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Shift Awareness with Walking Shoes
The list of effects that stress can have on your mental status (feelings, thoughts, and emotions) include worrying, anxiety, a lack of focus, anger, and irritability which can all, over time, lead to an overwhelming depression and other cognitive maladies. You want to take action to prevent those negative consequences of the harmful effects which the chemical compounds of stress produce over time. And don’t let the high costs of gyms and fitness equipment be an excuse because walking is an activity that will cost you virtually nothing.
Walking gets you out and about seeing different things which can lead to a shift in your cognitive perspective. Many people who walk regularly in their own neighborhoods the phenomenon of seeing something they never noticed before every time. I know it happens to me and I find it curiously uplifting. This kind of conscious attention and awareness that a good stretch of the legs fosters can nudge your brain into seeing a solution to a problem you’ve never thought of before.
Motoring under your own steam provides the opportunity to get outside ourselves both physically and mentally. Whatever stressors you may be feeling could wind up seeming a whole lot less significant as the road or trail unwinds to give you a fresh perspective or even to get you to just forget the problem entirely for a little while.
Seize Our Days
Perhaps, if you’re walking through your hometown, the belfry of some old church or municipal building will chime with that recognizable four note crescendo, then the four notes descending, followed by the tolling of the bell to announce the time. I’m sure the musical sequence of that particular chime has a name but I’m leaving it out here because we’re talking about walking to reduce things down to their essence.
Think about how many folks have tread this way before you and how many of them are dead now. If they could speak to you they would surely espouse the folly of wasting your live-long days with worry about anything you can’t control. I sat by the banks of the Seine in Paris once, gazing at the Cathedral of Notre Dame for hours transfixed by that thought. I find it comforting, maybe I’m not alone. The majority of your psycho-social worries are just a huge waste of cognitive energy so just learn to walk your way out of them. Don’t wait until you’re on your death bed to realize that. Also, I like to think about that character ‘Moonlight Graham’ from Field of Dreams when I’m out strolling at night and his query “Do you think there’s enough magic in the moonlight out there to make something like that happen?” Walk away from your rut and into a world of endless possibilities.
A brisk walk will also improve and enhance your mental clarity. Studies have even shown that it can improve memory skills. I know for myself that when I’m done with a walk I am more appreciative of people and places. And the older folks I know who make this a part of their daily lives are vigorous and young at heart. The World renowned Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/SM00060 offers an excellent schedule for beginning walkers to abide by, which might be kind of easy for some of you but when you work to constantly better yourself and reach goals you’ll improve your self esteem as well.
Now that you have a firm grasp of the mental and physical advantages of exercising on foot I shall take you one step further into the spiritual realm to ponder as you walk in the sunlight of the spirit.