Back in August 2012 when I decided to do something about the weight I had gained this century and which was threatening to continue to increase now I was no longer running round after a bunch of school children all day; I knew I needed to do some exercise as well as reduce my cheese and wine intake. Apart from dancing I have never enjoyed physical movement or sport and a brief experiment with Zumba the previous winter had shown me my physical limitations. I hate swimming and would make sure I only walked to the village or post-box as little as possible.I turned 60 in March 2012 and no way did I want an unhealthy retirement. After all I am a baby boomer!
It soon became clear from the logs of my friends on Myfitnesspal (MFP) that walking at a moderate to brisk pace was popular. I was not the only one who did not want to go to a gym or start something I would not fit into my lifestyle for ever so walking was what I decided to do. I knew that for heart health I should try to take 30 minutes exercise a day. So Initially I walked a one mile round trip to a farther postbox than usual and it took me 25 minutes. I would come back hot and exhausted and have to sit down for half an hour to recover . Gradually I built this distance up until I was walking to the village via the nature reserve and finally I proudly made it to Sainsburys and back- 2 miles plus.
The biggest surprise was the change in my mind-set. I began to purposely look for a reason to do that walk most days and made sure I needed something from the village. On days I did not I explored the private roads around my home and watched the building of several houses in the following months. If one of my online pals logged she had done a walk that morning I was incentivised to do one myself and mid-afternoon off I would go. I explored paths I had never known about in the 10 years I had lived there. All through Autumn 2012 I was walking between 20-30 miles a month and I did some longer 5-6 mile walks round London with another RL friend. When the weather got bad a MFP friend told me about Leslie Sansone online walking programmes so I checked these out on You Tube. They are Ok when there is ice on the ground or torrential rain but I would rather walk outside.
By the time I moved to Seaford in August 2013 I was walking most days. It might only have been a couple of miles but it all mounted up and most importantly it no longer felt like a chore- I really looked forward to it. The 30-40 miles a month I had been walking earlier in the year had stretched to more than 50 and if I did not walk every day I felt something was missing. 3 months on I have some great new walking circuits established. Who could fail to be uplifted by the chance to walk by the sea? I have ventured further afield to the Cuckmere valley and there are many more great places here I can explore on foot. My goal now is to increase my monthly distance beyond 60 miles a month and make sure I walk every day. The online distance challenges my friends have introduced me too are helping enormously as is logging these walks with Map my Walk. I could never have imagined that I would have walked nearly 600 miles in 15 months. I have more energy and stamina and am so thankful to all those who have encouraged me.
Oh and did I mention I have lost more than 2 stone in weight? But that’s another story