Who likes to be cooped up in a mini-van on an interstate highway for hours at a time? Does anyone really love exercising on a cardio machine that takes you nowhere? Wouldn’t it be nice to walk somewhere that is free from merchants trying to pick our pockets in this tough economy? Here is a suggestion that I hope will not offend you: go take a hike!
This is the original form of transportation. The human body is the first sport utility vehicle. We forget about these facts as we are on our daily commutes and travel to our vacation spots. A good walk in the natural world allows us to experience life in ways that we can’t at 65 mph. Listening to water flowing over a fallen log, the crunch of leaves under foot, and wind blowing through nearly bare branches; I doubt you’ll find a light rock or smooth jazz station more soothing than these. Nor has anyone made a car air freshener that gives the same splendid aromas as moss covered hardwoods or a grove of pine saplings. Motor vehicles are great for mandatory point A and B travel. To restore balance in life, consider moving your body for an enjoyable journey.
Ellipticals, treadmills (I call them ‘dreadmills’) and the like are fine tools for maintaining health. On comfortable days, why not use the outdoors as your cardio trainer? Adjust your speed by thought and not control buttons. Challenge yourself to walk a variety of hills and valleys. Trails east of Richmond have a variety of terrain. Watching deer feed, squirrel scamper, and birds fly is a lot more interesting than gawking at the ladies in a Zumba class. When the weather gets cooler, dress comfortably in layers. Use bug spray and sunscreen when things warm up again.
Nature gives some of her best goods for free. Gaze over a hilltop with a view of a river. Listen to the call of a bobwhite quail near a field. There are no cash registers nor credit card readers around to ruin the experience. Do you want a keepsake of you journey? Take a camera. Pack a light snack and water as a complement to the atmosphere. Personally, I go somewhere to hike on “Black Friday.” Camping out at Wal-mart or the mall to buy stuff for a few hours that was for sale all year-long makes little sense to me. I prefer to spend the day after Thanksgiving thanking God for what he has created.