Who’s Your Walking Buddy?

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I have to confess. Right now I’m without a walking buddy. My walking is suffering!

I love a lot of the stories on Facebook. Yesterday I read about a fairly young man who offers himself to seniors who need a walking buddy. The older man who they interviewed said having the company of his younger friend did him a lot of good. He enjoys the fact that he has lost weight and his blood pressure is down. But what he loves most are the conversations he has every day when he walks with his new friend.

I’m not sure these two have a lot in common and that seems to work out just fine. The older man said he’s learned a lot since walking with his younger walking buddy. The walking buddy says he loves the talks while they walk and he too has learned so much from his new friend.

Years ago, people walked a lot more than they do now. My momma said she and her brothers and sisters always had a very long walk to school. I can only imagine the conversations they had while walking every day. I do know they often had to cut across fields and one day had to run for their lives when the bull came after them!

The Joy of Walking

Over my life, I have had a number of walking buddies. While my kids were still young I went through a rough patch and knew I had to get walking or both my body and my mind were sure to suffer. I live out in the country so my first walk was just down the road. I made it about a half mile before I had to turn back. By the next week I made it a whole mile. My feet hurt and I learned you can spend a lot of money on a pair of tennis shoes and they still might not be great for walking. I also started taking a little radio with me and I’d listen to an old preacher talk about God. I guess he was my first walking buddy! That actually just occurred to me!

Every day I’d walk down that road and feel a great sense of accomplishment when I made it a little farther. First I just got to the dip in the road where there’s a creek and a lovely old house. I listened to the preacher and birds. I loved seeing the sheep, the cows, the vineyards and the changing seasons. I was up to a couple of miles when one of my neighbors noticed I had been walking. She asked to go along. I said, “Of course. But you’ll have to get up early. I start around 5 a.m.”

It was such a blessing to have my friend walk with me. We talked about our kids. We talked about gardening which was a passion for us both. We talked about our childhoods and our spouses. I learned more about my friend from a couple of walks than I had learned about her during 5+ years!

I found that walking was a lot like therapy. No matter what problems I was facing in my life, they seemed to feel smaller when I took a walk. I think we all have tunnel vision at times. Walking down that road and sharing thoughts with a friend or even just walking by myself made me look up at the beautiful sky. It made me look around at all the life being lived by both wild and tame animals. All of it brought joy to my life. It made me appreciate what I did have and gave me more hope for the future.

Therapeutic Benefits of Walking

As you can see, for me walking is not just walking. Walking alone or walking with a friend is truly therapeutic. It’s been a while now since I’ve walked on a regular basis. That’s another gift you get when you have a walking buddy. You might not always feel like getting up and out but you know someone you care for is counting on you.

Don’t wait until the arthritis and the aches and pains keep you from getting out. Had I kept up my walking I’m sure I would have as much trouble with my bones as I’m facing now. I know the stress of dealing with my aging parents would be lessened if I took a long walk each day.

But I’m not giving up. It’s time to put a garden in so it will help me get in shape. Now you all go out and find that walking buddy!

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