As today is National Walking Day, I thought it appropriate to write about walking. I know….you are blown away by my originality huh? But teasing aside, deciding to commit to a daily walk this year was one of the best decisions I have made all year!
(some of my favorite pictures from my daily walks so far this year)
I had knee surgery in December for a torn meniscus. Then I did a series of 5 injections in that knee because they discovered arthritis while they were in there and the injections may help buy me some time before I have to address that issue. Prior to my injury and surgery, walking was my favorite form of exercise. I even participated with a variety of fundraising walks over the years. But last year I wasn’t able to comfortably do stairs, let alone do much walking. I was determined to change that this year and not let a sore knee keep me on the sidelines anymore!
I committed to going for a walk every single day this year. No matter the weather, no matter how I was feeling. I would find time to walk. Walking around for normal activities doesn’t count. It had to be a purposeful walk. And I’ve done it so far. Other than when dangerous wind chills and a sprained ankle forced me to walk indoors, all of my walks have been outside. Ice, sleet, rain, wind. I’m from Michigan, I can handle crazy weather!
1- Time to Decompress. My daily walk is MY time. It’s a little piece of my day when I can clear my head. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I prefer the quiet. Often times I find myself on a bench by the water just breathing in and out.
2- Discipline. Since I am no longer working outside the house it was VERY important to me to establish a routine. I didn’t want to sit around in my pajamas and watch daytime tv all the time! By going for a walk every day it forces me to get dressed and think about what time to walk based on what else I have going on that day. I wake up with purpose and a plan!
3- Fresh Air! You can’t put a price tag on this one folks. It feels SO GOOD to breathe in fresh air. It doesn’t matter if it is January and there is 2 feet of snow on the ground. Take a deep breath and let nature work her magic. And by doing so you will notice how every week the smells change and how observant you are. You can smell someone’s coffee as they walk by you, when the ground starts to smell like dirt again as the ground begins to thaw, when someone is grilling in their backyard, or making a bonfire.
4- Better Overall Health. I’m not working with a time or distance daily goal, but it is nice to see how much stronger I have gotten in the first three months of the year. The stairs are easier for me and each week I feel like I am steadier on my feet. I’ve lost some weight and am less out of breath in general, although I have a long way to go on both of those counts! I feel healthier and throughout the year as I am taking longer walks and feeling better overall, I will incorporate more activities like bike riding, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding into my routine.
1- Invest in good walking shoes and/or inserts. You are going to put a lot of miles on these shoes and you want to be comfortable.
2- Dress in layers. Even on days when it was 20 degrees, I found myself shedding my scarf/hat or unbuttoning my coat. As your heart rate increases so will get warmer!
3- Look at the hourly forecast. I check for temp, wind and cloud cover and try to plan my day around that. This time of year I find myself going in the afternoon because it is the warmest. It won’t be long though until I am going in the morning because afternoons are too warm!
4- Enjoy it! Take the time to really look around you. Smile and wave at your neighbors, take deep breaths, appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
You can get an app for your phone that will allow you to track your distance. Free Distance Apps
If you are looking for a weekend hike, check out these trails Michigan Hiking Trails
More information about National Walking Day