the day I walked with my friend a few blocks from where we parked to a conservatory to view the new spring flower display. We were in no hurry and were out for fun. She is a shorter person than I and walks with fire in her step. She talks in a friendly and relaxed manner but her walk tells you something different. She has a mission to complete and we need to get there and enjoy those tulips now!  There is not a lot of patiences como.JPGfor the large group of older ladies slowly toddling ahead of us.

Then evening came and it was just nice enough, even with old dying snow piles around, to walk to our favorite little restaurant and bar. So we walked, my husband and I. He loves to walk as well. He loves to take his time. I can’t say he is a slow walker although he never matches my early morning walking pace. He has a grace to his stride, a purpose to enjoy the moment and the time we spend walking. He is all about the present moment. We head out on our walk and talk. We chat, watch the changes in the neighborhood and enjoy the evening both coming and going.

With each walk I changed my pace to join that of my walking companion. Each time I feel the swing of this friend and partner, the movement that motivates them as a person.

I wondered what did they sense about me? What does my walking gait tell others about who I am? Do they sense the change that I know is there?

I know that years ago my walk had a driven feel to it. My head pulled forward leading me in a hurry to get where I was going, always. It had a tension of stiff muscles and sore joints. I had a hip that ached with every long walk, a shoulder or headache that answered the tightness of my thinking. It was not a pretty picture.

My walking cadence has change. It has changed with focus and an effort to move differently. Once I began to move differently I also began to feel differently. I don’t walk any slower. I still love the speed with which I walk but the rest of my body relaxes into that tempo and enjoys the day. It makes walked a wonderful event.

Although I love walking with friends and family I also really value those morning solo walks where I can fall into my own stride, let my mind wander and enjoy the world waking up as I speed by with my arms swinging with the joy of the day.

beard bridge.JPG


Do you walk? What does your walk tell you about your self?

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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9 Responses to Day 23: Walking

  1. I do walk. You have made me think of my different types of walks. And what they say about me. Hmmmmm???

  2. Trina Haase says:

    I walk every morning with my dogs, and often I walk twice-even when it is super cold out! I cherish the time alone because it just lets me think, but I also enjoy when I walk with friends. You are right, often my pace and gait changes, depending who I am walking with!

    The photos your posted are amazing!

  3. This is a beautifully crafted post. Your love of walking and the joy it brings are evident. The pictures are delightful as well. Walking is a great joy of mine too. It brings me peace, opens my eyes to new ideas and often inspires my writing.

  4. mgminer says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts. I wish you continued health. I know how scary heart attacks can be (My father survived 8 and struck out in the 9th). I set a walking goal this year – March was a bit of a slump, but your post has given me new resolve. I always love walking – it’s the stopping other things to get out there that’s hard for me. Thank you!

  5. arjeha says:

    Walking was one of the things my doctor recommended for me after my bypass surgery. I enjoy solo walks because I can walk at my own pace and not have to slow down or quicken my steps to keep up with someone else.

  6. Rick Mareske says:

    You’re essay reminds me of how impatient i can be of other’s pace. I remember studying Tai Chi years ago and walking in the city with a friend and feeling frustrated because i wanted to feel my weight shift from side to side and he wanted to follow his nose and get somewhere.
    I think about trying to walk with my wife but I can’t seem to walk slow enough. In my mind I’m like my dog racing ahead. “You’re going this way, right? Oh, ok, that way then.”
    I love walking on my property up the long hill. Sometimes I’m relaxed and powerful or slow and thoughtful. Sometimes I’m tired from a day of moving heavy things around or from picking, digging, planting, stooping, crawling and I can feel my muscles question, “what the hell are you doing?”
    When at my job, do I take the time to sustainably walk across campus to the Office of Sustainability or drive across campus so I can get frustrated lookng for a parking place? I continue to do both sometimes almost running, late for a meeting and sometimes at my pace and enjoying the moment, and sometime walking with someone, talking and not even aware of my feet.

  7. ureadiread says:

    Beautiful ad reflective. I’d be that friend on her way to the tulips…except when I walk alone. And, though I rarely fit them in, there is nothing quite like the early morning jaunt. I used to walk from school to the river for crew practice and I’d leave extra time to savor the soft light and mist rolling up off the water before anyone else arrived.

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