A few years ago I met a man, for privacy let’s call him Dean, who lost 120 pounds in a year by doing nothing more than taking a daily walk. He didn’t diet or Zumba or lift anything heavier than a beer. He simply started walking and then made a commitment to keep going. Our encounter was three years after the weight loss and it was difficult to imagine him carrying around the equivalent of an extra person. He talked about his walks as if they were treasure hunts, describing corners of our town he found delightful, that I had never paid attention to. One of his favorite trails that followed a creek was also a favorite walk of mine but the way he described the wildflowers and blue heron we both saw along the path, made me feel as though I’d been walking blind!
Now, I’ll admit when I met this man he had built up his walk to several miles a day and he was diligent. He did tell me though, that it didn’t start out that way. At first just walking blocks around his neighborhood left him short of breath and exhausted. His goal was to work up to an hour a day of walking and he wasn’t concerned about the distance. I told him that I admired his commitment and he replied that he never looked at it as if it were a chore. He had become deeply unhappy and trapped by his physical heaviness and decided to find a way out.
We all “know’ that we need to move more. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition says “ less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day and only one in three adults receives the weekly amount of physical activity recommended.” Building movement into our day isn’t just important for maintaining a healthy weight. Staying active is crucial to our overall health because it increases our ability to regulate stress and aids in our capacity to maintain a happy mood. We know all of this yet 95% of us are sloth like and won’t turn that truth into any action!
Using Dean’s decided example above, I think we are fabricating movement or exercise into something harder and more complicated than it needs to be. Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners Heath Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers Health Study. They discovered little difference in the reduction in risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes between the two groups. If running turns you on, do it! If not, find a simpler way to move your body for 30 minutes a day and fall in love with the experience. If you are energized by a bike ride or lifting weights in the gym, perfect, do that. If not, you can certainly walk. Try noticing your surroundings in a new light. Stick with it and pay attention to the positive changes in how you feel, both physically and emotionally. There will be a payoff, you just have to begin and …wait for it…Keep showing up.
Fitness is important to us here at A and L Masters; physical fitness, nutritional fitness and financial fitness. Through Zeal and our business model we have streamlined a clear path toward nutritional and financial health. We can’t chase you around the block though, so it’s on you to get your booty off the sofa! What we can do is share with you how we fell in love with moving ourselves into all of these areas of fitness.
Take a walk this way, we can help!