Four Seasons of Walking
Health & Exercise

Four Seasons of Walking

I just got back from walking today and thought I’d write a little while I cool down. Today’s walk was much different than yesterday’s. Today it was cloudy, cool, and windy. Yesterday it was sunny, hot, and windy. Typically the only constant is the wind. When you have four seasons, you learn what it takes to walk in all conditions.

Today’s walk was actually easier than yesterday’s. I could breathe!! I walked farther and faster. Let’s just say, it felt better today.

My plan was to write about this about 8 months ago when I’d completed an entire year of walking 4 times per week. I slacked off towards the end of November and didn’t walk at all in December. But I started again when we got to Florida and did pretty well. After we got back, I couldn’t get myself on the treadmill until the end of March. I’ve been outside and back on track in May. It’s so much easier to walk outside.

Where I Walk

I walk in my neighborhood which is perfect for walking. I walk a lot along the perimeter, on the busier streets, but I will also veer off into a residential street as well. I like seeing people’s landscaping and other outdoor decorating. I think my times are slower when I do this because I’m a gawker!!

Today, I saw at least a dozen of these Welcome signs on front porches!!

Source: Amazon.com

What I See

The best times to walk outside are spring and fall. This spring, I’ve watched everything bloom – forsythia, magnolia, crabapple, pear, tulips, and now the lilacs are coming out. We had a hot week (four days in the 90s) a couple of weeks ago, and all the leaves finally popped. The trees are nice and full and I love that spring green color. We’ve had plenty of rain so the grass is full and green.

I get to watch the leaves turn in the fall, and I know where all the pretty ones are in the neighborhood. I know where I can find acorns and pine cones that fall off the trees. It’s a little bittersweet since I know soon the trees and bushes will be bare and winter will be here soon.

Four Seasons of Walking
Trees along my walk in the fall

I see geese (including their babies) in the ponds and even a few ducks. I see kids on the school playground. I see lots of dogs and even the same people, like the couple with the floppy hats that always wave to me.

I see new construction, both roads and housing. Not so long ago, I walked by a cornfield that’s now full of rows of townhomes. This usually means new sidewalks, too, which is a plus for me.

I see corn planted, grown, and harvested. This spring, I’ve noticed the fields haven’t been planted or even tilled, so it makes me wonder if the land will soon be used for something else. That’s happening a lot around here.

When I walk on the treadmill in the winter, I watch TV. It’s almost always something I’ve recorded so it’s a good opportunity to catch up. I’d say my favorite thing to watch is Kids Baking Championship. And since I quit walking on the treadmill, I just realized I have some episodes left to watch!! But I also watch shows like Alfred Hitchcock and Monk. I think I’ve recorded over 125 episodes of Monk!!

What I Hear

There are all kinds of things to hear – kids laughing, dogs barking, lawn mowers, hammers pounding, birds chirping, geese honking.

Right now, they’re building a new bridge not far from us and they are pounding these big girders into the ground. I can hear it throughout my walk. This bridge runs over Interstate 80, and when the wind is from the south, we can hear the traffic noise. I know that bothers some people, but I don’t mind.

I hear the sound of my walking app telling me when I’ve reached each mile and what my pace is. While I’m familiar with the distances on my routes, I like knowing exactly how far I’ve gone.

I like to walk when there’s a storm coming, so I can watch the clouds move in but also to hear the thunder rumbling. And yes, there have been a few times I’ve been caught in the rain. But I usually make it home in time.

What I Smell

Right now, I know where all the lilac bushes are and I try to walk by them because they smell so good. The grass is growing fast these days so I can usually smell freshly mowed lawns.

If someone is doing laundry, I can smell their dryer and the scent from the dryer sheets. Sometimes, just the smell of fresh air is enough for me.

What I Feel

Today, I felt a cold wind on my face. Yesterday, I felt the hot sun. The wind is my least favorite thing but since I found a way to keep my cap on, it doesn’t bother me as much. I sometimes feel my feet get sore or my legs get stiff. But I also feel my muscles getting stronger. My fingers swell so I don’t wear rings. Sometimes my ears get cold.

I feel all kinds of temperatures throughout the four seasons and in Iowa, I can feel summer in the spring and spring in the summer. There have even been times I could walk outside in the winter.

At times, I can’t avoid the sprinklers and feel the cold water on my legs as I run past. There are days when it definitely feels good!!

What I Think About

I actually think walking helps me more mentally than it does physically. It’s a great time to both think and solve problems, but it’s also a great time to forget everything and just enjoy being outside.

I think about what I want to write. I compose parts of my blog posts in my head and hope I can remember all the great ideas by the time I get home. I think about my projects and the cards I will work on later that day or the sewing I have planned.

I’ve even been known to solve the day’s Wordle!!

