Hearts at Work – June 2009

Hearts at Work

—A Column by Jim Tipton

Can You Walk a 1000 Miles?


Lakeside with its lovely little villages, its malecons, its gentle mountains, and its wonderful climate, is a walker’s paradise. One need nothing more than a good pair of shoes.

We have all read that walking is good for us, that over time our blood pressure will drop to normal, our circulation will dramatically improve, and our hearts will become healthy once again. (The New Journal of Medicine reports that women who walk more than 5 hours/week reduce their heart attack risk by 50%.) You will develop strength and endurance (both on and off the walking path.)

Fat people attract fewer love opportunities than people who are not fat. Furthermore, fat people have a harder time performing well sexually. When you walk regularly and begin to “look good” you will begin to “look good” to yourself as well, giving you a confidence and radiance that just might be irresistible! Keep in mind that a 180 pound person walking at a moderate pace–3 miles/hour—will burn 320 calories per hour.

Walking is a good way to meet people. We naturally bond with other people who are doing the same thing we are. Find those trails that feel good to you and that are popular with the type of people you would like to attract.

About a month ago I began, with a buddy, walking three days a week for at least one hour (usually more). We usually walk at least three miles during that time. We usually walk on the nice paths down by the Chapala malecon, to be near Lake Chapala, but we also like to walk through Cristianía Park in Chapala and we walk the village streets as well.

And the off days I have been walking as well, and I usually walk at least five or six miles during a day.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” What the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu actually said was something more like, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin where you stand.” The “first step” is actually making the decision. It was Lao-tzu, incidentally, who wrote the Tao Te Ching (the Book of the Way) and who was the founder of Taoism.

A 1000 miles sounds like a significant journey. The circumference of the earth, measured between the North and South Pole, is 25,000 miles, and so a journey of a 1000 miles is four percent of the circumference of the earth. That’s a lot of walking, isn’t it?

The distance between Denver and Chicago is just a little over a 1000 miles. The distance between Flagstaff, Arizona, and the tropical resort of Mazatlan, Mexico, is just a little under a 1000 miles. The distance between New York City and Fort Lauderdale is a little over a 1000 miles.

A 1000 miles. Yes, that’s a lot of walking. Or is it?

1000 miles isn’t much at all when you walk a little each day. Lots of walkers do at least 1 hour a day at a decent pace, managing around 3 miles in that hour (serious walkers often clip of 3.5 to 5 miles per hours). In 365 days, that 3 miles adds up to a whopping 1095 miles. Cut out the extra 95 miles by taking a month off, and you still come in at 1,000 miles.

So call up your walking buddies, buy some pedometers if you enjoy using them (or measure out a walking course in advance or simply count the hours) and hit the trail, whether that be a wooded one, or sidewalks in a city park, or a country road at sunrise. Jot down the date and distance, including the cumulative distance for each month and ultimately for the year. You may find yourself jotting down other things as well, so that this expands into your own “Walker’s Journal,” filled with memories, conversations, sounds, the changes in the seasons, poems, new companions, old companions…your life. And pick up a copy of local walker Gerry Green’s book, Walks & Trails around Ajijic.

A “journey of a thousand miles?” A good annual goal…and for most of us this is easily achieved when we decide that walking may have more benefits than watching one more graphic episode of Law & Order or one more re-run of Friends.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: chapala.com

Ojo Del Lago
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