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Finding Fitness and Walking My Butt Off

Physical fitness really does come along once step at a time.  It’s true. The first mile or so is often a torturous test of determination and die-hard perseverance, but the path nearly always improves from there.

Last week, I posted this on my Facebook page:

The first mile is always the hardest ...
 then everything suddenly changes.
Energy + Endurance + Endorphins = Enthusiasm

Maybe you know the feeling.

Two recent suggestions jump-started this sojourn for me.

This pair of suggestions was somehow serendipitous.

I’ve been feeling like something of a slug lately. Sure, I work with horses almost daily, but a chronic and progressive medical condition has all but sidelined me from mounted activities. An extra-hot summer has exacerbated my symptoms, keeping me out of the saddle more than in it on far too many days.
I enlisted my fashionable and fitness-savvy teenager to accompany me to the mall, where we visited a real athletic footwear store for measuring and appropriate shoe selection. Sure, we live in factory outlet land, but I was pretty sure a significant footwear investment would keep me faithful to the cause.

I’ve already logged dozens of miles in those spiffy running shoes.

At this point, my running shoes have cost me about $1 a mile, but that cost is going down each day. And they haven’t produced a single blister. Thank you, Nike!

I even purchased a pedometer (see ad below) to measure my steps. More than once, I’ve retraced my steps around a block or two, just to make it to the next mile mark.

Mostly, I walk, rather than running.

I have a doctor’s note for that. Balance and vertigo issues often keep me from running straight and steady, especially on bumpy or uneven terrain. Even at the walk, my toes tend to turn numb around the two-mile mark. Running can be tricky and treacherous for me. At such times, I walk.

Besides, if I can walk pleasurably for an hour or more, instead of running for a fraction of that time and hating it, that’s certainly worth something to me.

Even at the walk, I’m lapping my neighbors.

I clip along at a pretty brisk pace. Over the weekend, I passed a few jogging neighbors. And I surely sprinted past those who never laced on their sneakers at all.

Sometimes I even strap on wrist weights (see ad below), just to up the effort level and maybe burn off a few more pesky pounds.

Today, I begin the third week in the eight-week Presidential Challenge. I currently hold second place in our group for total fitness points, although I honestly have no idea what that’s worth. I'm not even sure who's in first, as if it mattered.

However, if I meet the general requirements of exertion for six out of the eight weeks, I am supposed to receive some sort of certificate or patch. I’m not even sure.

I’ve already logged two weeks’ worth – or 40% of the challenge. Here’s my bar chart.

But the challenge makes it almost fun.

Here are a few bonuses I’ve discovered on my road to fitness.

  • My jeans fit better.
  • My diet has improved. A cursory study of calorie-burning rates has made me aware of how many miles I must cover to make up for every munch. (Who knew a handful of wheat crackers had 140 calories? Burning that nifty nosh can take about an hour of moderate walking. Is it worth it?)
  • I’m training my neighbors’ dogs to stop barking at me. Their friendly fire continues, but we’re making some progress.
  • My nature photography collection is growing, as I snap pretty sights with my cell phone.
  • I’ve met a few fine folks in the area, who greet me daily, putting the proverbial extra spring in my step.

Now, if I could only see a numerical drop when I step on the scale each morning.

Black Nikes – Fair Use Photo
Presidential Fitness Promotional Graphics – Fair Use

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1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the dedication and success! I also found motivation recently - some of it from a mutual friend. Here's hoping we both keep going...and going...and going...



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