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.
Yesterday 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 for 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.
Do you walk? What does your walk tell you about your self?