Cardio Classics

Do you walk to an accompaniment?

It might be the gleeful chatter of a friend, or a meaningful podcast, or just whatever is playing at that moment on the radio.

Another option worth a try is a musical soundtrack designed specifically for exercise.

I purchased just such a CD some years ago – Cardio Classics Orchestral Workout. It’s now available as a double-CD pack, to extend the variety you can use to soundtrack your walk.

The music on this CD has good pace, while being expansive and encouraging ,,, something you want to move to.

Cover image for Cardio Classics box CD set

I like that they are instrumental pieces, which ensures my walking time is still thinking time. What do you think: Does an orchestral backdrop to one’s thoughts makes them feel more cinematic?

But remember, it should be what you need from this 10, or 30, or 60 minutes of time to yourself – be it music, podcast, friendship or just quiet alone time!

Getting back into it

So, it’s been a while since you step out for a walk. I confess it’s been a while since I have.

Summer was just too hot for me. I saw others out pounding the pavement. Sure, the mornings were cool enough but that was when I needed to open my house up to let that cooler air in, give it a chance to breath and adjust to the summer heatwaves.

Getting back into walking required some gentle persuasion in the form of new shoes. If you don’t need new shoes, treat yourself to something that will add some psychological zing to the event.

Getting back into it required a small start. The blocks around here are a reasonable size, not too big, not too small. One circumvention this morning did the trick.

Getting back into it required an early morning start, under the cover of darkness, but I nevertheless passed four others; one had a light strapped to his forehead as he ran down the middle of the road.

Using the middle of the road is not recommended but I understand why he did it. I find the camber on some streets here to be very steep. My new shoes don’t have enough support for my naturally rolled feet, which made the camber even more of a problem. It was onto the verge whenever the trees allowed.

I took the phone, because one always takes the phone these days, but didn’t expect to be taking any photos. Couldn’t help myself, wondering how it would cope with the conditions.

Interestingly, even some stars were bright enough to capture.

Warming up to Active 10

It’s still hot, but the heatwave has eased. Time to get walking again.

But should it be a long walk, to make up for lost time, or a short walk?

Some research is suggesting regular brisk walks of 10 minutes are the way to go. The National Health Service in the UK is recommending it and has created a website and downloadable phone app to encourage a more achievable walking routine called the Active 10.

Maybe a new category to add to Walking in Parkes?


Active 10 – Public Health England

Extreme heatwave conditions

Inforgraphic showing an example of a heatwave pattern overlaid on a map of Australia.
Example of a heatwave map. Check BOM site for up-to-date forecasts.

So much was planned for the Christmas to New Year break! Even walking off some of the over-indulgence of Christmas Day has to be postponed because of the weather.

Walking is still possible but should be confined to the very early hours of the day. Unfortunately, those early hours are the ideal time to open up the house and blow away the build up of yesterday’s heat, particularly for those of us with insufficient air conditioning for the conditions.

This has impacted Walking in Parkes. The plan was to add a new walk every day when there were no obligations (like work) to keep me inside. Unfortunately, the very early hours of the day aren’t great for photographs. The lovely warm glow of morning light is recommended by top-notch photographers, but the long shadows are a problem. They often get in the way.

If you do walk, have a plan. What will you do if the temperature rises quicker than you anticipated?

Download the Bureau of Meteorology’s phone app.

Check out the NSW Health website for tips on beating the heat:

NSW Health Beat the Heat

Any excuse to visit the botanic gardens

It was my Mum’s birthday. A day trip was planned … to somewhere … anywhere Mum might enjoy … and my sister asked for suggestions.

When we settled upon Lucknow, I suggested a side visit to the Botanic Gardens at Orange; in part because I thought Mum would enjoy it.

There was this bizarre day when I was a young teenager when she just packed us all in the car and drove to the Bumberry Hills for a picnic. We were still comparatively new to life in town. There had been some hilly country on the farm and we picnicked there from time to time. ‘Bizarre’ to that young teenager then because we weren’t going anywhere particular, just into the hills. I think she just needed to get out of town for a bit.

I can understand that now, and suggested the Botanic Gardens because I myself desperately needed to get out and under a tree canopy.

Photo of path leading from the entrance into Orange Botanic Gardens, NSW.

The Orange Botanic Gardens is a manageable size for a walk. Some botanic gardens are so big you have to choose between experiences. In contrast, this one packs a lot into the time it takes to follow all the available paths, about an hour or so.

On our visit that day, the range of experiences included a stray emu.

Photo of prostrate conifers with low shrubs in the background, at Orange Botanic Gardens, NSW.

The best parks engage the senses. The sound of bird life, water running and wind rustling through the leaves and grasses. The smell of the seasons, be it flowers or dried leaves or baking dirt.

And sight … in my world view, that includes sculpture. Every park needs some man-made, unpractical forms. Plural, because taste is in the eye of the beholder. A bit of variety increases the likelihood that a visitor will approve of, or be moved by, at least one of them.

Sculpture in a park is a way of creating interesting contrasts and juxtapositions. The relationship between the sculpture and its surroundings changes as you move through and around it … very dynamic and captivating if walkers take the time to have a good look. Don’t ask if it’s a good piece. Ask instead if it’s a well-placed piece!

I enjoy the hunt for a photograph, particularly of a sculpture. Can I find something that will translate my fascination with this three dimensional object? Again, I acknowledge that taste is in the eye of the beholder!

I’ve only been to the Orange Botanic Gardens in summer.  Here are a few other photos from summer visits to hint at the variety on offer …

Out-of-town walks are included on Walking in Parkes to expand the variety of experiences we can enjoy.

But more than that, places like the Orange Botanic Gardens are worth visiting each season to experience how they change. It’s not just about exercise for the body but for all our senses.

I’m looking forward to popping back in autumn, and winter (that WILL be interesting) and eventually spring.

Postscript … Mum was very impressed by the gardens.

Button labelled 'Find Out More About This Walk'.

Go to our Orange Botanic Gardens page for details on how to find this walk