Healthy Living
October 27, 2017 By Bernie Wiebe
Walking for exercise, health, fun and more

Walking is one mainstay for holistic health. We are advised to walk about 10,000 steps per day. Research suggests most of us walk less than half of that goal. It is easy for us to find excuses not to walk. Cars are so handy, walkways can be unsafe, time is too rare to walk, we don’t feel like walking. And, there are buses and bikes. I am not interested in making anyone feel guilty or suggesting you should walk like I do. My story is meant to be simply that: my story about walking.

Walking for exercise and health
When I married in 1956, I weighed 185 pounds (85 kilograms). In 1970 I weighed 270 pounds (122.5 kilos). Today I weigh 186 pounds (85.2 kilos).

At age 35 my doctor told me I was obese and not healthy. In one year, 1970, I lost 70 pounds by walking a lot, finishing the basement in our house, and doing other general exercise, besides my regular full-time job.

I am now 80, have mostly kept my weight in the low 80 kilos and still do a lot of walking and other exercising. My daily walking and other exercises average 100 minutes per day.

I am a type 2 diabetic, have a pacemaker, one knee transplant, worked full time till the end of 2012. (In 1953, at age 18, I taught my first year. Have worked or been in school now for 62 years. I still serve in churches when they need short-term pastoral or preaching help.). My doctor has me on 4 prescriptions. My blood sugar is checked daily and has been in a good range since I started testing in 1996. To date, my health is a big encouragement to keep on walking and exercising.

Walking for fun
A while ago, a reporter and photographer from Downtown Winnipeg stopped me on my daily walk. They asked one question: “What do you enjoy about living in downtown Winnipeg?”

I lie in the heart of the city and have a daily walking pattern. They had noticed me and felt I enjoyed what I was doing. I told them that I liked walking among the buildings and the greenspaces. My only wish was that the city might create more green spots.

Many people have remarked to me that they saw my photo in the magazine and they too feel that I seem to like what I do.

I walk for exercise and health but also for fun. On bitter cold days, I can walk inside the skywalk to stay warm; in heat, there is air-conditioning in the walkway. Just to look around every day at the inner city, the streets, the people, the green spaces which become snow spaces in winter, the signs and posters, the paintings, the traffic, the weather changes, the building repairs and construction, the ups and downs (I avoid escalators and elevators everywhere I can; climbing as many stairs as possible.) all are fun to me.

Bernie Wiebe is a retired professor of Conflict Resolution Studies at Menno Simons College, affiliated with the University of Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has also been editor of The Mennonite, and has served the larger church in a variety of ways since being ordained in 1960.

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