Walk the Walk… Literally
Of everything that I’ve done for myself in the last few years, whether it’s yoga in the morning, strength training, shifting to a healthier diet… I’ve tried a lot of ‘good for me’ things. I regularly train, whether for an event or for the love of riding and running. But ultimately, the thing that I’ve done in recent years that I firmly believe has done the most good has been the simplest thing: I started walking.
I was thinking about this today as I was walking back (obviously) from the grocery store. There are times (ahem, Halloween candy and blueberry pancakes and pizza) where I don’t always practice what I preach. (I mean, I eat well most of the time. But I am not immune to chocolate.) But when it comes to getting outside and putting one foot in front of the other, I—with apologies for the pun—walk the walk. It’s the one habit that follows me wherever I go that I believe does the most good.
Peter and I—when we’re home, which is rare—live in a rad place, Collingwood, where walking is easy: there are great paths, and everything from Home Depot to downtown with cute coffee shops to health food stores to the grocery store are all within a two mile radius. So the shift happened naturally: I rode some errands at first, but we shifted to walking more when we started realizing it was the best way for us to chat during the day or in the morning, and really work through ideas together.
That spiraled when we both started reading Katy Bowman’s Movement Matters book and had her on The Consummate Athlete Podcast talking about the impact simply walking and moving more could have on your day and your life.
Now, we walk constantly. It’s the first thing we do when we travel to new places or get home, not just to orient or re-orient ourselves with the area, but to stretch out and move in an easy, non-stressful way. It’s rare that someone is too tired or too sick to just go for a walk, at least a short one.
A week of walking varies now. In the last seven days, I’ve:
- Walked 10 minutes to get a coffee solo
- Walked an hour with my sister to chat
- Hiked up and down Blue Mountain, once fast, once slow and with Peter along
- Walked a mile to the grocery store and back with a full load of groceries
- Walked a mile to the gym to weight train
- Walked an hour with Peter in the morning
- Walked to and from date night with Peter
- Walked 2 miles to get coffee and renew my driver’s license (while chatting with my mom on the phone)
And the list goes on… But I assume you get the general idea. It’s pretty much my favorite way to sneak in a few extra minutes of low-key exercise, especially when it’s around something like a date night at the pizza place I love in town! It’s also a good way to make being on the phone catching up with my parents more efficient… and to keep me from multi-tasking while I do it.
It’s funny, so many people want to start workout routines or fitness regimens, but so few are willing to start with just a walk. Actually, my sister has impressed the hell out of me lately: over the years, I’ve seen her try all types of gym memberships, classes, etc., but nothing has ever really stuck. But in the last few months, she’s started walking and hiking almost everyday, and the change in her is huge. She has a ton more energy, and it’s propelling her (literally and figuratively) to make healthier choices. She’s added a bit of jogging to the routine now, but the most important thing is that she’s getting out most days, moving in some way, enjoying nature, and getting happier and less stressed.
It’s weirdly the ultimate fitness hack, but almost no one takes advantage of it. (This is probably a good reason to get a dog, to be honest!)
This weekend, do yourself and your body a favor and just get outside and go for a chill walk. Listen to the birds chirp, or listen to a podcast. Walk with a friend, or call a parent. Run an errand, or just meander in a local park. Whatever you do, just get one foot in front of the other!
Have an excellent, active, healthy weekend!
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