Lynn Butler, a member of our Colorado River Walkers club, wrote an inspiring article on how much walking has affected her life, and we are pleased to share it on our website.
The article was originally published in the June 2020 issue of The American Wanderer, the official newspaper of the American Volkssport Association (AVA). The newspaper is published quarterly and has articles from AVA clubs all over the country.
To find out more about AVA and how to join, please click AVA: America’s Walking Club
Lynn’s article, “Walking in my life,” is reprinted in its entirety below.
Walking in my life
I’ve been a member of the Colorado River Walkers Club for a number of years but, due to work and family obligations, have not participated in as many sanctioned and group walks as I would have liked. I have walked on my own quite a bit for the last ten years and do YREs when I can. But as the song says, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Somehow, knowing we cannot have group activities during the virus shutdown makes the “gone” part so much worse.
I began walking in my 40s for health and well-being…all right, let’s be honest. I started walking for three main reasons. First, I wanted to lose weight. One day I was 25 and in shape and the next, I was 45 and 30 pounds overweight. Second, I am not a gym rat. In fact, I hate the gym. I’ve been a member of them all and would go a few times then quit out of insecurity, intimidation and lack of cute workout gear. Third, I figured walking was easy. It didn’t require a membership, special gear or fancy clothes. It was something I could fit easily into my schedule and I could stay close to home.
So I began walking. I walked in my neighborhood. I walked with friends. I walked alone. As I walked, though while I did lose some weight, that was not the biggest benefit. I began to love walking for itself. I loved discovering new things in my neighborhood. I began walking in different places in my small town and explored other neighborhoods. I loved hearing birds and feeling the sunshine on my face. In the warm months I loved hearing the laughter of children playing. In the hot Texas summers I loved walking in the cool mornings before the sun made the day unbearable. I learned to love walking as dusk became dark. I loved that as I walked, I could feel my muscles working, stretching and making me feel stronger.
And then I moved to Austin. Austin is a walker’s paradise. Endless miles of trails and beautiful scenery….and that’s just in the neighborhoods! There are trails by creeks, through parks and, my favorite, civilized wilderness! And then I discovered AVA and the Colorado River Walkers. The AVA opened up a whole new world of walking for me. I’ve gone and participated in walks in other towns and explored places I probably would not have gone had it not been for this group.
And then COVID-19 hit and our world changed. The restaurants and bars closed. Businesses closed. My school went to “closed but instructing” status. Salons, spas, and gyms closed. But, walking did not close. Walking is still open. While some parks and trails have closed, there are many still open. Neighborhoods are open. The great outdoors, even in our beautiful bustling city, is still open. Walking is saving my sanity. Walking helps to alleviate the sorrow I feel for my seniors. Walking helps ease my fears and worries about those out of work and those who are sick. Walking helps me with my sadness of not being able to see my kids or grandkids who live in another town. Walking works. Walking is constant. Walking is still open!
By Lynn Butler