Walking Charles Town – Part V | Journal-news

August 1 started year five of my Walking Charles Town program. Sometimes I think of Forrest Gump and his running. I wonder if some day I will just stop walking, like he did. When that day comes, I will just not walk anymore. But not for now. I continue to walk almost every day.

I started walking because I was getting no exercise at all. I spend most every day exercising only my fingers over the keyboard of my computer. I write books. I needed to move other parts of my body. Walking seemed the easiest and most obvious form of exercise.

I have slowed down a bit over the years. Perhaps that has something to do with my recent birthday (77). I was also having some calf problems on my left leg, which curtailed some of my May/June walking mileage. That led to my losing some stamina, after missing a few weeks of walking. I am just now building that back up.

At this time of year, I had been known to walk once in the morning and once again in the evening. I haven’t done that this year yet.

Some have mentioned to me that they have not seen me as much as usual, which goes along with my slight cutback in miles walked, though I still average about two miles each day that I walk.

Has anything changed over the years in walking the town? Very little. I still feel in serious danger at each intersection, as drivers of cars do not look for walkers. It is also frightening to notice how many people run right through stop signs in the town.

Even when I am in the downtown crosswalks with the light indicating it is my time to walk, drivers turn right on red and completely ignore me. I definitely am in the right, by law. Pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right-of-way. But I’ll be darned if I’m going to insist on being right and end up being dead right.

Evidently those who follow this column know who I am. Recently, a man yelled out his car window, “There’s Bob O’Connor walking through Charles Town!” He was right. I laughed out loud.

I have met some people on my walks who have become friends. These are people I probably would never have met if I had just stayed in my townhouse and continued to write all day long.

I have been asked recently to join some walking groups. I am definitely not anti-social. But I do not decide exactly when I am going to walk. It depends on what else is going on and the heat index for the day. That makes it difficult for me to agree to meet others at a particular time to walk. I have declined to join their walking groups.

When the weather is rainy, a good alternative to walking outside and getting soaked continues to be the Ranson Civic Center. I find it lonely walking inside there, wondering why more people don’t take advantage of a free walking program that Ranson’s Rec Department offers. There are days it feels like the building is only open for me. I appreciate that but am willing to share the facility.

I do think the number of walkers I see on a daily basis is down. I am not certain why that is. That’s just my observation. It may be wrong. Other walkers may just walk at times when I am back home.

Walking is a healthy activity and an excellent way to keep active, especially for seniors.

For anyone who cannot afford to join a gym, walking costs nothing. I have a free app on my cell phone called Health Tracker that keeps track of my steps and mileage.

I go through shoes a couple of times a year. They become my golf shoes because invariably there is a hole in one! Other than good comfortable shoes, no other equipment is necessary.

You can start walking tomorrow…or the next day. It’s up to you. Be aware. Drivers do not notice pedestrians. Walk on.

I’ll see you around the neighborhood.

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