What Is My Best Advice - WALK, WALK and more WALK!

In my youth I wasn't that active. My family was very focused on the church and its activities, so we didn't do a lot away from there.  Piano lessons were about it. If the youth group went somewhere there might be activity involved but that was it. 

In my 20's I discovered West Coast Swing and Latin Ballroom Dance. I was hooked immediately. When I wasn't at work, I was at the studio taking classes or practicing with my partner. I would hit the gym as well and bought myself a pair of roller skates to use at a local park. Suddenly this fairly inactive person was in great shape. 

After I married and moved to Canada, my husband and I tried to hit a local gym a few times a week, but he had a very physcial job and was exhausted when he came home. I on the other hand, was back to serious inactivity. Three kids in three in a half years helped. There was little time to sit around. I was moving and feeding and taking them places and, and, and.  

The next decade took care of itself. While not focused exercise, I didn't sit all that much. I was always moving. Then the kids got their driver's licenses, I quit sewing dance costumes, stopped my outside volunteer activities, and took up writing.  Oh my the body changed. I had always been naturally thin, but the numbers started to rise and I totally lost my waistline. 

It took years of up and down yo-yoing, trying to turn things around. Unfortunately, I'm still not where I want to be - or more importantly where my doctor wants me to be for my health. I am making progress slowly but surely, but getting enough movement in my day is still tough. The only thing I regularly do which gets high fives from every health site you read is walk. In addition to the health benefits listed everywhere, I find it also seems to calm my mind and body, sometimes more than yoga and meditation. 

Glen and I try to
walk a 5K as many days a week as possible. In summer we sometimes get it in every day. In winter it comes and goes, but we aim for 4-5 walks every week if possible.  Glen also golfs and curls and gardens, so he naturally moves more. I knit and read and write and more - all sedentary. So it's a huge challenge. To help I add as many steps as I can whenever I can.

Parking lots are a great place to start. Park as far away from the entrance as you can. If you're at a strip mall, park at one end and walk to the other end to reach the stores. Never move your car. Take transit as much as possible.  If only going to the second or third floor use the stairs to go up and down where you are allowed. Many commercial buildings won't let you go up and down the stair wells. I've been trapped once myself. 

Usually I walk with Glen or with a friend. If I am alone, it's too easy for my mind to get bored and push me to stop early.  The answer for me was to use my cell phone with earbuds to listen to audio books or podcasts while walking. If I pick a really interesting book/podcast, I might even find myself walking way over my 5K.

Last but not least, some sort of accountability helps. Recording your daily steps or even the number of minutes you walked will help. There is a sense satisfaction when you write down or input your day's total and it reaches or surpasses what you aimed for.  That tiny act or recording each and every day will have a way greater impact than you think. Give it a try. 

I still need way more movement in my day than this, but it's a beginning. When I find a way to incorporate more, I will share that as well. So be sure and check back.