30 Minute Walks with Marcus

It all started 468 weeks ago…

That is how many weeks I, Marcus, have been taking 30 minute walks on my lunch break.

One day, I decided I would go for a walk instead of surfing the web on my lunch break. It was awkward at first, and I thought this is just plain weird going for a walk by myself with no particular place to go.

At the time, I didn’t know where to go or how far I should go or how long it would take. I just took off on foot and headed down the street. I knew that I wanted to stay off the busy streets and try to keep it quiet and relaxing so I headed into the local neighborhood. I walked about 1 mile and thought I had better start heading back towards work.

The next day at lunch I decided to try it again.

So, I headed out the same way and extended my route. I realized it wasn’t so bad walking for 30 minutes during lunch. I then started using my iPod shuffle and linked it to a Nike sensor in my shoe and found it to be a fun way to track my distance and time after each walk.

That was old school back then, a sensor in your shoe?

In 2007, I started keeping track of my walks through the Nike fitness website. This made my walks even more fun. I tried laying out new routes to mix it up each day and sometimes would take my routes opposite ways. It got to the point where I had winter routes and summer routes mapped out for my walks. I also got to know a couple of the neighborhood dogs along the way.

Eventually, I even looked forward to my lunchtime walks. I didn’t do it to lose weight or to get stronger. I just did it because it felt good to get out of the office for 30 minutes and clear my mind and to prepare for the afternoon.

I recently checked my history on the Nike fitness website while writing this blog post and realized I have logged 2,257 walks for a total 2,685 miles.

Exercising during the work day isn’t for everyone. Believe me, I thought it was strange to take off walking with no real destination. Why would anyone do that? But, I recommend trying it for a couple of weeks. Who knows, you might even find it fun and relaxing!

Health Benefits of Walking

The surgeon general recommends walking because it helps reduce and treat chronic illnesses, which affect about half of all adult Americans.

Moderate physical exercise helps prevent and reduce the severity of chronic disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and also improves mood and mobility. Walking is a form of exercise that almost everyone can do and doesn’t require special equipment (other than comfortable shoes) and counts as moderate physical exercise.

Tips For New Walkers

1. Choose the right shoes

The only equipment you need for walking are shoes and chances are you have a pair suitable for the job already. You should be able to twist and bend the toe area. New Balance and Brooks make specialized shoes for walkers. I have tried a couple of different brands and really like the Asics. Make sure they are light weight. They say to replace them every 300-600 miles.

2. Know your route

It’s good to have a clear idea of where you’ll be walking on any given day. You’ll feel comfortable and confident knowing what to expect as you walk and not waste any walking time figuring out a route on the fly. Try and devise a handful of routes that vary in length, grade and terrain. Just a couple of route options can prevent your new habit from getting repetitive.

3. Dress for the weather conditions

We don’t all live in San Diego which means that we have to deal with seasonal weather climates. Don’t let the hot, cold, wet, windy or icy weather prevent you from your daily walk.

I will bring a extra shirt to walk in so I can change quick afterwards if it is really hot. I wear layers for the wintertime walks. I have found that it is difficult to use the weather as an excuse not to go for my walk.

4. Find a walking buddy

I find that walking solo is kind of nice. Some alone time to gather your thoughts is never a bad thing.

Of course it is fun to have a buddy to walk with and talk to while you are enjoying your walk together. And there is always your dog to encourage you to get off the couch and go get some fresh air.

5. Make walking a part of your life

At first, anything new can be difficult to keep doing, simply because it’s not part of your routine yet. Once it becomes a habit, it will become a part of your day-to-day flow. Remember that motivation is what gets you started and habits are what keep you going.

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