Sunday, January 27, 2013

Speeding Isn’t Necessary

One thing I have learned throughout this lifestyle change is that, while exercise is important, I don’t have to kill myself in order to incorporate it into my daily routine. I’ve always thought that boot camps, gym memberships, running and pretty much any other death-defying stunt was the only way that anyone could lose weight. Based on that assumption, I didn’t stand a chance in getting off my couch and adding activity to my life. I mean, it has always been my philosophy that if you see me running, you better run, too, ‘cause something bad is chasing me!

Then one day, I read an article about a person who simply walked his way to a healthier weight. I thought, well, that seems easy enough. So I loaded up my MP3 player and took a lap around my neighborhood (about a mile). Although I had been losing weight with a change in my dietary habits, I was still heavy and walking was not real easy. Knee problems, lower back problems, foot problems— they all played a part in making the one mile loop something of a challenge. But I summoned the strength from somewhere deep inside and decided to make the walk around my ‘hood an almost daily activity. After a few weeks, not only were my efforts paying off at my weigh-ins, but I noticed that the once impossible one mile loop was becoming rather...pedestrian. So I started going around twice. In another month, it dawned on me that I went from Queen of the Couch Potatoes to walking two miles a day 3 or 4 days a week. Then I realized I was getting used to walking during the day and craved the activity if I didn’t do it! I seriously had to check to see if I was running a fever or something! Maybe I had been bitten by some strange mind-altering bug while I was walking, because I DO NOT crave exercise.

As time went on, I satisfied that craving and kept increasing my mileage. I walk on my lunch hour and can do about three miles in that time. On the weekends, when I have a little more time to devote to walking, I get in about five miles. And it’s just walking. Nothing else. I have even added a new Sunday routine that combines walking with every woman’s favorite activity— shopping! There’s nothing like a little quiet time walking around the outlet mall and planning my new wardrobe purchases!

No one really likes to torture themselves with a heavy-duty workout (well, I do know a few exceptions!), but walking is a simple action that we sometimes overlook and discount. I know there will come a time when I will have to up my game, add some resistance band training or even some light hand-weights, but for now, I go out and walk and walk and walk.

Of course, you may have noticed there was no analogy to the “road trip” this time, and I can’t let that happen, so here it goes...sure you can speed while you’re driving, but you might get pulled over and that will just delay your arrival. If you slow it down and keep a steady pace, you are less likely to get stopped and you may even avoid a nasty accident. Speed isn’t always the answer, I mean, who won the race between the tortoise and the hare? And, hey, after a while, if you do want to pick up the pace, go for it! With the right training and practice, you could always drive for NASCAR! In other words, if you have taken steps to train for running, then step it up! It’s your journey, take it at the pace that’s right for you!