There’s a Chill in the Air

What a difference a day can make! Yesterday temperatures were in the 80s. Today, we hovered in the high 40s. I made the determination, at the beginning of my 30 Day Walking Challenge, that I would walk outside, rain or sunshine, warm or cool temps. Today, I got to honor my own commitment.

I am holding the Northpark Mall in reserve, as a walking destination. In the last 12 days, I’ve only had one rainy day. I walked outside that afternoon, and the rain slacked off as I walked. I’ve primarily had warm weather to contend with, which is unusual for October.

I’m saving a walk at the mall for a really inclement day. Joplin only has one shopping mall. If I use that destination too soon, I’ll have to get very creative, should more bad weather occur within my 30 days.

Today was not the day to walk at the mall. Instead, I chose an area on the north edge of Joplin, Landreth Park.

Landreth is basically a very large, sloping hillside, with the usual playgrounds, pavilions and tennis courts. There is a stage for summer concerts. For years, this spacious park hosted the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration. Thousands and thousands of people would bring their lawn chairs and blankets and cover the hillside, in anticipation for the fireworks that would bloom in the sky at dusk. That event was moved to another location several years ago. I have not been to Landreth Park since.

On this blustery, gray day, the park was deserted, except for a woman cleaning out her car on a lot, and a man tossing a ball for his two dogs.

Greg joined me. We discovered broad walking paths, looping around the park over the grassy slopes. The wind had just enough of a cold bite to it that we pulled hoods up over our heads and protected hands in jacket pockets.

It was exhilarating, though, walking along at a brisk pace through the chilly air, feeling the energy surging through my body, knowing that day by day, I am becoming healthier and more fit.

The most beautifully shaped oak tree I have ever seen. The trail led directly beneath it and I marveled at its canopy.

Twelve days into the walking challenge that I adopted, and this is what I am noticing:

• greater flexibility and range of motion

• more limber hip and knee joints

• toned muscles in my legs, butt, back and abs

• looser fitting clothes

• higher energy

• heightened mood

• deep inner peace

• greater stamina and endurance

• appreciation and gratitude for the beauty found in nature, suburban neighborhoods and city parks

I am loving this challenge. I am finding incredible joy in the art and discipline of walking daily.

Twelve days completed, eighteen days to go. And…I already know I won’t be stopping there. A daily walk is becoming part of my health routine. I am embracing this practice, as I have a plant based lifestyle.

I intend to be the very best version of myself. I am making it so.