Sentinel Progress

Recreational walking: The good, the bad and the ugly

I started walking the day I turned eight months old, and now it seems I’ve started my second childhood.

I’ve been sidelined from my physically demanding day job for the past six weeks because of a compression fracture. (My days involved a lot of fast walking, running, jumping and climbing and STILL my boss always managed to find me!)

I’ve been doing some recreational walking, to keep in shape AND to offer moral support to my wife as she walks for her physical fitness.

I’ve sort of been inspired by the 1988 song that goes “But I would walk five hundred miles/And I would walk five hundred more/Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles/To fall down at your door.” Although, in retrospect, The Proclaimers could also have sung about getting an Amazon drone to deliver a morale-boosting “World’s Greatest Wife” coffee mug.

That’s not the only song in my mental soundtrack. I pump myself up with “Man In Motion” and “Walkin’ To New Orleans,” but once the last drop of water is gone, it’s more “Nearer My God To Thee.”

Walkers can obtain priceless cardiovascular health while slowly taking a gander at the neighbors’ property day after day. The walks are also good for one’s mental sharpness, as you may be called upon to explain why your butt shouldn’t be thrown in jail for STALKING.

Admittedly, the TV networks don’t give us a lot of reasons for staying cooped up inside during the summer. You’ve seen the promos for the shows such as “Celebrity Paper Footballs,” “All-Star Rock, Paper, Scissors” and “The Latest Remake Of That Show Your Grandparents Got Stuck Watching Because They Couldn’t Find The Pliers To Change Channels On Their Black-And-White Philco.”

Walking has taught me humility. It’s disheartening to think you’re making a good pace and then get overtaken by the shuffling little old man character Tim Conway used to play.

Walking partners get to make indelible memories. Of course those memories may include, “Yeah, wasn’t that the summer we said, ‘Hello, bargain sunscreen, goodbye skin’?”

Encourage others to go walking, but try not to play holier-than-thou with the couch potatoes. You know the ones. (“I finally figured out these 12 Steps programs. Sure, I can give up BOOZE. I thought you meant I had to take 12 actual steps!”)

Kudos to the communities that enhance their quality of life by constructing walking tracks, rest-stop benches and warning signs. Walking is an inexpensive way for citizens to stay fit and meet their fellow citizens. I just hope greedy towns don’t start coming up with stupid walking taxes. (“Whoa! Did you know your left shoestring is expired, Bubba?”)

I’m just an amateur at this walking game and don’t know how much I’ll get to participate once I return to work. Avid walkers, who cherish life’s little pleasures, revel in “never a dull moment” thinking and cling to an optimistic “the roadkill is half-alive” attitude, are some great people to have on hand in various social situations.

I’m sure these appreciative souls take a lot of the stress out of company Christmas parties (“Wow! Empty aluminum cans! What a holiday bonus!”) and wedding nights (“I was afraid you would buy a teddy from Victoria’s Secret, but these arch supports are soooo much better. And who needs mistletoe when we have poison ivy???”)

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By Danny Tyree

Contributing columnist

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Opinions expressed in this column represent those of the author only and do not necessarily represent those of the newspaper.