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Want to change your life? Start walking.

Updated: Sep 29, 2023


Brightly colored walking shoes reflected on wet pavement

At the start of this year, I started walking. Now, I’m hooked.


I’m in love with a three mile loop near my house that takes me up a steep hill through a wooded corridor. I’ve seen bald eagles flirting, a baby marten scurrying, an orange newt lumbering and, this week, a hawk diving to grab a squirrel for lunch. (He aborted his mission when he saw me round the corner, but the squirrel didn’t offer any thanks.)

The natural area is a definite highlight, as is the excellent 55-minute workout the loop gives me. But what I’m addicted to most is how walking continues to transform me – body, mind and spirit.

Body

I wrapped up the holidays as most people do: ready to lose the ten pounds of hot-buttered rum and other delights I’d packed away since November. But I didn’t want a daily gym routine – every three days is plenty for my energy load. Walking felt like the right level of exercise to add to my weeks.

Just in time for spring break, I hit my goal weight. I’d cut out a lot of sugar from my diet, but that couldn’t account for how dang good my legs looked! This was a big deal because last summer, I considered giving up shorts when I didn’t like how my legs looked. I thought I might be too old to wear shorts. But this summer? My legs are fabulous! And the main difference between now and then is walking that circuit once or twice a week.

Mind

Within two weeks of starting my walking habit, I found myself leveraging the time to think through problems on which I’d get stuck. I was writing a major speech for a client at the time, and when I lost momentum or wrote myself into a dead end, I went for a walk. The work flowed more easily when I got home, and often, I had really great ideas on what other directions to take the work.

The benefits went beyond client work. Walking became the time where I’d think about growing my business. Where did I see opportunities opening up? What kinds of clients should I be looking for? As I spent time focusing on business questions, I started to notice synchronicities in my life. Sometimes, the walks brought answers to my questions. More often though, they led me to other questions that led to bigger answers than I could have discovered on my own.

  • That’s how I came up with topics for just about every blog post I've written this year.

  • That’s how I decided to pursue a Change Management Certification.

  • That’s how I started to realize I might be autistic.

Spirit

Walking is a form of meditation. If you’re like me, seated meditation can be really unpleasant, so I tend to avoid it (though I’ve recently found a few excellent meditation practices!).


But walking? I get all the benefits of breathwork (increased oxygen), many of the benefits of yoga (increased blood flow), and my mind slows down enough to feel into the sensations of my body. Therein lies a lot of wisdom I wouldn’t find otherwise.

  • That’s why I decided to embrace my high sensory nature.

  • That’s how I now process emotions and old memories that come up.

  • That’s how I’m integrating more sense of purpose into my life.

The pace of my personal growth has sped up significantly, and it’s all happening because I decided to start walking. I feel more productive, happy, healthy, sexy and fulfilled than I’ve felt in a very long time.

So if you’re feeling restless, like it’s time to change your life, your first step is out your front door with your walking shoes on. Lace up and go. It doesn't have to be a long or challenging walk for the results to astound you.


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Pro-tip: Start with just a 15-minute walk a few times a week. It might take a while to fall in love, and trust me, you don’t need three miles to feel the benefits! Fifteen minutes works great.

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