When I lived in Oregon everyone and their mother walked or ran, no matter the weather. Which I found to be inspiring. I used to run like crazy in NOLA (New Orleans), but as I’ve gotten older I realized that running was causing damage to my hips and knees. Since moving to France I have done more walking than I have ever done in my entire life. Even when I was younger before I started driving. I have also climbed more stairs than I ever thought possible.
Before moving I discovered I was doing something seriously wrong with the way I was eating and exercising. No matter what I ate, I wasn’t losing any weight. No matter the exercise I wasn’t finding the results I was looking for. And I did everything from Tracy Anderson, weight training, to flat-out barre workouts. I love all of them, and wouldn’t stop doing them even if I am not getting the desired results. Isn’t that what exercise should be like? gasp, enjoyable!
Back to France! What I have discovered is after large meals, which last sometimes three hours, the French go on light strolls. They may not seem as though they are going very fast or even covering a lot of ground. The point is they are moving. For me, walking has been more beneficial than I ever thought possible. I have more energy, I feel better and I look better. I will add that I am also eating differently as well. The same foods but held up to different standards.
I also have a Fitbit, that I do like. Not just because it gives me updates on who is trying to get ahold of me but because I can see how much I have actually walked, and it motivates me. I was, slightly, killing myself thinking that I had to get at least 10,000 steps a day. However, after a recent article I read, I learned 7 or 8,000 is sufficient. Click here to read the article from Insider.com.
After being forcibly cooped up for far too long, walks have become more necessary to my mental well-being than ever before. On the plus side, it only takes a couple of months to create new habits.
In this new “norm” where we are not certain about the world or the people around us, I think that being outdoors more often is liberating. We have been forced to learn how to be active without going to the gym, and suddenly we are realizing that we don’t need all the bells and whistles of a fancy gym to keep us healthy. I also think this pandemic has awoken this independence feeling in all of us.
The last thing I want to do is be inside and I’m an introvert.
This brings me back to walking. Walking is not only good for a healthy heart but it supports your immune system and helps relieve some stress. By no means should you think you have found the cure-all!
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by parks that are tucked neatly in a bank of trees. I hear the birds chirping, the leaves noisily blowing around in the wind and I can watch the scurrying of little squirrels. I find getting back to nature is really allowing me to get my thoughts to relax. By detaching from the bustle of the world, even for as long as my son desires, I can free up the mental clouds. ( I must mention that I love the woods, like some peop[le love the beach)
And honestly: You can start your walk off in a bad mood but you won’t end it in one.