Ahh! The joys of walking. I have walked my whole life really, with breaks in between due to injury, surgeries, births and lack of motivation.
I first walked to school as a child. I liked it. My little shoes hitting the street rhythmically with occasionally falling in the gutter water as I would try to balance my feet on the curb and down I would go. The one walk when I was 5, coming home from kindergarten, when a massive St. Bernard dog hopped over the fence and chased me down licking me to death with a new best neighbor coming to my aid. Ah life was so simple then…
Then there were the walks to high school, getting high on the way or after…
I could go on but I feel to share now how walking has helped me to get over a lot of very hard times. When I was first on disability due to stress (2015) and had free time I would walk away the stress. I would walk for up to 14 miles a day with the average being 10-12. I got skinny! But got bored with that much walking. And tired! Felt like Forest Gump in reality…
Now I walk because I like to but it’s weird because I used to walk all the time by myself when I was motivated. But since COVID-19, I only walk with my daughter I just feel safer that way as I am not the best to make some social distancing judgements. And that is very important right now. At least that is what the media tells us. Some of us believe it and others like me question the need but do it accordingly without protest. Anyway, it is much easier to get in the habit with a partner for accountability and motivation.
So walking the same route for the last 40 days has been to Harsin, my favorite street with a hill and pretty houses and now is the home of a little lending library which has become the highlight of our walk. There are all kinds of things to see around my neighborhood. From watching the flowers bloom, to seeing large weeding projects expand, to saying hi to different dogs and people, UPS bringing joy to somebody as it does to us when it stops at our house, whether it’s food or some new hobby or just more of this and that that ran out. Simple pleasures in life are not ignored right now!
But when I was walking solo (and I will again…), getting out the door was the hardest part. Once I started walking, even if I didn’t feel like it, I can really say that I ever regretted the walk. Oh sure, there were times when I would turn back because I just couldn’t do it (rare) or because of the temperature being too hot, cold or windy. Dressing in layers helps though, starting out with a light jacket and t-shirt underneath. I warm up after about 5 minutes and just tie my light jacket around my waist. I always bring my phone and measure my walks with a Fitbit. I average 5-8 thousand steps a day 6 days a week. Today was a rest day only 3,000 steps.
Walking for at least 30 minutes really helps my moods to be more stable. I sleep better at night when I walk a lot. Right now I have an injury on my toe so have to walk in sandals that are comfy and hook in the back. But once it is healed I hope to return to 5 miles a day. Setting a goal helps, start small and build each day you walk. If you don’t have a Fitbit your phone probably measures your steps and if you’re like me and have your phone on you for much of the day (have to have my music and my earbuds), your phone will track your steps which is very rewarding to see how many miles and steps.
Walking as a form of meditation done solo can be very therapeutic. Setting an intention for someone or something as you’re walking and then meditating on it while walking and I’m often praying or have my music. I tend to look down a lot when I walk because I am just happy anywhere I am walking. I do stop and smell the roses (pun intended) but just being outside for me is at times overwhelming by the beauty in nature.
I have walked everywhere practically from miles of streets in Italy to walking back and forth on the carpet of my small home. Neighborhoods in all parts of the Central Coast of California, hiking trails with my dog or a friend, some with an intense incline, beaches, tourist spots, you name it, I have walked it.
I have even done walk at home videos on Youtube favorites being Leslie Sansone happy walk one mile up to her five mile video, or Jessica Smith. Both these lovely ladies are very upbeat and will teach you proper form and get you excited to walk at home, much of the time only needing a computer and small space to walk, walk, walk!
“And that’s all I have to say about that [walking]” Forest Gump
p.s. next in May Series is healthy eating which I will warn you I eat the same thing almost every day 80% of the time…