A post by writer and anthologist June Cotner:
When I’ve been sitting at my desk too long, I crave getting away from all technology and taking a “nature” break to refresh my spirit. While I enjoy walking my dog around town, it’s not the same as hiking with him in the wilderness. I just read an article that stated how important it is to find a type of exercise that you love—and hiking is that for me.
My dog, Indy, a chocolate lab/Doberman mix, walks perfectly at my pace. When we’re going down a rocky hill, he slows down for me. When we need to get around a mucky area, he tucks right in behind me as I pick my way through the mud. As I’m walking through the wilderness, I’m filled with a sense of peace and thoughts of work never cross my mind.
I love the sense of adventure that hiking offers. I live one hour away from the Olympic Mountains and just 15 minutes away from a huge wilderness area. Within the wilderness area, there are many turns and a lot of alternate routes, so I have frequent opportunities to explore trails I’ve never hiked before—with map in hand! Just as in life, I like the thrill of not knowing what’s around the next bend. Hopefully not a bear!
After 15 minutes of vigorous hiking, I work up a sweat, so I often need three handkerchiefs: one tied around my neck, another on my head, and a third one in my pocket. I’m drenched by the time I get back to my car, but I love the physical exertion of hiking!
This well-earned sweat can pay off in other ways, too. Recently I was happy to learn that vigorous exercise helps brain activity. According to Newsweek, “Almost every dimension of cognition improves from thirty minutes of aerobic exercise, and creativity is no exception. The type of exercise doesn’t matter, and the boost lasts for at least two hours afterward.”
I’m 63 now, and another reason I like to hike is to prove to myself that I still can! I know that building up my leg muscles will help keep me strong. I have back pain from time to time due to compressed vertebrae. My doctor said one of the best things I can do for myself is to walk every day. It really does make a difference. When I couple hiking and walking with yoga stretches, I stay pain free—and that is something to celebrate!
Indy’s Story: Indy, now 3-1/2 years old, is a Chocolate Lab/Doberman mix. In May 2011 he graduated from Freedom Tails, a ten week program at Stafford Creek Corrections Center (Aberdeen, Washington), in which prisoners train shelter dogs and give them excellent socialization and obedience skills.
(c) 2013 by June Cotner
June Cotner is the author of Gratitude Prayers and 27 more books and products bringing “A World of Inspiration!” Follow her on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. Check out June’s website at www.JuneCotner.com and her author page on Amazon.com.
Here are the covers to six of June’s vibrant and moving anthologies: