JD Allinder

Walk This Way

In Posts on July 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I was visiting family in Georgia recently, and one of my sisters said, “I believe exercise is the solution for everything.” It’s a simple statement, but it’s also profound because it’s so true. If I’m feeling down, I need exercise. If I’m sluggish, exercise wakes me up. If I’m feeling scattered and pulling out my hair over a work or school project, exercise chills me out and defrags my brain. I’m not a runner, not particularly skilled at sports, and I’d rather have all my teeth yanked out of my head than spend twenty minutes in a gym. But I can walk, and walking is a huge part of my life.

Cesar Millan offers a three-part strategy for creating a happy, balanced dog: exercise, discipline, and affection (in that order). He says dogs should be walked at least one hour each day. I agree. Jane and I walk thee hours every day, covering eight to ten miles. This sounds like a lot to some people, but wolves often run eight to ten hours a day and have been observed running 22 miles without resting. Our eight to ten miles is relatively small beans, but the benefits are immeasurable. Walking drains us both of energy, bonds us, and reinforces our pack structure. Walking satisfies Jane as an animal, a dog, and a blue tick coonhound. It quashes her anxiety and keeps her physically and psychologically balanced. Walking keeps me calm-assertive and Jane calm-submissive. 

Just got in from a moderately challenging eight-mile trek along the Huron River. It was hot, humid, and muddy. I’m filthy. So is Jane. She got to hunt and migrate and watch, listen to, and observe me. We’re both exhausted, we’ve earned our treats, and we’re just a little bit closer than we were this morning. Every outing further cements her rehabilitation and our bonding (and makes her crash so I can get some work done).

Jane Resting

Jane and I walk/hike/jog, preferably on the trail, two hours each day at lunch and another hour in the evening. I really believe that, like my sister said, exercise is the answer for just about everything that ails us. Used to be, before the Industrial Revolution, that people got their workouts naturally. Now, because we’re so far removed from our natural animal state, many of us don’t even know what exercise means. I see it as finding whatever it is that you enjoy – birding, gardening, house cleaning – and doing it often. You don’t need special equipment or clothing. Just move. Interact and be physical. It’s Mother Nature’s miracle cure.

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