There was a time about a decade ago that I decided I needed cardio in my life. I wasn’t getting up hills as quickly and without effort as I had in previous years. I knew I had to do something, but I wasn’t sure what.
I knew that whatever exercise I chose needed to be easy, cheap and manageable, or I’d never keep doing it, so I committed to walking 30-60 minutes at least three times a week. Walking with intent, hard enough so I could feel it.
And so I did that. And it was life-changing for me in a number of ways. Before long I was walking five to ten k a day, nearly every day and I could begin to see changes in my body that I hadn’t anticipated. I could feel those changes, too. Within a few months, I didn’t sweat very much at all, my recovery rate was faster and I no longer got out of breath. And all just from doing an activity that’s very controllable, can be done in any weather and for which you don’t need really anything in the way of gear.
I have friends who’ve invested tons into gyms and personal trainers and all kinds of gear who haven’t seen the results I have… just from walking. After a while I added other types of workouts, but all that walking made for a very solid base. I do it early every day (if I leave it until later I seem to be able to talk myself out of it!) and my Apple Watch tracks my progress. That part isn’t necessary, but the metrics seem to make it more real to me: more like a program. I listen to the voices in my head as I walk: it’s a great way for me to engage mentally with my work in progress. But listening to music or even an audio book or podcast is a welcome break sometimes, too.
An hour a day sounds like a lot, but somehow stealing that time first thing in the day puts me in a better place mentally to do all the things I need to do and I actually end up getting more done. And you wouldn’t think just walking could be so good for you, but it actually exercises us in all the places we need.
I do other things now, too. I go to the gym. I do yoga. I hike, ride my bike. Every day I’m doing something that gives me joy and helps me be stronger. But it all started with a few simple steps and that idea: you can’t change your life without changing your life. ◊