Sometimes . . .
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Walking Miles In Her Shoes

Last month, I started a "conversation" here about wellness -- and specifically about fitness, and especially as we age.  Based on your comments, I'd say we all pretty much fall into one of two camps:  

(1) those of us who have discovered strategies to make fitness a part of our lives, and
(2) those of us who would like to.

I thought it might be helpful to have some of the folks in the first camp . . . share their fitness and workout strategies with those in the second camp.  And I decided to start with . . . my sister, Diane.

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Di works full time in a busy office.  She is super active outside of her job with a civic organization, her church, a bell choir, her friends.  She is an avid symphony-goer, attends concerts and plays as often as possible, fits in her hobbies . . . AND . . . finds time to walk between 4-5 miles each day.

As in EVERY day.  Mostly outside.  In all seasons.  And she lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming where the weather is not always (or even usually) . . . pleasant.

And she's been walking this way . . . for DECADES.  Like. . . since the mid-1980s.  She walked through bad boyfriends.  She walked through moves and new jobs.  She walked through pregnancy.  She walked through health issues.  She walked through a significant weight loss.  She walked through happiness and frustration and heartache.  She just . . . walks every day!

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Di gets up early every morning, and after a cup of coffee, she puts on her shoes (or spike-y snow boots, depending on the weather) and hits the road.  She walks about 3 miles through her neighborhood every day before work (she has 3 regular "routes" to choose from).  When the weather is bad enough, she walks inside on her treadmill (she does have her limits) (for example, she won't walk outside if the "feels like" temperature is below 10oF).  But she really prefers walking outside -- fresh air, things to look at.  (True confession:  She finds the "dreadmill" boring.)  

Then, during her work day, she takes another half-hour walk as a break, where she clocks another mile or two!

Although she occasionally listens to music, she usually just walks in silence.  In the morning, it's a great way for her to meditate and think and center herself for the day.  During the day ("second walk"), she can walk out some of the frustration of her workday -- or have some time for a bit of problem solving.  And, if she's quiet and paying attention, she often sees interesting things (yesterday it was a bunch of antelope walking down the road, and a duck herding her babies across the street).

I asked her if she gets bored . . . with the same fitness routine every day . . . for all those decades.  Nope, she said.  Sometimes she has a "here-we-go-again" moment as she steps out the door, but she's never bored once she gets started.  She also claims to never have any problem getting out the door for her walk.  (If you're familiar with Gretchen Rubin's "Four Tendencies," my sister is an Upholder.  Like . . . maybe the Poster Child of Upholders.  Doing-what-she-sets-out-to-do is never a problem for her.  Never.)  (Just sayin.)

What's Di like best about walking everyday?  For her, the exercise mixed with quiet contemplation brings peace and centering to her days.  Plus, she really likes getting up and out and finished with her walk before the day even starts!  She chooses to walk alone -- because then she can do it on her own time schedule.  (Not many people are willing to walk with her at 5:00 am.)  Plus, that quiet time on her own is something she craves.  Basically, Di likes walking because it's simple to do, doesn't require special equipment - except shoes, can be done anywhere/anytime, and you don't sweat (except on really hot days).

Her advice for others wanting to start a walking routine:

  • Figure out what works best for you.  What time of day?  Do you want to walk alone or with someone else?  What route(s) can you take easily -- right from your front door or workplace?
  • Invest in some comfortable walking shoes.
  • Be prepared to head out in a variety of weather conditions. Dress for the weather.  Carry a flashlight if it's dark; an umbrella if it looks like rain.  And your phone.  Know your route.  If you're going to walk from work, keep a spare pair of shoes and appropriate layers in your office/car so you're always ready to go (even if you forget your stuff or the weather conditions change).
  • Make a commitment to yourself -- then keep it.  Consistency brings results.  (Upholder.)  (Like I said.)
  • Have a plan for what you'll do when the weather keeps you inside.  (Di has a treadmill at home.  She also recommends the Leslie Sansone Walk-at-Home workouts for when you're stuck inside.)
  • Even a daily 15-minute walk is better than not walking at all!  Just get out there and take those steps!

So.

What do you think?  Are you interested in starting a walking routine?  And if you already have one, what advice might you add?

