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Take a walk

By Merrill Ogden - | Jul 13, 2022

At my age and stage of life, there are things that I wonder about. Some of these wonderings occur right before I drag my carcass out of bed each morning.

The things I wonder are mainly questions like this: I wonder if my knee is going to hurt as much today as it did yesterday. I wonder if my hip is going to give me problems today. I wonder whether I should have Fiber One cereal for breakfast or just rely on the coconut water I drank last night for “regularity.”

Earlier this week, I got out of bed and thought that I was a prime candidate for a knee replacement surgery. My knee was giving me sharp pains and was acting like it didn’t want to support my weight. Given some time and usage, it started feeling better and my worries lessened.

I think it may have helped that I resolved to be more respectful of my deceased mother. I thought that maybe I was being punished for the re-telling over the years of the old joke that goes like this: “Everything I know, I learned at my mother’s knee. Or was it some other old joint?”

Having the knee problem the other day made me pause and consider how much I take the simple act of walking for granted. Most of us are able to use our legs to comfortably (most days) walk long distances in the course of a day to get what needs doing done. It’s a wonderful thing.

There are some among us though, who, for one reason or another, are unable to walk. It’s easy to forget that there are many who have to make many adaptations to get from place to place. Many live happy lives, despite mobility issues.

I have mentioned my nephew, who is paralyzed, before in this space more than once. He broke his neck in a skiing accident back in 2001. Nathan, and his wife Heather, co-founded an organization called “Chair The Hope.”

They, and their children, are spectacular examples of meeting their own challenges in life, while looking outward to help those who, to their way of thinking, are in greater need than themselves. I went on a humanitarian trip with him and the family to Mexico in February. We distributed wheelchairs.

I’m trying to be more grateful for my relatively good health. Being able to walk is a big part of that. I keep hearing that walking is great exercise and is very important. We need to keep moving.

My wife has been doing a healthy exercise thing that has her doing tons of walking. You’ve probably heard of “75 Hard.” Look it up if you’re interested.

I heard about some study that was done which reported that for every hour a person sits down, they lose two hours off their life span. I guess I’d better get a “standing desk” or, in the alternative, start planning my funeral. (Maybe they make a “lying down” desk?)

Perhaps I should adopt the concept of the Australian “walkabout.” I suspect you’ve heard about the tradition among aborigine boys.

They go on a journey, on foot, into the wilderness for weeks or months. It’s a rite of passage demonstrating a transition into manhood. Walking around learning about their world and learning about themselves seems to have made sense in their culture.

In our culture, a parent handing car keys to a young man sometimes demonstrates the same rite of passage. Advice is given: “Be Good. But if you can’t be good, be careful!”

My church has a “walkabout” once a month during the summer. It’s a motivator for us to get out and do some walking and visiting in our neighborhoods on a Sunday evening.

Two or three strategically located families volunteer their yards and serve as hosts. The rest of us walk around from place to place on a Sunday evening. It’s a great idea and has caught on. Having treats seems to help with the participation.

Sanpete is a great place for walking. The dogs are friendly (mostly), drivers pay attention to walkers (mostly), and Sanpeters will give you a wave of friendship and encouragement (almost always).

As long as my old joints hold up, I’m going to try to keep walking around my neighborhood. If I don’t, I’m going to miss out on a lot of cookies, popcorn, and homemade ice cream. I hope you keep walking too. Enjoy the rest of the summer! –Merrill


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