hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


July 19, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Walking and talking make a good walk


We were vacationing in Florida and had just finished a hearty meal when my cousin turned to me and said, "Let's go for a walk. It's the best way to work off those calories."

My cousin is a walking maniac. No matter what the hour or how inclement the weather, his day isn't complete without a spin along the beach. It takes every muscle in my body to keep up with him. Other people talk a good game of tennis or golf; he talks a good game of walking and breaks it up by routinely taking 4-mile hikes and turning them into marathons.

I let him set his own brisk pace and settle into mine. Follow the leader.

I see fitness fanatics as a breed unto themselves and resist their commandments: Don't take a car when you can walk. Ignore the elevator. Climb those stairs. Spend your lunch hour pounding those feet against the asphalt. Then go back to work and eat yogurt.

Another time, I went out with an associate just to be polite. We tramped along for a mile while he told me about climbing Mount Washington.

"After a while, it's no different than a walk around the block," he assured me. "Only longer. All you do is extend both legs before you and pace yourself accordingly.''

I'd rather meditate. One of the reasons is that my thought process is no match for my feet. When I'm locked into my own reverie, I'm apt to stumble off a curbstone.

I look at mail carriers and am hard-pressed to find any on the obese side. Back and forth they go, rain or shine, getting their job done effectively.

I'm also big into earphones, which my wife takes personally when the two of us go for a walk. Truth of the matter is, I find Puccini and Bach easier to walk to than a conversation about filing income tax returns or getting the housework done.

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