• Helen Ferguson

The Power of Walking

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

See what I did there?

Power…….Walking…...Power Walking!

The Therapy of Walking

One of my great loves in life, is a really good walk.

A power walk, a long walk, a scenic walk, a bush walk.

I love all of it.

Walking is my meditation, my exercise and my me-time, all rolled into one.

If I don't walk regularly, when life sometimes disrupts my routine, I notice the negative effects pretty quickly. Conversely, when I get back into my groove and walk every day, for the specific purpose of exercising my body, the benefits are almost immediate and absolutely marvelous.

Forming Good Habits

I was always a walker by default.

My childhood was the type where a 15 minute stroll to and from school, ‘hail rain or shine’, everyday was the norm. As a penniless student in London, walking just that bit further so that you could board a bus or the Tube in a cheaper zone was par for the course……..or just walk the whole way and ignore the Tube completely.

I was in my mid 20's when it dawned on me that I enjoyed walking for the sheer sake of it, and only then did it occur to me to don a pair of training shoes and actively leave the house for the specific act of 'going for a walk'. The free entertainment value of roaming around a city for an afternoon, taking in the sights, ducking into a small lane of shops and galleries, eventually stopping for a coffee and some people watching, is a joy that has never jaded to this day.

Through my 30's and 40's I pounded the pavement more days than I didn't and by that, I mean for at least 30 continuous minutes, more typically an hour. I generally averaged 6kms in an hour and I would work up a decent sweat, get the blood pumping and feel my breath become something that required a bit of focus.

Sometimes I focused on the number of steps each day, aiming for the recommended 10,000 steps, but that wore thin pretty quickly and risked turning my walk into a chore.

I've always used my daily constitutional as a way to get time for myself.

I will walk and talk with friends, very happily, but an early morning march alone with my thoughts, and the occasional jogger, is a blissful way to start a busy day.

Sitting in my car or at a desk for the rest of my working day is far less irritating when I know that I've notched up some good quality cardio already.

I Lost my Mojo!

The horrendous bush-fires here in Sydney during the Summer of 2019/2020 made the air quality so poor, that being outside to exercise was unappealing, practically impossible and utterly ill advised.

I really lost my mojo and my walking became sporadic.

Very easily a good habit, once interrupted, fell away.

My body noticed almost immediately. Aches and pains began to appear, stiffness in my hips, a hard to pinpoint dull ache in my lower back all took their toll and I became more attracted to my couch than I had ever been before. (For further reading click here)

I kept vowing to get back into my walking shoes …..tomorrow…...I'll start Monday…..

Blah blah blah.

Finally, in March, we welcomed a 4 month old Jack Russell rescue puppy into our lives.

OMG! Smitten in the most overwhelming way!

Even going into Covid Social Isolation and home-schooling 2 days later had a rosy glow around it, because, you know, puppy!

Together, he and I had a daily appointment with the great outdoors. Side streets, sports fields, bush tracks and river banks became our beloved territory as we learned all about each other.

100 Days of Walking

I set myself a target of significant walking every day for 100 days.

Smiling, waving and socially distancing with other human/dog combos became a pleasing and gentle way to pass an hour each day.

It was more of a civilised amble than a power walk, but delightful and social nonetheless.

It reignited my love of walking.

My mind started turning ideas over whilst roaming the local avenues and pathways.

Slowly, the early shape of ‘Her Middle Age’ began to emerge, and became a persistent track for my thoughts.

Each walk helped uncover another angle or layer, gradually revealing itself.

Until, light bulb moment; why not have a strand of this project that can intertwine walking with talking to some of my middle aged muses?

See what bears fruit?

Some conversations should absolutely be focused, some interviews should be structured and recorded in a business like manner.

But some conversations, surely they can meander like a good stroll and see where you end up!

So, here I go, hitting the pavement, recording device in hand, suggested route on my phone.

Some days I will have interesting companions alongside of me, other days the consorts will be my surroundings and my camera.

Let's see where we end up!!!!!

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