Really, there is no excuse for not walking in my neighborhood. It is safe and well maintained and comfortable.
But for some darn reason finding time for walking is always a struggle for me. This spring I started out so well with a routine of regular exercise. Then the house renovations started. Three weeks of painting, and a week of kitchen renovation ... and all those weeks and weeks to prepare and clean out and recover. No walking then. And some days the heat was more of an assault than even these lovely trees could cope with.
Excuses, excuses, excuses.
That is all those barriers were ... just excuses.
Last week I began again to establish a walking routine. And I kept thinking about the why and how of my struggle with this simple habit.
And then I saw it. The example of what happens to you when you don't keep active. I saw it on my walk and it is a picture I just might put on my fridge to motivate me.
|This is an old road way that was closed to through traffic over 30 years ago. |
It ends at a creek where the bridge was washed away in a long-a-go hurricane.
Do you see it?
It is so obvious that you might miss it if you are looking too closely. The side walk suddenly narrows. Oh, the side walk is still there - hiding under the overgrowth of nature, but the path shrinks remarkably when not tended.
|I live just to the left of this picture.|
Here is the view with me standing on the narrow path. And literally, this is where I feel like I am looking at my walking life at present. Standing on a narrow untended path.
You would think the example of inactivity in my mom's life would put the fear of God into me. And it did for a time. But images like that fade from memory.
I am a very visual person. I do best with graphic examples. My visual memory is petty darn good as evidenced by road trips when I could find my way back without a map - because I had "come this way before," ... even it is was years and years ago.
And so, in my walking world, I have come this way before. I am standing in a place that is not well tended and I see where I want to go. Aim for enough activity to broaden the path - my life. This image also accurately shows how quickly you lose stamina over 60. When I was 30 I could hold onto energy without much effort. Now if there is no effort, the path narrows very very quickly. Nuts!
This aging process certainly is a whole lot of work. No wonder so many folks just give up and sit!
Out of respect to the body that got me this far - I am a bit more reasonable about expectations, but "reasonable" is not my normal mode of operation when it comes to exercise. I am wired to be a competitive person - always looking to do more - be the best - aim for the lead. And because of that exercise has always been "all or nothing" thinking. After all, you can't be competing all the time. Competing means there is a start and a finish - and someone wins. This less younger version of me has had to readjust that thinking. Walking doesn't have a start and finish as a habit. The goal is not to be a winner, just physically a more active version of me.
Now my goal is to just move! It isn't important that I beat last month's time, or walk more miles than I did last week. The goal has slipped comfortably into what makes sense now - keep moving - and hold onto 10,000 steps a day average. Those steps don't have to be fast, they don't have to be all at one time - but they should happen ... just happen! As far as goals go, this one couldn't be more simple.
So here I go again.
Pedometer says today I have only 525 steps - at 8:23 am this morning. Only 9,500 more to go!