Morning Walks at Cottonwood Trail

Every morning for about three weeks, I walked with my dog Hope on the Cottonwood Trail in Spartanburg. For at least twenty minutes every morning, Hope explored her way - nose down -finding out who knows what about the world there.

I think it’s her reminder that has made this become a ritual. She holds me accountable in her way, looking up when I approach my shoes or the drawer where we keep the leashes. It’s something that I find more and more important for my own healthy habits.

I get a wake up walk at a slower pace than I’m used to. This habit started when I rolled my ankle running on July 4, 2017. My first thought was of chronic ankle injuries that really limited my friends’ running—not something I’m interested in. My running habit is at the top of my list.

So I committed to a slow but consistent rehabilitation. I started going to Cottonwood Trail for its flatness and of course for its beauty. But now that I’ve started running again, I want to keep my promise to Hope of a daily morning walk.

All along I’ve used various methods to hold myself accountable to my goals large and small, from telling my friends to raising money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research to being nudged by my current canine exercise partner. All have helped me maintain the motivation to stay active and healthy.

This article was originally published in Partners for Active Living by Ned Barrett .

Ned Barrett

Ned Barrett is the trails coordinator at Partners for Active Living (PAL), a non-profit in Spartanburg, SC, that addresses the root causes of cardiovascular disease: physical inactivity and poor nutrition. For the past eight years, he's been instrumental in getting Spartanburg's trails system where it is today, in addition to PAL's bike share programs. He's a true supporter of bicycling as he rides his bike to work every day, and has been getting around by bike and foot for close to 56 years of his life. "From the freedom it provided as a kid to the benefits it offers now, walking, biking and running through the world gives me the more complete perspective of my surroundings that I seek. All our transportation choices should be safe and accessible, and all modes should be provided for equitably."


 

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