Bushwalking on an clear and sunny autumn morning. 25 kms before lunch with a few challenging hills thrown in. Kookaburras and an assortment of other birds with a better song range, dingoes enjoying the morning sunshine as I walked around the perimeter fence of their wildlife park, a couple of koalas, and a group of very small kangaroos gathered in a clearing - I felt like I had wandered into a kangaroo playgroup.
The plus is that as well being immersed in such sublime surroundings, bushwalking is a damn fine way to get a good dose of exercise. I find too that walking with consistent effort and developing a steady pace synchronises my breathing with my movement. In fact it can become quite meditative - a bit like a chant with the breath. And how good to be breathing in all that fresh air and the natural bush smells.
I especially enjoy having the opportunity to clamber up some puffingly-steep hills and then to catch my breath on a gently undulating bush track on the other side.
Walking over uneven terrain is great for developing balance. I remember a bushwalking friend commenting that she noticed the difference with people new to the experience - that their sense of balance wasn't as developed as that of her regular walking mates.
The importance of being physically fit has long been bandied about and these days studies are revealing that exercise has more to offer than just muscle tone and aerobic fitness. The stories are now being told that exercise also impacts on our metabolism, body shape, energy levels, mental clarity and mood - that it can reduce cancer risk, slow the aging process, improve our blood circulation, get our lymph pumping and boost our immune system. I have even read that it can improve circulation of synovial fluid - the fluid made in our joints - and that's certainly something that appeals to me as I move into my 70s. So with all those possibilities I'm definitely going to continue heading down the fitness path!
If bushwalking doesn't appeal, if you aren't into walking boots and backpacks and prefer to stay closer to home, then find your own walking spaces - parks, rivers, beaches - or maybe around the neighbourhood at sunrise when the sky is changing colour, the birds are waking up and the streets are almost free of cars. It's quite a different world out there before the working day begins.
And even things like leaving the car at home and walking to your shopping centre. I remember some years ago having an old navy blue trolly, of taking it with me on market days, filling it with goodies and dragging it home through a series of parks.
So if you aren't already a walker then find a place where you feel comfortable and just get out there and start walking. Which reminds me of Forrest Gump - now there's a man who took walking to a whole new level! I'm not suggesting you walk in Forrest's footsteps but there is definitely a path out there just waiting for you.