Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Walk the Walk

The very first thing I suggest to anyone wanting to lose weight and/or start exercising is to walk. I'm a true believer in walking to improve health. For alot of people walking is the minimum they should do and for some it's all they should be doing, depending how unfit they are, until they reach a certain level where they can add in other types of exercise. Unfortunately, depending on, age, weight and injury walking is not even an option for some.

When I started my weight loss journey (at 250lbs.!), I made a commitment to walk as much as I could. We have a walking trail near our home that measures 2.5 miles. I started out on a Thurs. morning at 7:00am, and walked almost every morning (at least 6 out of 7 days) after that. It took me 45 min. to complete that distance and now I walk that same distance in less than 35 min.. I usually spent one day (a Sunday) to walk the "loop" twice, which, of course, measured about 5 miles. Man, was my lower back feeling that! But I was driven and nothing was going to keep me from my walk.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I walked in my jeans (something that I still do), and the feeling of those jeans starting to melt off of me was awesome. I would see the same people everyday and wonder, "Does anyone notice that I'm getting smaller?" In fact I recently started taking a friend of mine walking on that same trail on Sat. mornings, and as we passed this one woman I had recognized that she had lost, in my estimation, about 40 pounds and I mentioned that to my friend. So when we passed this woman a second time (the trail is a circle loop) I said to her (this woman, a stranger to me) "Hey you've lost some weight!" and she proudly said, "Yea, about 35 pounds!". So we stopped breifly to exchange quick stories, I had to share my own weight loss, and then we kept walking.

There is something about truly walking "on the pavement" instead of using a treadmill. If a treadmill is really your only option, then of course use it, but I think there's something about actually propelling your body forward that changes your body, in terms of strength and the "look" of your body. And that's just my opinion. Mark just informed me that treadmill walking doesn't develop your glutes and overworks the hip flexors, FYI.

Walking doesn't cost anything except time. I used to drive to the walking trail, which took about 15 min. to get there and 15 back, until my time became more valuable. I find walking on a path that doesn't have streets or cars feels safer and most times walking trails are "marked" so you know the distance you're walking, but now I mostly walk in my neighborhood which starts as soon as my foot is out the door! And that's why I urge everyone to just open their front door and start by putting their foot out the door! It's free!

Because I mostly walk on the street, I do not walk with music and earphones. I did in the beginning to help the time go by easier and seemingly faster, but now I only walk with my thoughts. I find it a great time to reflect (and sometimes to obsess) about things going on in my life.

So, as I was walking last night (7:15-8:00) on a beautiful spring-like evening, I started to think about writing this post, because I still get so much out of simply walking. As I put one leg in front of the other, I can feel my leg muscles getting stronger, my butt muscles getting firmer. And depending on my stride and my speed I can vary the workout. Even though I consider myself to be fitter than most, part of my fitness still comes from my walk. And because of all this, not only do I "talk the talk", I will always walk the walk!


LK said...

I just found your blog.
Great job!!! Nice words on walking. I am going to get myself a KB, haven't used them in 20 years - since my days in the Russian Army :-)
Will try to motivate my wife with your story.

Tracy said...

Welcome, thanks for the comment.