I also have conversations in my head, especially with someone I’d like to give a piece of my mind to. I will never do it, but thinking about what I’d say makes me feel better!!

Keeping it going

Is walking my favorite thing to do? Not really. The hardest part is getting out there. My pace has slowed over the years, but Tim says a mile is a mile, so I don’t worry about it. I think of it as my time to soak up the sun and get a little tan. I’m out there just enough to get a nice, gradual tan without burning.

I know it’s good for me and I do usually feel good afterward, except maybe on those really hot and humid days. I walk between 2.5 and 3 miles a day. Today felt so good, I walked 3.19 miles. (I love my Apple Watch for capturing all this information.)

When I get home after walking in the summer, I love to grab a bottle of water and sit on my front porch to cool down. Sometimes, I have my phone with me, but mostly I like to sit there and relax and watch the neighborhood activity.

Another good thing? When my doctor asks me if I exercise, I can say yes!!

14 Comments

  • Marty

    I recently was diagnosed with a minor foot ailment, so unfortunately walking for any great distance isn’t allowed. I hope this will pass because everything you included here from the smells to the wind and sun, are precisely why I love walking. I get my exercise from the elliptical at the gym, but I clear my mind by walking.

    Great post!

    • Retired Introvert

      Oh Marty, I do hope you can get out and walk again. I think we all need that time to clear our minds. It definitely helps me.

  • Retirement Coffee Shop

    I like to get out for a good walk outdoors. I plan on getting back on track today! Like you, I enjoy the sights, and sounds of outdoor walking. I walk through our neighborhood and then to a park that backs up to our area. I walk the path around the park and then back home. I enjoy doing it alone and do a lot of thinking and clearing of the mind.

    • Retired Introvert

      I just realized your comment was in my spam, so I apologize for not replying until today. It’s nice when you have a good neighborhood for walking. Fortunately, I’ve had that wherever I’ve lived. It can definitely be good therapy!!

  • Patricia Doyle

    What an inspirational blog to walk more. I’ve read that multi-sensory walking is as helpful as meditation. And I’ve struggled with creating a regular meditiation practice. My walks are more often walk & talk with someone… that’s usually the thing that gets me walking… someone else! Maybe I need to focus on an all-my-snses walk just for me.

    • Retired Introvert

      Hi Pat. I actually prefer walking alone. I set the pace, choose the route, choose when I go, and don’t have to talk. Otherwise, I might miss the opportunity to experience all my senses. I’m sure it makes it seem faster to walk with someone and there are times when that’s nice. Try going by yourself. You might like it!!

  • Nancy

    This is a blog I enjoy!! A blog about life. You aren’t trying to sell anything; you record random life events and share with whomever chooses to read. Speaking of which, I happened upon your blog during the “shutdown” when I was seeking online books. I have enjoyed many of your suggestions. I, like you, have only raised animals, require discipline when I walk through the kitchen, and love and early morning walk… however, this time of year I loathe red wing black birds. Thank you for sharing pieces of your life with us. -Nancy, Wisconsin

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Nancy. Your comments make me so happy. I’m so glad you found me!! Steer clear of those birds. I used to have a problem with them in my previous neighborhood. You’re right – they can be nasty if they think you’re too close to their nest!!

  • Mona McGinnis

    I love walking. Good on you for committing to 4 days/wk. There’s an old Nike ad – walking isn’t just good for the heart, it’s good for the soul. I find walking to be very meditative. When I’m not feeling motivated, I think of what my mom would say – the hardest part of going for a walk is putting your shoes on and stepping out the door.

    • Retired Introvert

      Your mom was so right. Another hard part is knowing what to wear!! Right now, our weather is so unpredictable I can’t just quickly get out there. It’s only 43 degrees right now which is below my usual tolerance for walking outside. But I’ll probably do it anyway because it’s sunny and I can’t face the treadmill!!

  • Michele

    You are blessed to have a great area to walk. Walking is a great form of exercise, physically and mentally as you noted. I wish I walked more. I feel good after I have walked but usually I am not motivated to get out and do it. My neighborhood is not great for walking. No sidewalks. I used to have a treadmill but it bit the dust. I am thinking about getting an exercise bike. I’ve never had one so not sure if it is for me. Keep walking!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Michele. I am lucky in that I’ve always lived in great areas for walking. Getting motivated is the toughest part. Sometimes I have to force myself to go but then I feel good once I’m out there. My problem is I have too many other things I enjoy doing so I hate the time it takes away from those. But I know I need it to stay healthy.

  • Linda Robinson

    I love to walk, too!!! I love the Senior center in Ankeny, has a great walking track, I know I’ll use it this summer, when its to hot to walk outside.

    • Retired Introvert

      I’ve heard great things about the new Senior Center. When it gets hotter, I usually try to get out earlier. But that’s getting tougher and tougher!!! Thanks Linda.