The Joy of Walking

walking.jpgToday, Kate shares her favorite means for fitness:

“I turned 35 this year, which - combined with other major changes in my life - prodded me into thinking that I should be doing more to keep myself healthy and active. In the past, I've tried gyms, pools, classes, DVDs, and different pairs of sneakers, but nothing has ever stuck for very long and nothing has really felt right: classes don't fit my schedule, gyms are too impersonal, pools are too much of a nuisance (the chlorine! the wet hair!), and I've never quite had the discipline to commit to exercise at home. However, my family has a history of heart disease and I have some very special people for whom to remain healthy, so I decided that this spring would be the season in which I would figure out a way to exercise that I could both enjoy and sustain.
The trick was, I wanted something free (or almost free) that I could do on my schedule, and something that required little coordination or skill. I started with running, but found that I couldn't get more than a few blocks without feeling sick. Plus, I felt kind of foolish, out there with the experienced runners who glided by so effortlessly as I panted to the end of the block. I knew that it would get easier with time, but it wasn't fun and I wasn't motivated. So I thought about it more. What kind of movement do I love? What feels natural? And I realized: walking.

I walk for almost everything in my life, which made it an easy fit. I just increased the speed a few notches, figured out a route that was interesting, and now I'm out of bed and on the pavement two mornings a week. I hope to work up to more outings as my schedule allows, but I find that even those couple of walks a week make me feel looser, more toned, and like I've really grabbed the early part of the day. I get to exercise, reflect, and see my city in a new way. What could be better or more accessible for all of us parents who have little time to ourselves but want to keep in shape?”

Editor’s Note: If you find it challenging to add dedicated walking outings to your week, consider building it into your daily routine; for example, walking instead of driving your kids to school, opting to do errands on foot, or changing up your commute to add in walking stretches. I also have pet-lover friends who attribute their fitness level to their dog walking duties.

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