Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (3 John 2)
WALKING: BEGIN SLOWLY
A few months before I retired at the end of 2010, I began intentionally walking almost every day. I’d been walking for a lotta years before I moved to Santa Barbara and began my pastoral work, but somehow, the habit died away. We lived on a street without sidewalks, it was quite hilly . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.
I quit walking. I was distracted. And I was lazy.
Then I landed in the hospital with blood clots in both lobes of both lungs and I began to think about trying to get more exercise. So I began walking again. Very slowly at first, walking laps around the large parking area of our driveway or around the campus at church. Sometimes even walking around the pews in the sanctuary.
WALKING FOR HEALTH
Then I went to Laity Lodge in the fall of 2012 — my second time to that marvelous place — and one of our speakers was an expert on neurobiology. We happened to be in the same van heading to the airport for our flights home and I asked him what the latest developments were for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
He said this: “Sadly, there isn’t much that we know right now. It’s a much more complex process than we initially thought and the medications we’ve developed only target tiny pieces of that process. But there is one thing we do know that can help prevent or delay onset of this disease and that is this: thirty minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days each week.”
Bingo. I could start walking more.
So I began to step it up even more, eventually walking up to about a mile and a half or two miles each evening. Slowly, as I continued the walking habit, I began to get stronger and I also began to drop a few pounds here and there.
AN INJURY AND NO EXERCISE
Then I injured my foot while on vacation. And during PT for that injury, I sustained a far worse. Walking was no longer an option, and the pounds began to slowly return.
After trying various combinations of strange footgear and consulting with three different doctors, I had corrective surgery. Going into that surgery, I put myself on a fairly stringent diet and lost a number of pounds just before and for several months after that surgery and recuperation.
Within about two months, I began walking, very, very carefully, once again — laps around my driveway and occasional circles at the beach. Since our move, I’ve mapped out a walking route in our new neighborhood and found another beach that allows me to go walking on the sand at low tide.
And you know what?
I LOVE WALKING!
PRAYING WHILE WALKING
I often have my longest prayer times when I’m walking. I don’t talk much, but I listen and I lift names and faces to our loving God, trusting that He knows their needs far better than I. Since our trip to Kauai, I’m waking up earlier than ever before in my life (I’m a night owl and SO not a morning person!) and I’m usually out of the house about 7 or 7:30 am.
In many ways, those times of walking are a highlight of my day.
They’re also good for me — in every way I can think of. Since my hospitalization for pulmonary emboli, I’ve lost about 80 pounds — very, very slowly. And, hopefully, permanently. I’ve dealt with weight and food issues my entire adult life, so I make no guarantees. Somehow though, this feels very different, and I’m praying that this time I am very different.
So far, so good.
What do you do to stay healthy?
First published at DianaTrautwein.com on October 31, 2015. Published with permission.
Questions For Reflection
1. What exercise “roadblocks” have you encountered?
2. What one small thing can you do today to increase your movement?
3. Challenge yourself to set one slow, steady goal for the next 30 days. Keep a daily log. And don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way!
Diana R.G. Trautwein
Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer & Creative
Diana is a follower of Jesus, wife to Richard since 1965, mom to 3 adult children, blessed MIL to their 3 spouses, Nana to 8 grandkids ranging in age from 13-32, and GMIL to one amazing young woman (who just passed her doctoral dissertation in mathematics - hooray!). She has been a stay-at-home mom, a small business owner, a mid-life seminary student and TA, and a pastor for over 20 years. Diana is also a certified spiritual director and a Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer & Creative. Connect with her at DianaTrautwein.com.
With your doctor’s guidance, and a little creativity, exercising with chronic illness is not just possible, but can be rewarding. Meet with God in movement — always at the pace of grace.