Sunday, July 31, 2011

Go for a Walk

Carlo Tardani- Flickr

In my opinion, the absolute simplest way to make anything better is to go for a walk. Have a headache? Go for a walk. Writer's block? Go for a walk. Feeling guilty that you ate an entire roll of frozen cookie dough? Go for a walk.

I'm pretty lucky because I live with the ultimate walking companion:


A dog is basically a furry treadmill that wiggles too much for you to hang clothes on. And, unlike the actual treadmill, you can't avoid walking with them or they will poop on your floor.

I love going for a little walk (about a mile) with Oscar almost every day. I get to be outside for a few minutes, which seems to be a great mood enhancer. Also I get out in the sun a little, so I make some vitamin D (it's amazing how many Floridians have a deficiency!). Being out walking gives me some quiet time to think, and it really seems like I can solve some problems while I'm out there. When I was in nursing school, if I got stuck writing a paper, I found that a 20-30 minute walk usually helped me get unstuck. Now that I am working 12 hour shifts as a nurse, a little walk after work helps me let go of the day so that I don't lay awake at night re-living it.

When I travel, walking is my favorite way to explore an unfamiliar city. It seems like you can go slowly and really look around in a way that's impossible by car or bus. If you want to stop somewhere unexpectedly, you just have to do it- no looking for parking involved. Being on foot makes it possible to really experience the sounds and smells of the community, read signs, stop for street performers, and chat with strangers.

Right now in Gainesville we are having 102-heat index days with 50-60% (or more) humidity, which means my long Oscar walks are limited to early morning and late evening. We take a quick bathroom break in the middle of the day, but it's pure misery. I keep trying to remind myself that days like these make me more grateful when the fall weather arrives. For now, I am grateful for antiperspirant and air conditioning.

So long for now, try not to melt, don't forget to KISS (keep it simple stupid), and take a little walk now and then!

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