Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

THE PORT RAIL: Walking a Perfect Exercise for Mind, Body

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

THE PORT RAIL: Walking a Perfect Exercise for Mind, Body

Article excerpt

I saw a few weeks ago where the Ironman Triathlon was held once again in Hawaii. I don't remember the details, but I think they swim hundreds of miles, then bicycle thousands of miles, and then I remember hearing one breathless television commentator once say, "now, all that's left is the marathon."

The first marathon was run by Philippides in 490 B.C. He left the battlefield of Marathon where Athenian soldiers defeated a Persian army and raced back the 26 miles to Athens to tell them of the victory. He collapsed and died from his effort.

So I've never been challenged to repeat his feat, although I know thousands of my countrymen consider the marathon the ultimate challenge of conditioning and resolve. There are now, as I understand it, ultra marathoners who run hundreds of miles, but I put them into same category as Navy SEALs, Marine Rangers and other guys who jump out of helicopters and airplanes at night into shark and/or terrorist infested waters.

I don't relate well to them.

All of which brings me to walking, a perfectly safe pastime which is, as near as I can figure, the perfect exercise for man, woman or child.

I started taking occasional long walks with my wife, Louise, 10 or 15 years ago when my knees and feet started to wear out from being a runner. It is hard to admit how the aging process slows you down.

By the turn of the century, I was a full-time walker. Now, I hit the trail three or four times a week, usually with Louise, but sometimes alone or with our Jack Russell terrier, Flea. We live about two miles from the University of Alabama campus, and so it is a near perfect distance, four miles round-trip.

I have seen squirrels on numerous occasions saved by their quickness from being run over by cars or trucks deliberately aiming to crush them. This makes me wonder what is going through the driver's head to want to kill squirrels.

As I ponder the darker side of mankind I sometimes hear the sound of a Medevac helicopter descending carefully, but in a cacophony of sound to the pad at DCH Regional Medical Center. …

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