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Comments

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Juliann

I do best when I take my gear in the car and stop at the trail for a walk or run before going home. Yesterday it was sprinkling but because I had my jacket and snow in the car, I was able o get that walk done. They say there is no bad weather, just bad gear 😉
btw - I really look forward to these wellness posts!

Patty

Go Diane Go! I also draw the line at 10 degrees! The only advice I have is...no matter how much you don't want to go...you'll always be glad you did. And I've got lots of experience with that because really...I'm very lazy at heart!

Bonny

I have a walking routine, but it pales in comparison to Diane's. John and I walk together when he gets home from work because that gets us both out the door, but we both make many excuses (too hot, too cold, too rainy, too lazy ...) and let lots of things interfere. The concept of being an Upholder is fascinating to me (I'm a Questioner), and I think I will try to follow Diane's example. Just get out there and do it first thing in the morning (and pat myself on the back for the rest of the day)! Thanks for showing me there are real people who make commitments and not excuses.

Carole

I'm an upholder as well - when it comes to literally everything - except for exercise. The things that appeal to me about walking are that it can be done from anywhere and no special equipment is required. The thing that doesn't appeal is making time (I am definitely not getting up any earlier than I already do!) But I'm trying to think about a way to fit a little something in every day.

Dee

I'm in the "want to be doing this" camp and as soon as the cut on my foot heals..........I'm doin' it!!!

(Seriously, do NOT kick the fence - even by accident. It bites back!!! YOWZA!)

Sarah

When we moved into our house, less than a mile from my office, I knew it would be impractical to drive to work because parking is hard and expensive. So at that point I had two choices: take the bus (there's a stop about a block away) or walk. I started out taking the bus sometimes, but it got frustrating early on because it was never on time and often it was overcrowded. So I started walking mostly and only taking the bus in bad weather. Now I walk pretty much every day, in any weather (even when it's really cold, I warm up quickly!). It's an easy way to add a couple of miles to my day!

Debbie

Walking outdoors is my favorite exercise and I've been doing it for years...with or without a dog. I go to the gym in bad weather and 2-3 times a week for weights, but I love going out for a walk. I don't listen to music, I really enjoy the sounds of nature. I'm lucky because I live about a five minute walk from a series of trails on the campus of a nearby university, so I just get out and go almost everyday.

margene

I'm not as conscientious as Di, but I try to walk every day no matter the weather. I have been a walker since we moved into this house (38 years ago) because our circle is 1/2 mile around and it was always easy to track my distance (before cellphones and watches). I wear spikes in winter if there is any chance of ice. The only thing that stops me (usually) is pouring rain, but I have a great raincoat and sometimes walk despite the rain. Walking is the one thing I love to do (birds!) and I can now do with my Mr. Mylo. I usually get 4-5 miles a day in, too.

Marilyn

I love and appreciate the time that you take to write these posts and prod us along.

Unfortunately I haven't started walking yet...and that is my preferred exercise...I used to walk every work day several years ago. I like to walk outside, the same as your sister but in a small town like this unless you can be a bit rude and ignore people, sometimes it's hard to get much walking done. There are just so many people who want to visit!

You keep prodding, Kym, and eventually I'll get back to walking!!

Kathy

I love that you talked about Di as an upholder. I think one's tendency really does come into play!

Anne

Like Di, I’m a walker. I love walking because of all the freedom associated with it: no special equipment required, the opportunity to head in various directions, and especially the feeling of freedom that comes with being outside and seeing what’s happening in the world “out there”. I began walking regularly more than 20 yrs ago as a much needed way to relax in the evening when I was working a really stressful job. It worked pretty effectively at that goal AND I found I loved walking and being outdoors. My advice about walking is: it’s easy and , for me, it’s been at least as good for the spirit as for the body.

Kat

This is exactly how I have become about Pilates. It is just something that I do - and yes, I think it is now a habit! I need to get to that point about walking too - your sister is inspiring!

Laura

Inspirational post. And boy do I need some of that....

Chloe

Walking has been challenging lately (for the same reasons, probably, that I have missed this post). So I will share one of my favorite walking experiences that got me out every day. Cruise walking is great. When someone told me that four trips around the ship equaled a mile, I was off. Every morning at 6:30 I ran out of my cabin and up to the promenade deck. By the third go-round I was passing the very few others out there twice. It was us against the elements, and we were all smiling. (Plus then you got to go in and eat a breakfast already made for you:-).

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