“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller
So I was talking to a good friend of mine, who still lives in Korea, the other day and the conversation progressed, as it often does, to talking about fitness and diet. But I, just in passing, was telling him how I’m able to walk to work and that it takes about 8-10 minutes to get from my apartment to my studio. Actually I’m pretty lucky, It is the third gig I’ve had where I have been able to walk to work. I talked about how I walk in the morning to train my first client or two, then I walk home for a late brunch, then I’ll go back for the afternoon, then I sneak home again for my afternoon salad/snack. Then I make another trip to the studio for my evening clients before finishing up and walking home for a later dinner and calling it an evening. So all in all I make about 6 trips on the average, which gets me pretty close, when all added up, to about an hour of walking every day. It was at this point that it dawned on me that this is probably worth sharing.
We are made to walk. In fact, we have evolutionarily sacrificed a great deal in order to be able to walk as well as we do. Our brain has set up a whole rewards mechanism for when we do walk long distances. It’s why people feel so good after they have had to walk so far and why people go out of their way to go on hikes. I would even call it my first solution, if you have not been feeling so good and have felt a little down. Try seriously going on longer walks and see how you feel before taking more drastic steps. I won’t go as far to say there is a direct cause and effect, but it is hard to notice that depression keeps rising in the general population as walking seems to be less and less. Makes for an interesting correlation doesn’t it?
Now here is the good news. Fitness and movement adds up. You do not have to go for 1 hour in a straight shot, you can do it in spurts and you can do it throughout the entire day. Maybe you get 20 minutes at lunch. Do it! You can go again later after dinner again, or while the kids are doing their activity. You can park as far away from the store at the far end of the parking lot. It might only be a two minute walk to and fro, but like I said, movement is cumulative in a day. It all adds up. Take the stairs when you can instead of the escalator or elevator, it all helps. You may not live close to your job the way I do, so you will have to be a little more creative, but I ultimately want to finish with and reinforce that just because you don’t have a full hour or two for daily exercise, does not make it the excuse not to do something. We can find 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there, and before you know it you are crawling into bed feeling good from all the extra movement and feeling tired enough to really enjoy a nice restful sleep.