Neighborhood Walk Stories: Walking Story 1

"Spring in London" by Mee Lin Woon
One of the chief components of the Nedley lifestyle approach to overcoming depression is exercise, and one of the least intimidating forms of exercise for most people is simple walking. So, in the first evening we talked about starting an exercise plan, and I, for one, will be starting out with walking.

We are to aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise a day,
or 4x40-minute brisk walks a week. We have been given a way of measuring whether we are applying the right steam to our walk: it's called the Sing-Talk technique. If we can sing while walking we are not walking fast enough-- if we cannot talk without huffing and puffing, we are walking too fast.

This morning while we were on our first walk (recorded on a chart) with our dog Zoe, we came across one of our 'walking role model couples', Fran and John (not their real names). They are in their mid-70s and make a couple of loops of our neighborhood streets at a pace that would definitely leave me huffing and puffing, if I could even keep up. My husband asked how long they had been walking together daily (at least the 6 years that we have lived in the neighborhood they have). They looked at each other with that searching look that couples have and then John said,

"What a good question! I guess we've been doing this since 1996 after we came back from a cruise." (That's 15 years!)

Apparently on the cruise the ship's Recreation Director had put together an incentive program wherein the recreation participants could earn "coupons" for walking around the deck so many times each day. The coupons could then be traded in for a t-shirt.

John wasn't really a walker at the time,
in fact, he had a pretty belligerent case of asthma that acted up if he exerted himself too much. But, for whatever reason, he set out to get himself a t-shirt on this cruise. And he did the required walking. He caught the eye of the (young? pretty?) Recreation Director who commented to his wife, "I notice that John really got into the walking-- I hope he keeps it up when he leaves here." And he/they did.

The asthma? Gone with the Wind.

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Turn off the news. Throw away the newspaper. Get outside and go for a walk. Dr. Christiane Northrup said going for a walk is a perfectly acceptable form of treatment for certain types of depression!