Take a hike!

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I love Rocky Point Park. It is, hands down, my favourite place in the entire world. I’ve fallen in love there. I’ve had my heart broken there. I go there to find solace and comfort. It’s where I go when I want to be alone. I take the kids there for ice cream.  In short: Rocky Point rocks.  (groan – bad pun… sorry about that!)

The last few times I’ve visited the park, it was for a power walk. Everyone who I’ve talked to on a professional level about this journey I am has said the same thing: walking is the best exercise. I’ve downloaded a few apps to help me in this endeavour (Map My Run and Walk Tracker). However, I haven’t been able to made a commitment to walk on a regular basis. This is frustrating. I know it will help my process. I know I feel better when I exercise. I know I love myself more when I’m working out.

My attempts at walking, as of late, have not been all that pleasant, which is stupid, because really: walking?! I was walking at a brisk pace (averaging 5 km per hour). It’s not supposed to hurt, is it? But it has. My feet hurt. My back hurts. My knees hurt. Man oh man – I sound like I’m 75 years old complaining about all of my aches and pains. I was walking at a brisk pace (averaging 5 km per hour).

The thing is: if I don’t start taking better care of myself, I will be complaining about all of my aches and pains, but a lot sooner than 75.

Tonight’s walk was meant to be more of a relaxing, enjoyable experience. No power walking for me tonight.  Just a nice leisurely walk through the park, listening to a podcast on my iPod.

You know what?! It worked! I wasn’t playing upbeat music, trying fiercely to keep up with it, working up a huge sweat, huffing and puffing, and worn out by the 30 minute mark. I walked for 75 minutes this evening, enjoyed the beautiful weather and sunset (see the photo above!), and listened to a great podcast.

When I got home, I entered my walk into the My Fitness Pal app. To my surprise, I burned more calories than those short, higher intensity walks.

This? This I could do. I could block a chunk of time off in the evenings and go for a nice long walk while listening to a podcast of some sort. I could be learning while I’m walking! Cool.

I think – no, I know – the reason I haven’t been able to make a commitment to walking is that those power walks were damn painful. Yes, I know: no pain, no gain. But, let’s get their gradually. There’s a difference between the “good” pain that comes from working your muscles to their breaking point, and the “bad” pain that comes from a bad back and sore feet.

So, I need to take baby steps. I need to slow down and give myself permission to not be perfect.

That bears repeating:

I don’t need to be perfect!

Which is hard for me. I like being the best I can be. But right now? I’m not the best me. I’m fat and somewhat lazy, and I feel sorry for myself about it. So what do I do? I try to be perfect and work myself too hard, so hard it hurts (and not in the good way), so I give up. Time to change that. Time to give myself permission to just do my best, and recognize that, today, this long slower walk was my best. Sure, I’m not running a 5K (heck, I’m not even walking 5K yet!), but I got outside and moved. My body thanks me. My spirit thanks me. My heart thanks me. My feet, back and knees aren’t in pain, meaning I’ll be able to move tomorrow.

Anyone have any good suggestions for podcasts to listen to while I’m walking?

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