Life is a marathon, not a sprint. As a sprinter in my athletic career, I was trained and coached to hone my ‘fast twitch fibers,’ work out hard and rest amply. Taper time was my absolute favorite, which followed an intense overtraining period to give your body a chance to recover and ready for upcoming high level competition. I loved the week before Big 10’s when I could swim substantially fewer miles, rest more and converse heartily with my teammates. Anyone who was a competitive swimmer (and sprinter) can relate.
This philosophy also applies to how we live our lives. Way back when, people walked everywhere – to friends, the market, wherever. Then came horses, which sped up our ability to get to our destinations more quickly. Next the bicycle, automobile, mass transit and airplanes. In our ever searching quest to get to places more quickly, we have left behind our ability to slow down and enjoy the pace of the walk.
Recovering from my surgeries last year, the one thing I could do was walk. The list of so many things I couldn’t do frustrated me, so I focused my positive healing energies on this one thing I was allowed to do. Right after surgery it was walking around the hospital wing corridor. After I got home, it was to the end of the block, then one mile and so on. Not only did walking help me recover faster, but it got me off the sofa and into the great outdoors to discover the wonders of nature. Not to mention the health and weight loss benefits as well! Last weekend I walked 13 miles on Sunday and 7.5 miles on Monday as part of my training for the upcoming Avon 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk in Chicago (June 2-3).
Where I am today is so far from where I was just over a year ago when I struggled to make it to the end of the block and back. I’m finding a ‘walking high’ the longer I go. I experience the spring blossoms that I would not be able to smell on my bicycle or miss completely in my car. I am part of the rhythm of the bicycle path, feeling one with my surroundings and my mind is able to release stresses of pent up thoughts and worries, release them and allow new thoughts to envelop my self. Walking is now simply the best activity for me right now. It is the right pace to see everything and feel part of my environment. It has helped me lose 23 pounds since the first of the year, has improved my attitude and may hold the key to developing a new business idea.
So, I’m recommending you ditch your car or bike every now and then and opt for a nice long walk. It is addictive and a secret to stimulating your brain to emit innovative and creative ideas. You don’t need to be sitting at a computer or your desk at work to think, simply go for a walk. It is therapy, but also brings back a pace to your life and reminder to slow down and enjoy the walk and marathon of life.
P.S. The photo above was taken outside the Apple store in Lincoln Park during a training walk a few weeks ago in Chicago. And yes, sitting at the table is my oldest son, Kyle, who had just sold me my new iPhone a few minutes earlier.