THESE SHOES ARE MADE FOR WALKING
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.” Ellen Degeneres
“All truly great things are conceived while walking.” Friedrich Nietzche
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir
“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.” Steven Wright
Like so many times in life, Plan A is sidelined and Plan B takes over. That is the case with this post.
I had a Grand Plan A, and it wasn’t meant to be for this post. Time and circumstances prevented that, and that’s okay. Because, as we all know, life is all about how well we execute Plan B—or C, or D—not how well Plan A comes together.
I can guarantee you that the post I planned is an epic, grand story of sisterhood at its finest. I can guarantee you that it will be posted in the very near future. I can guarantee you that you have never before heard a story like this one about these sisters…
Like so many other ideas, this post came to me while I was running, with Nancy Sinatra on my iPod singing “These Boots Are Made For Walking.” However, my running these last few days, I must admit, has included more walking than usual. Reluctantly taking the advice of a trusted physical therapist colleague, I am incorporating more walking into my run. My daily run that I have taken almost daily for over 28 years. My daily run that is rarely compromised or sacrificed. My daily run that keeps me sane. My daily run that I have come to depend upon as lifesaving medicine. My daily run that has likely caused the knee problems I am experiencing.
The pain is intermittent and tolerable, but consistently increasing over time. The noise my left knee makes seems to be most painful. Going up steps creates a sound much like a percussion instrument. Think of shaking a maraca as you walk up any number of stairs, and you get the idea.
The physical therapist told me I need to give both of my knees more of a rest. I need to incorporate more walking and less running into my daily run. I need to listen to the pain and let them heal a bit.
I am taking his advice. I am walking as well as running, as well as performing the specific exercises he recommended for me. I am realizing I am aging, and my knees are not invincible; not immune from the wear and decline many people experience with age and use.
I am recalling my younger, prouder days of invincibility when I would hear people talk about their previous years of running: “I used to run, but my knees just couldn’t take it anymore.”
“That’s not going to happen to me.” I would magically think. “I don’t have to worry about that.” How arrogant youth can be.
As well as his advice, I am trying to take my own advice: I am practicing gratitude for the fact that my legs work. My work shows me that so many people don’t have this ability.
The wisdom of the ages also tells me that if I use my knees for running every day for almost 30 years, that they will likely wear out faster. This wisdom has also told me that walking is one of the best exercises for anyone.
I recall our mother taking long walks when we were younger; when we were all living at home, and likely making her realize that a long walk was the best much-needed and deserved break she could get from all of us, the best mini-vacation.
She would walk a mile or so down the road, and walk back. It seemed like so far when she would show us in the car how far she had walked, and I remember bragging to a friend who was with us in the car one day, “Mom walked all the way to here and back!”
Now, I realize it was likely the minimal distance required to keep her sanity, to give her a break and to keep her physically fit.
As she aged, she seemed to find it harder to get out the door. I get it; I find it harder, too. I recall encouraging her to get back out there and walk again, because I knew, and she already knew it was good medicine for all that ailed her. I like to think my cheerleading helped her get back in the walking groove, helping her to feel her best. She always said she felt better after she simply went for a walk.
Moving one’s body is the most natural physical thing to do. The human body was created to be a mobile, flexible and on the move. I will reiterate again the words of wisdom from those youthfully aging patients of mine—as well as their family members—the secret to aging well they share with me when I ask: 1: keep moving, and 2: do what makes you happy.
Gail and Suzanne are walkers. Walking is one of their preferred forms of exercise. That, along with riding their bikes. They are biker babes, I am not. They both agree that walking for exercise heals the body, clears the mind and keeps them going physically and mentally. We all took that cue from Mom.
Gail is non-stop, as you likely already gathered. One of her gigs keeps her on her feet late in the evening hours. Walking the next morning gets her in the groove again.
If you don’t already walk for exercise, consider taking that wisdom, along with all the other wisdom from Mom—and from us– we have offered in previous posts.
Gail’s comfy shoes
Suzanne’s comfy shoes
My running/walking shoes. The late-summer stickers are in full bloom.
The only equipment one needs for walking is a comfortable pair of shoes. Comfy and flexible clothes help, but I often take off for a walk in my jeans.
Learning to walk is perhaps one of the two most important milestones of the first year of life—give or take a few months. That, along with the first word, seem to be the two developmental milestones we instinctively look for in a developing infant. “One year, one word,” is the guideline we give parents as speech therapists. Walking typically starts anywhere from 9 months, and can start a few months past a year as well.
Sadly, when an adult suffers a stroke or serious head injury, often times we speak of this tragedy: “They had to learn to walk and talk all over again.” My role is in helping them to talk again, and I watch them as they learn to walk again. I am always reminded to be grateful for these two amazing abilities.
One of the reasons I didn’t get the epic post finished for tonight is because of this:
Along with my husband and younger son, I spent the weekend in Wichita with the grandchildren while their parents were away. He is eleven months old, and is walking quite well. The real fun has begun. Walk on!
Just like in the post three weeks ago, I am again wearing another Life is good shirt. This one happens to say BORN TO RUN. All of, however, are BORN TO WALK.