Back in December, I started walking 10,000 steps a day, and I’m still walking. (You can read more about how I started walking here.)
I’m still walking 10,000 steps a day (and more some days), and it has really changed the way I look at exercise.
While I have been a fairly active person all my life, I have often made exercise far more difficult than it needs to be. It’s something, I used to think, for which I must change into other clothes. And I have always viewed it as something I must do with significant intensity for thirty minutes to an hour, sweating and making my heart beat fast. And if I didn’t check all these boxes, I felt like my exercising didn’t count.
Because of this attitude, exercise often felt like another chore to mark down on my to do list. And it became increasingly easy to skip it when I felt like I didn’t have time.
But when I started trying to walk 10,000 steps a day, my attitude about movement changed.
To get my 10,000 steps in a day, I usually take three to four smaller walks all throughout the day. I often start with an early morning walk and end the day with an evening walk after dinner. My husband joked the other day that I walk from dawn to dusk. Of course, that isn’t exactly true because I am not walking non-stop throughout the day.
But I do walk regularly throughout the day. Walking is an incredibly portable exercise. I can fit it in anywhere I am, and I can walk in whatever clothes I happen to be wearing.
When I am teaching during the semester, I often walk between my classes. And I often take the long way to my next class or to my car at the end of the day. Currently my husband I and are in the middle of moving, and we have made many trips to Lowe’s. Frequently when we are there, I take a few minutes to walk around the perimeter of the store a few times.
Recently I flew across country and was able to get in a lot of steps by walking up and down the airport terminal several times.
This week, I am visiting family in Oregon. I have been able to find places to walk in all the different cities I have visited.
Getting outside helps me appreciate the beauty of new neighborhoods and scenery. And it has also helped my jet lag not to be as intense.
I usually get really worn out on these trips because of the time change between Kentucky and Oregon.
And I am still tired, but it’s not as bad this time. And I am able to recover more quickly. I also find that being outside in the sun and around trees helps me when I feel overwhelmed with travel stress or last-minute moving details.
And my walking is really starting to pay off in physical strength.
When I first started walking 10,000 steps a day, it was hard to get all of them in. Now I have a plan for fitting them in pretty easily, and I have recently started hitting six and seven mile days frequently.
The other day, I had an eleven mile day, which it the longest I have walked since aiming for 10,000 steps a day.
I also notice that I am walking faster, and my heart feels much stronger.
I have done all of this while not really setting aside a special time to exercise but rather by thinking of walking consistently, long or short walks, throughout my whole day. And I have been able to do it without putting on a special change of clothes or worrying about if I was working hard enough.
I just go outside, walk as far as I can at that time, at a pace that feels good. And the more I do it, the more I find that I want to do it.
I want to share this because walking is so simple but it makes me feel so happy. And I think it might make you feel happy, too.