Gotta’ Run: Already addicted to my morning walk

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

Just a couple weeks ago, I wrote that we should never take the ability to walk for granted. I also wrote that on June 5, I had been able to walk .66 of a mile, still much better than the few continuous steps I could take once home from the hospital on May 18.

While my goal remains to run again, I have been excited about my morning walk each day. The spine and physical therapy folks encouraged me to walk when I could tolerate it. It took a few days to work up the confidence and balance to even get started. Each morning while tentatively walking in the driveway, I would watch the cars drive by and be hesitant to test myself to walk among them.

Finally on May 10, I decided to use the paved road only long enough to get to the gravel part of Cooper Road. All told, my new route totals 2.52 miles. It has been dry, and Cooper Road is dusty and any passing traffic stirs up more. But still, I go to sleep at night anticipating my morning walk.

Clearly there are lots of positives for me with every morning walk. All the swelling and soreness that I had from waist down has disappeared. My balance has improved dramatically. I make sure to eat my Clif Bar and be hydrated before I reach the barnyard gate, the official start of the morning walk.

Very similar to my morning run, I like to do it early, more so each day. With quicker times daily over the first 10 consecutive mornings of the 2.52-mile course, and an earlier start, I’m meeting the sun as it comes up with lots of optimism.

What I have found is a way to challenge myself within the guidelines from the spine clinic. My next appointment with them is on June 27. My mood is better during the day, plus my heart rate is slowly returning to a more normal range. I can stand for a couple hours now although doing so was limited to 3-5 minutes prior to the walking. Getting out of a chair is much easier now.

Our running club teaches a walking class at Rowan Helping Ministries each spring and fall. I realized this morning that I am now reaping the benefits that I encouraged others to experience in that setting. Here are a few additional benefits of walking.

• Improved mental health — Just getting out of the house for fresh air and gentle exercise did me a world of good. Just as after running, I then go back to my day refreshed and ready to go.

Immunity boost — Walking for 30 minutes has been shown to boost immune cell production and circulation. The more immune cells we have, the better protected we are from disease and illness.

Weight control — In my case, I could easily eat too much now because of limited activity, but I realized that I’m actually down a few pounds. Since walking is a gentler form of cardio, it is an easy way to control weight and retain good health.

Lower diabetes risk Cardio exercise helps your body to use insulin more efficiently. If you are at risk for developing diabetes or already have the condition, then a brisk walk is ideal for helping regulate blood sugar levels.

Metabolism boost — Be heart healthy by getting your blood pumping for 30 minutes each day to reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 percent with less risk of over-exertion.

Improved mobility — One major issue as we age is the physical limitations that our body develops. Getting older is associated with decreased mobility and increased fragility, but walking every day can help improve both.

Next week’s race is the Shiloh Missions 5K in Faith on Saturday, June 29. Look for it and other activities at

I am planning to visit all the North Carolina State Parks during the remainder of the year and will report on them. This new adventure will replace my bike ride for summer 2024.