Walk or Run On Gratitude Road

by Gazette Reporter
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‘What most fitness walkers or runners have in their daily exercise is a very special place for mental and spiritual life’

By Frank Greally

The late Doctor George Sheehan wrote about running as “a place for self-discovery-play elevated to an intimate encounter with the self, and, as such occupying unchallenged high ground in our journey through life.”

Dr Sheehan was a fount of knowledge  on everything to do with Fitness Walking or Running and he nailed it well when he wrote: “What most fitness walkers or runners have in their daily exercise is a very special place for mental and spiritual life. This comes with easy but purposeful walking or running, at a pace that frees the mind to create and the spirit to soar.

“To play the game of life well, there are some essentials; energy is one. Physical energy is necessary for whatever we do daily. Without it, whatever we do will be done badly or not at all.

“The 24 hours we’re given each day shrink to a good deal less when we lack the endurance and stamina to actually use them. Fitness Walking or Running develops that energy. It can make the end of your work the beginning of your day.”

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned walker or runner, keeping a diary or log of your daily fitness endeavours can become a useful tool for you. Keeping a tally on the steps you walk or run can also prove to be motivational – especially if you create or join a WhatsApp group with family or friends where you all keep track of and share information on daily steps logged.

You will marvel in several months time, when you look back at all the walking or running sessions you have carefully logged in your diary. There can be great satisfaction in looking back over the pages of a well-kept fitness training diary that charts your progress.

I know of one Fitness Walking WhatsApp group in Rahoon in Galway where a members of a local community record and share information of their daily steps and at the end of each month gather for a little celebration to award small prizes for most steps recorded, most improved member of the group, best single-day recorded steps and a number of best photo categories where group members enter images of nature and landscapes they have recorded during their daily walk or run. 

The monthly gathering adds an important social dimension to the group and the prizegiving and tea and treats gathering helps to keep participants motivated for the month ahead.

I find that making an appointment with myself each day is the best guarantee that I can have for completing my regular walk or run. Many of us live busy lives and taking time out for oneself is something that we often do not see as a big priority.

And yet taking time for your daily walk or run can be one of the most important meetings you can have on any given day; a time to refresh and restore, commune with nature and be grateful for your gift of days while remembering that you never have to walk or run – you get to make this precious time-out for yourself.

I believe that a block of about eight weeks of Fitness Walking is the best foundation for most aspiring new runners.

A programme of daily fitness walking (starting with 15 minutes and gradually building in small segments of five minutes added per week to one hour) lays a good general fitness foundation and if you have the desire, you can then progress to running.  However, the first priority is to get fit to train and a general health check-up is essential before embarking on any new fitness plan.

I find that Gratitude is the key I need to open the door to my daily walk and run. During what was a busy work year of 2023, I neglected my own physical fitness and I found the first few days of starting back; walking and running this year to be a little bit challenging – but at the same time hugely rewarding. After every daily session I take a little bit of time out to focus on Gratitude for still being able to walk and run – going forward and not looking back. 

My progress back to running is going to take at least the first three months of this year to fully achieve. I hope that by the end of March, I will be able to comfortably complete a 5K parkrun. My walk-run daily training will get me there as long as I make the training regular and steady with small weekly increments added. I have found from experience that A Little A Lot is much better than A Lot A Little.

I invite readers to come along with me on this Walking and Running Fitness Journey. I’d like to hear your stories, too, about your personal fitness endeavours for 2024. Let’s share experiences; you can reach me at: [email protected]

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