ANN BAILEY: Exercise is good for the body and soulFor the past couple of years, part of my daily routine has been to take one of our dogs for a walk. Being fit always has been important to me. I pay attention to my health because I want to be around a long time and will do everything I can to make that happen.
For the past couple of years, part of my daily routine has been to take one of our dogs for a walk.
Most often, I take Rosebud, my daughter Ellen’s golden retriever. Our yellow Labs, Minnie and Maggie, usually go running with my husband, Brian, so all three get plenty of exercise.
During the past few months, which have been hectic at work, my walks have fallen by the wayside. It’s been either too dark outside when I get home or I haven’t had enough energy to do anything but visit with my family for a few minutes before heading to bed.
This past week, I decided to make Rosebud’s walk an essential part of my day again. Rosebud is getting a little chunky around the middle, and I feel like I’m not as fit as I would like.
Being fit always has been important to me. I pay attention to my health because I want to be around a long time and will do everything I can to make that happen.
I’m also competitive and surrounded by family members who are fit. My sons, Brendan and Thomas, are in football, wrestling and track during the school year. In the summer, they play baseball, run 5Ks and do workouts to prepare them for the upcoming football season. My daughter, Ellen, is in softball this summer and does the football workouts with her brothers.
Meanwhile, Brian runs 5Ks and 10Ks. half-marathons and marathons.
Given the rest of my family’s level of activity, going for walks seems like the least I can do.
Walking down our gravel roads at a brisk pace with Rosebud gets my heart pumping at a good rate, while at the same time, calms my spirits. During my walks, I can think and pray, and then clear my head of work-related stress.
Put in perspective
Although, it’s pretty easy to find excuses not to walk, invariably I’m glad when I do it. There’s something about being out in the wide-open spaces and observing the natural world around me that helps me put life in perspective.
I enjoy the up-close view of the corn, wheat and bean fields that I don’t get during my “windshield tours.” I noticed this past week, for example, that the cornfields by our house are about a month ahead of last year’s crop and that the edible beans don’t appear to have succumbed to the late frost we had at the end of May.
Walking in the “vast lane” also helps me put my place in the universe in perspective. I realize that I am a small part of something much bigger. I share the world not just with my family, neighbors, friends and other people, but also with creatures that walk, crawl and fly and with a variety of plant life. My farmer father taught me that, as stewards of the land we should respect them, and I do.
I enjoy seeing the deer eating grass along the roadsides, the gophers hightailing it for holes along the gravel roads, the butterflies and dragon flies flitting about and the birds flying high overhead. I’m a pretty intense person, and being in the midst of the natural world, helps me decompress.
On the days Brian or one or more of the children walk with me, it gives us a chance to visit or talk about our day at the same time we observe the natural world together.
Given the mental and physical benefits of a walk down our country roads — a nature club open 24-7 that requires no special equipment and no membership — I really don’t have a good reason not to do it. I plan to get back in the habit of hitting the gravel with Rosebud in tow (or the other way around, depending on Rosebud’s energy) several days a week.
Reach Bailey at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.