I’m serious. Get up and walk. I have long been one of those people who would circle the Wal-Mart parking lot several times looking for a close spot before giving up and going to Target. I am now one of those people who has registered to walk a 5K this month. I attribute my new-found energy and consistent success on this weight loss program to daily exercise in the form of walking.
As Dr. K., one of the program’s endocrinologists, explained to me, the body needs to receive a consistent signal that you mean business. His recommendation is to move for at least 30 minutes each day. This doesn’t mean you have to jog, run, or do anything that requires three easy payments. Simply getting up and taking a walk helps.
My first effort to walk didn’t finish well for me because I started out with unreasonable expectations. I had hoped to cross the Two Rivers Bridge and find out what’s on the other side. What I found was that my ankles weren’t able to carry my weight that far for that long. I hobbled back to the car to regroup.
Over Thanksgiving break, I visited the mall every day. I walked laps past the storefronts until my ankles started hurting, at which point I’d sit on a bench. In the early days I’d make it five or ten minutes at most. As the week went on, I found that I could go for longer distances. I wasn’t knocking people down, mind you — I was going with the flow, which can at times be quite lethargic in a mall.
When I returned to work, I joined a small group of employees who participate in a daily walking routine. Initially, I joined them for two laps each day, which works out to be a little more than half a mile. This group walked faster than I was accustomed to, but I quickly found their rhythm.
After the second week, I was up to a mile with the group. A MILE. I had never in my wildest dreams ever expected to be able to walk a mile. When I was in elementary school in the mid 1980’s, we were required to complete a timed mile. I weighed 165 pounds in the third grade. I was the only kid in my class at Ellen Smith Elementary who was told, “We’re out of time — you’ve only made it half way. We have to leave now.” I’ve always believed walking a mile, for me, to be impossible. Not anymore.
In recent weeks, I’ve not only been able to keep up with the walkers for the complete mile, but some days we do a fifth lap. Other days we walk the perimeter of the campus to cool off. Yesterday I started one lap ahead of the others so I could do six laps. I am ready to try for 3.1 miles.
Get up off that couch, roll back from the computer, put down that iPhone, and go walk. Start with reasonable expectations. Walk somewhere with a lot of places to rest. Find a buddy who will keep you accountable. Don’t hurt yourself. Every journey begins with a single step. Take it from me, you CAN do this.
PS: Get some good shoes. I like these walking shoes from New Balance.