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Walking Can be the First Step Toward Weight Loss

walkingWhen I first decided to try to lose weight, I knew that I had one big problem.  (Well, maybe TWO big problems, if you were to count the size of my behind.  Ahem.  Maybe let’s not go there just yet.)  I hadn’t exercised in so long that my physical condition was appalling.  Laying in bed that first morning, I thought about my exercise options.  Being that it was January, and I didn’t have access to a pool, swimming was out.  I had a stack of exercise DVDs, but I’d tried those in the past and hadn’t really been successful.  (Note to self:  Actually MOVING along while the DVD is playing is the secret, I’ve since discovered.  Who knew?)  I was completely broke and home with both a one-year-old and a two-year-old, so taking classes outside of the home wasn’t feasible.  I finally decided to start walking.  Laying in bed that morning, I had visions of myself RUNNING, hair flying in the breeze, passing other runners like they were standing still.

Yeah.  I have a good imagination.

The first time I went out for a deliberate walk, I plotted a course. It was about three miles long, and I thought that if I wasn’t tired at the end, I’d repeat it again.  Only, the first part of it consisted of walking around my block, and I was completely exhausted when I finished just that part.  I made it back to my house in ten minutes – no, that is not an exaggeration  – and I sat on the curb and cried.  How had this happened?  How had I gotten into such bad shape that a walk around the block exhausted me?   I thought back to all of the times that I’d made bad choices – taken seconds (or even thirds!), sat on the couch rather than chase after my kids in the backyard, picked donuts and a frappuccino for breakfast over yogurt and fruit.  Every one of those choices added to the previous one had contributed to my appalling physical condition.

I stood up from the curb, more determined than ever to get myself into some kind of physical shape – and yes, round is a shape, but I wanted to be in a DIFFERENT shape.  Starting from that pathetic attempt, I worked myself up to walking and running a half marathon.  If I can do it, you can do it.  I pinky promise.

If you have weight to lose, why not  investigate walking?  It’s an exercise that you can do virtually anywhere, with very little supplies to buy other than good sneakers and socks.  I’ve walked in Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada and all around my fair city. It’s good for you, getting you outside and in the fresh air.  It’s easy on the joints, you can take your kids, and if you walk with your spouse, it gives you both a great opportunity to catch up on each others lives. Or walking can be your own version of alone time.

Are you a walker?  Or did you find a different exercise that jump started your exercise habit?

See how Carmen’s weight loss journey began.

April 16th, 2009

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6 Responses to “Walking Can be the First Step Toward Weight Loss”


Annika
Apr 16th, 2009
1:33 pm

Walking’s been my first step too. I’ve been amazed at how quickly my endurance has built up – I haven’t lost much weight yet, but I can hike further than I would have imagined possible just a few months ago.


Kalisa
Apr 16th, 2009
1:53 pm

I’m totally going to start walking when I get all the surgeries on my feet finished. I’m hoping to get my husband to do it with me. He uses his asthma as an excuse. Do you find that your kids w/ asthma can keep up with you?


Andrea@WellnessNotes
Apr 16th, 2009
2:08 pm

Great post. Walking is so great for your body and mind!

And yes, walking is a great way to get in shape. I have been walking for 20 years, and walking has always been the exercise that got me back into shape when I had been slacking off a bit, which happened once in a while over the years… :)

I have a toddler and put him in his stroller whenever I can. And you are right, walking with your spouse is a great way to catch up!


Steve Parker, M.D.
Apr 16th, 2009
2:12 pm

This is inspirational, Carmen.—-I had run a couple marathons in my early 30s, then laid off the exercise routine almost entirely for about three years – I needed to spend more time with my family, helping out around the house, etc. Getting back into exercise is tough! I tried jogging a half mile and ended up with a muscle strain that sidelined me for a week. So how did I ease back into exercise? Walking! My motto now is: “Start low, go slow.” Increase your workload every 1-2 weeks.—-Steve


Headless Mom
Apr 16th, 2009
9:31 pm

Walking is my exercise of choice. I live in a hilly neighborhood so I can tailor my route to include lots of up and down-when I’m in good shape, or straight across the hills when I’ve been slacking off and need to work back up. Sometimes I add spurts of running to up the cardio. I love to walk through the neighborhoods and see the houses, too!


Carmen
Apr 16th, 2009
10:20 pm

I absolutely agree with Steve’s motto, start low, go slow. Anytime that I’ve had an injury, if I try to get back too fast, I end up sidelined again.

Kalisa, to answer your question, walking is good for asthmatics – especially if they take their inhalers, and use their preventative meds. It’s easier on the lungs than running. I’d have your husband try short walks and gradually increase the length of time.