Spring has finally arrived after a long, harsh winter in most parts of the country. That means you can get out and about to enjoy the warmth and sunshine and maybe get some exercise, too.
Walking is a great way to enjoy spring. For Jesus and His Disciples, it was their main mode of transportation. For Christians today, it’s a way to take a break, relax, or get fit. Here are some simple rituals to incorporate into your walking this spring to get both physical and spiritual benefits.
Listen to Christian Music or Podcasts While You Walk
According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults should do a brisk walk for at least two hours and 30 minutes each week to reap the best health benefits. That translates to walking for half an hour five days a week. Help the time fly by with Christian podcasts or a playlist of music that you enjoy. Make some positive listening material a regular part of your walking ritual.
Some of my personal favorites are Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Third Day, The Newsboys, Stephen Curtis Chapman, and Building 429. Choose any Christian artists who inspire you, and look for upbeat music that makes you want to lift your feet. Having something positive to listen to will help the time fly by each day.
Have Friends Join In
Podcasts and music are nice, but sometimes it’s nice to have another person with whom to chat as your take your stroll. Choose someone whose goals and ability level are close to your own. For example, if you want to power walk at a brisk pace, make sure your friend can keep up with you. On the flip side, if you’re combining exercise with relaxation and a chance to soak up your surroundings rather than power walking right through them, make sure your companion is on the same page.
Avoid pairing up with someone who brings you down with gossip or complaints. Proverbs has some good advice on this:
One who walks with wise men grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. —Proverbs 13:20
Your walks don’t have to be a learning experience, but they should be uplifting. You won’t enjoy the beautiful spring weather if you team up with someone who bombards you with negative words. On the flip side, when someone positive joins you in your walking ritual, your stress will go down and your fitness will go up and you’ll have a great time.
Go out to a Scenic Area
Depending on where you live, you’re probably close to a nature preserve, forest, state or national park or other wooded spot. Even if you’re in an urban area, you’ve probably got a park nearby where you can escape from the city, at least temporarily. Even New York and Chicago have little chunks of green in Central Park and Lincoln Park respectively. You can also seek out a lake or beach if there’s one close by.
When you go walking in a peaceful, natural spot, bring your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, and/or kids along with you. Get everyone involved in the walk and pack a nice lunch so you can take it beyond a simple exercise session and turn it into a fun excursion. Turn these excursions into a regular ritual that you do every week or two throughout the spring.
Adopt a Dog
There are literally millions of rescue dogs waiting for homes. Dogs are great walking companions because they’re never too busy to join you on a springtime jaunt, and they’re always willing to go where you choose and to match your pace. Spring means lots of squirrels and scents and other things that catch a dog’s fancy.
I have my own adopted dog, and he’s always ready to get out in the springtime and enjoy the warm, pleasant days with me. He’s also a great coach because he begs for a walk even when I don’t really feel like going out. I can’t just blow it off when I have those big, brown eyes staring mournfully at me while the metronome tail wags in anticipation.
Enjoy springtime by incorporating these ideas and you’ll enjoy the season while also getting a healthier and reducing your stress level. Hopefully you’ll have so much fun that you’ll continue walking all the way through summer and beyond.