Walk/Don't Walk

Let me tell you about something I do that really works, that really benefits my mind, body and spirit. And it's free. If reading about it becomes boring continue anyway, it's worth it!

For years I have been taking a walk. Daily. Not a huge walk but the equivalent of 6 football or soccer fields. I walk outside close to my residence. Luckily, I live in Southern California so I can do that all year round, no snow, no ice. no freezing temperatures.

Why do I walk? I started walking for medical reasons. Serious medical reasons. 

Years before I had a stent implanted in my leg artery (femoral). 7 years later the stent became blocked. Occluded. The blockage was severe and caused horrible cramping and an inability to walk. I went to a cardiac surgeon. Upon testing and imaging et al the doctor informed me that he could not fix or replace the stent, it had become part of my leg and operating on it would be complicated and dangerous and probably wouldn't work. I was scared. It can't be fixed? Would I lose my leg? The surgeon then told me that perhaps walking would work and solve the issue. What? WALKING? He said that with a patient's walking routine sometimes eventually the blood vessels could find a new path, a path around the blocked artery, and deliver blood to the leg and foot via the veins and bypassing the blocked artery. Walking? I said that sounds better than a complicated and dangerous surgery or losing my leg. I would try walking. I started walking the next day. (Please continue, it will be worth it)

I also made a deal with myself, a deal that would guarantee my daily walking. Walking to save my leg. The deal was that I could not eat lunch if I didn't take a walk before lunchtime. Period. I allowed the exception of Sunday. I had to walk 6 days a week, I could take Sundays off.

I started off slowly. And couldn't walk far. Luckily, I didn't have to walk miles or walk fast. After a month or so of daily walking I could do about a third of a mile. My leg felt better and I no longer had cramping. And, when I went back to the surgeon for a follow-up he imaged my leg and said the walking worked. I now had good enough blood flow in my leg. YAY! 

That was years ago. I still walk 6 days a week. The same distance, 6 football fields. I go at my own pace. My daily walk takes 15-20 minutes. And my leg still works. And I found that my walking has other important benefits as well. It has helped me maintain a good weight. And good blood pressure. And it's not a hard contact exercise so it won't murder my joints like other exercises can. I do NOT text or go online, i.e. use my cell phone while taking my outdoor walk, I open my eyes (and my mind) to my surroundings. I also noticed that walking outside daily improves my brain function and my thinking and my clarity. And my outlook. For me, it's also a great stress reliever. Walking resets my mind, body and spirit to a healthy and happy mode. And I get some of my best ideas while walking! Oh, and did I mention, it's FREE!

I see other people out walking. All kinds of people. Young people, old people, and those in between. I see thin people walking and overweight people walking. I see people routinely walking their dogs, or their kids. Or themselves.

Daily walking. Walking for health. Walking for life. It works for me. How about YOU?