It's been very cool here in my area of northern Illinois. I love this time of year and become motivated to exercise more when it's cool outside. This morning I put on a warm fleece jacket instead of a sweatshirt to walk the dog. As the cold wind whipped against my face, it felt good to be alive. As soon as I started, I couldn't wait to finish and get home to my hot cup of coffee. But I pushed on.
I'm struggling with time management issues right now and have a long, long list of things I need to do this week. I immediately felt stressed thinking about them. Some of them, like cleaning the house, paying the bills, doctor appointments and a mammogram, are necessary and will not be fun. It seems like there will hardly be enough time for myself, or for quilting.
Last week while I was at the car dealer getting my oil changed I read something motivating in a magazine about changing your focus from negative to positive. As I walked, I forced myself to change my focus and started to count my blessings and think instead about things that really matter. Grateful that I could walk at all since I still have a painful foot thing going on if I walk too much or too fast, feeling sorry for myself, but remembering instead that old line about the man who had no feet . . . . finally reminding myself that it's feeling much better than it was earlier this year. Last week I told my athletic son I felt discouraged, it hurt to walk more than a mile or so, said maybe I should just give up, stop walking at all. His response? Maybe I should try walking more, not less, LOL . . .
"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." - Emily Bronte
I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
My mood seemed to lift and perhaps it was due to the fact that I was walking briskly and the blood flow to my brain improved. Or maybe something else. I'll have to remember to get out walking early in the days to come, before the weather gets too cold and I have to exercise indoors.
"Exercise, such as walking, increases the blood flow to the brain. A study of people over age 50 found that walking 45 minutes a day at a 16-minute mile pace improved thinking skills. The participants started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that the same people were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program." I could use some mental sharpness some days.
Walking and other exercise releases endorphins, the body's happy drugs. Walking at a rate to get your heart pumping will give you more of this benefit more than walking at a slower heart rate pace. But even at a slower pace you will notice an improvement in mood.
Walking outdoors gives me time to think and if I create a distance between me and my stress I feel better. Breathing fresh air, trying not to tense your muscles and feeling the body move as you walk are natural stress-relievers. Of course, walking past this house a few blocks away always gets my blood boiling . . . . I am not fond of this part of Halloween . . .