Shortly after the story of the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes begins, Mary starts walking in the evenings. While she’s been fairly active all her life, winter for many in Nova Scotia doesn’t provide much opportunity for outdoor activities unless you embrace the cold and love snow and ice.
With mild weather casting off winter’s slumber, Mary feels the need to get outside more and walk to the nearby park that has trails through the woods and along a lake. It’s a popular place for adults and children. There are even ducks.
Mary quickly learns that walking is reshaping her body. To be more exact, her legs are becoming stronger, she’s toning muscle and losing the extra weight winter hibernation added on.
My Love of Hiking
I’ve always been a hiker, a walker in the woods, but with work, kids and other responsibilities, I didn’t get onto the trails as much as I wanted to. Two years ago, I decided to change that.
I started small, just a kilometre. I’d walk every day it didn’t raining. Each trip out, I’d walk one more lamp pole length until I hit 5 km in one direction. After that, at least four times a week, I’d hit the road and walk that 5-km strip, which totalled 10 km per trip. The changes to my body were subtle, but what incredible changes they were.
I’m certain there were changes I couldn’t measure, such as the increased strength of my lungs. However, the things I could measure were impressive. Besides being able to walk that distance faster over time without getting out of breath, my calf muscles became leaner, I lost weight, my knees grew stronger and I could bend easier. The injury in my left knee went into hibernation. I think the muscles around the knee grew so strong, I no longer felt the injury. It was still there, and when I walked less in winter, it showed itself.
During my walks, I would think about my stories and scribble down on the scrap paper I carried anything I didn’t want to forget.
A quick search in the old InterWeb, reveals the top benefits of walking.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
- Strengthen your bones and muscles.
- Improve your mood.
- Improve your balance and coordination.
No Training or Equipment Required
Walking is something almost everyone can do; you need only comfortable footwear unless you do as I do sometimes and walk a beach or grassy trails, then I go barefoot. Where I live, people walk by the house every day. They walk at different times and different speeds. Some are old, some are young. One woman wears braces.
If you want to get into shape and all you have is a pair of shoes and a little extra time, start walking. It doesn’t matter how fast you go or how far. Just start, and you’ll find yourself going farther and faster as you rack up the miles. That’s the wonderful thing about walking; you can do it at your own pace and when your body is ready, you can increase your distance a little bit at a time.
And here’s a secret: it’s absolutely free.
Today is launch day for the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes. The first chapter is available on its book page on this website. It is available exclusively at Amazon, so if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, you read for free.
There’s only one negative thing about walking: I can’t read and walk. Or at least I shouldn’t.