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Five Things I Learned From Two Years of Walking Everyday

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This is an 800-word, long form article I felt like writing one afternoon. It’s published at Medium.com

 

Five Things I Learned From Two Years of Walking Everyday

 

Routine is vital

 

In the very beginning, it was tough to get out and walk every day — I got busy and sometimes I just wasn’t in the mood to go for a walk.

In the very beginning, it was tough to get out and walk every day — I got busy and sometimes I just wasn’t in the mood to go for a walk.

My routine during the week is to walk at lunchtime. I found lunchtime is perfect because there are few meetings booked then, plus just about everyone else is on lunch too, so there are few phone calls and emails. I have a quick lunch and set off for my walk of somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes.

A route is also an important part of my routine. I tried various routes until I found a few that fit well into the routine. My routes are predictable: I know how long it takes to walk the whole route takes to walk. So with that, I can pick a route based on how much time I have to walk at lunchtime.

The great thing about a routine is that it grows on you — I got used to it and felt strange when I missed a day. Plus, my coworkers now know that I’m out at lunch and so don’t expect replies to emails or phone calls until after I return.

On weekends, my routine is to get out early and come back early — maximizing my weekend time. Sure, I sleep later but I get out as soon as I can for a one to one and a half hours of pure walking bliss! It’s an unrushed and relaxing way to start a nice weekend day.

Focus on the walk

 

I’m so used to ‘functional walking’: going from A to B…fast. I get a phone call, or maybe respond to a text message, or am hunting around the parking lot to find my car.

The world seems to slow down when I go for my walks: I’m not going anywhere. My routes are big circles or squares — I always end up where I started, so I’m not really going anyplace.

The world becomes larger and slower when I walk. I think in terms of steps instead of miles or kilometers. I know I won’t make that light before it turns red way ahead of me. I know that if I pass someone walking the same direction on the sidewalk, chances are that I won’t go zooming past. So my only choice is to focus on the joy of walking.

You get great feedback from your body when walking — each step is unique, you start to feel the texture of the sidewalk, on windy days you might get pushed around a little.

If I get a text or phone call, I might still take it, but I make it fast to keep my focus on my wondrous walk.

Rejoice in the weather

 

Sometimes it’s raining, other times it’s freaking cold…or it’s too hot. The sun might be baking the sidewalk, or the snow might be deep. But I walk anyway.

The weather is a beautiful thing when you take the time to re-familiarize yourself with it.

The wind on my face is refreshing when it’s hot and a reminder of just how powerful the weather can be when it’s cold.

The sun causes the trees to cast hard shadows with well-defined outlines, or when it’s low in the sky, the shadows stretch softly all the way across the roadway.

Rain and snow bring their own beauty.

Be prepared. Wear a hat. Take an umbrella. Wear a jacket. You can always remove something, but it’s much harder to put it on if you don’t have it.

Notice the small changes I take a few different routes but sometimes I stick to just one for a week or two, just to see the small changes every day. In the springtime, the dandelions slowly grow and cover the landscape with millions of bright yellow flowers. I see birds returning to the trees and bushes after a long winter away.

During the summer, the landscape slowly becomes drier; summer storms are fierce. The summer makes the sidewalk shimmer from the sun’s heat.

The changes are subtle and witnessing them is a joy.

Walking is really good for you

 

In two years I estimate I have walked 600 miles or 960 kilometers, and I’m happy to say my weight has not changed at all! I’m glad about that since I get to enjoy my meals and snacks without having to worry about counting all of my calories. I enjoy the things I like, guilt free.

Plus my joints feel great; I feel better overall, and I sleep better too.

Walking is an easily accessible way to enjoy life and feel better.

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