Reading time: two minutes.
This is timely! This week’s greatest advice I’ve heard from you, participants at our retreats, is in the physical wellbeing category. So as we all prepare to exercise the Spirit’s gift of self-control at the Thanksgiving feast, how about some wisdom from the body of Christ? Here’s what I hear from those at our retreats who have discovered a measure of physical fitness in their walk of faith.
Get it? Their walk of faith? Sometimes this “walk” is not a metaphorical journey to heaven, but an actual “put on your shoes, get out the door and take a walk” kind of walk. That’s good advice. The one thing I hear from more of you than anything else is the discipline of a daily fitness walk.
Let’s tackle some of the obstacles to taking a good walk every day.
“W” is for weather. Don’t let the weather stop you. Bundle up in the cold. Get out early before it gets hot. Go to the mall. Find a bargain treadmill on Craigslist. Have a plan for taking a walk every day, even if the weather is lousy.
I used to visit a homebound member whose 90 year old husband, Walter, was told by his doctor to walk 30 minutes every day. They lived in a small house, but Walter cleared a 50 foot long track through the junk in his basement for days when the weather was bad,
Make a plan for bad weather days.
“A” is for altitude. Try to build in some elevation change in your walk. We live in a hilly neighborhood and I notice the difference when I walk a flat route. It’s harder to get my heart rate up.
Look for some steps at the mall or in a park. Plan your route to take advantage of any hills or slopes in your area. Have an altitude attitude when you walk. Be on the lookout for adding a little extra effort to your daily walk.
“L” is for length. This works two ways. If you’re new at walking, start measuring your walk with the clock. Do you find yourself tired out after ten minutes? Stay with it until you can extend your walk to fifteen, then twenty and finally thirty minutes.
Then think about extending your walk by length in miles. Our regular thirty-five minute morning walk is a little less than two and a half miles. When we have time, we take a five mile walk. Have a “long walk” route available for days when you can stretch it out.
“K” is for “Keep it up.” A sedentary lifestyle catches up with you. Daily walking is a lifetime commitment to good health. I have friends with arthritis and even multiple sclerosis who have committed themselves to a daily walk. “Use it or lose it” is really true.
You won’t ever notice the impact of skipping your daily walk once a week, but falling out of the habit entirely will eventually catch up with you.
This Thanksgiving, have some turkey with stuffing and a slice of pie. Then take a walk. And another on Friday. That’s good advice that I hear from you over and over.
Thanks for reading.
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