It's five o'clock. I'm still sitting at my desk, and my Boston Terrier starts yipping and pawing at my arm as I try to continue typing at the keyboard. I have work to finish, but he's having none of it. It's time for his daily walk, and he knows it. I type one more line and then he wins.

At age 58, I have started, for the first time in my life, a regimen of daily walks. When the weather is bad (which is often here in northern Indiana), I use my new treadmill. It was hard to start – but the results have been incredible.

I've never been into sports. I never played basketball or football in high school, and never had much of an interest. I did travel down to West Lafayette, in the dead of winter, with a carload of friends to watch our team play at the state semi-finals, not because I cared that much about basketball, but just because it seemed like a fun thing to do and a fine excuse for a road trip.

After two inguinal hernia surgeries, I found – after the second one – the recovery to be much longer than it should have been, and even a year after, still had some residual pain and a spot in my thigh that was completely numb, which started to burn after about 15 minutes on my feet. My doctor said it was meralgia paresthetica and not related to the surgery. This was also accompanied by restless leg syndrome (RLS). While cutting off my coffee intake at noon and taking a prescription of gabapentin mostly took care of the RLS, I still found myself walking with a cane, napping in the afternoon and generally feeling like an old man.

My daily 30 minute walk is gentle. I don't run, I don't jog, and I occasionally stop to say hello to the neighbors, and my neighbor's dog Bailey, if I see them on my route. It is what it is – just a walk, often with my dog by my side, who truly enjoys the experience and reminds me every day at 5:00 that it's time. Along with the gabapentin and coffee reduction, the daily walks have made a big contribution, and I have found that not only has the pain mostly gone away, my energy level has rebounded. The gentle walk is enough – I don't break a sweat, I don't run, and I don't keep going until it hurts – but I started seeing positive results almost immediately.

I needed two things: A good treadmill, and a good pair of walking shoes. I tend to dress a little old-fashioned, and love my black oxfords and my champagne-colored brogues, but for a 30-minute walk, I needed something a little softer. Running shoes seemed like overkill – after all, I'm not running, just walking. I didn't want plain tennis shoes, just because I don't like the style. What I wanted was something comfortable, good for walking, which was stylish enough to wear with business-casual clothes from time to time.

I couldn't really find anything suitable locally, and most of the shops had plenty running shoes and tennis shoes, but nothing that suited me. What I wanted was a pair of stylish and comfortable walking shoes, but simply couldn't find anything at all. When I asked around locally, store clerks tended to see walking shoes and tennis shoes as the same thing, but that simply did not satisfy me.

Looking online at Stadium Goods I eventually found what I wanted, with a pair of black Puma Vashties for $75. It met my comfort requirement as well as my style requirement – I liked the black color, and especially the black midsole – it seems like so many have a white midsole, even if the upper is black. It may look good for a while, but that white gets grey pretty quick, and the two-tone black design of the Vashties looks great and goes well with a casual sport coat and jeans combination.

Having found the perfect pair of walking shoes, the treadmill was next – and I found many of them to be way outside my budget. Several of them – which were over a thousand dollars – had maximum speeds of 12 miles per hour, which was way beyond what I would ever need. I decided on an Exerpeutic, which was more moderately priced. At first I looked at the TF900, but then decided to spend just a little more to get the TF1000 which was wider and had room for a longer stride, and was on sale at Walmart at the time, just under my budget of $400.

A 30-minute daily walk in comfortable shoes, with a friendly Boston by my side, did the trick. The afternoon naps are gone and I seem to have more energy, and I use that time productively to service more clients. I credit the walking regimen with healing the meralgia paresthetica, which has all but disappeared. The burning sensation I used to feel after 15 minutes on my feet is gone, and the 30 minutes now go by easily. My cane sits in the corner, unused. I feel good today.

Author's Bio: 

Dan Blacharski is editor-in-chief of US News And Review, and NewsOrg.