Benefits of Walking vs Running
When I was almost 40 years old, not that long ago, Kent had taken up running and really liked it, and one day I overheard him saying to someone, “No, I don’t think we’ll ever get Kel out there running...” He wasn't putting me down, he just knew I'd never taken the least bit of interest in running and had no reason to believe it would become my thing.
Well, I'm kind of stubborn and took that as a private challenge.
I thought I would die the first time I ran a whole block without stopping — NOT kidding. I figured maybe I couldn‘t run, or that my lungs weren't up for that endurance thing, but if all those other people could do it, I could, too, right? So I kept with it and learned a few tips to make it easier: Click here to see these 4 Tiny Tips for Beginning Runners. Eventually I even ran a couple 5K races, and WOW was I slow — but whatever, I was just happy I could do it at all. Click here to read about my first 5K run or click here to read about my unimpressive 2nd 5K run, which Kent ran with me.
So I kept at it, off and on, for maybe a year or two, and for a few years after that I did a lot of run-walking or rollerblading on the trail. I still do those sometimes along with occasional uphill sprints just because I'd heard that it's good to mix it up and do something a little different here and there. But when my knee started hurting pretty regularly if I'd run, I started to question it all together. Over time Kent had switched from running to mountain or road biking, because he got to a point I never did — he loved it so much that he'd want to go further and further distances, but he began having some injuries, too.
It seemed like every serious runner I knew of had dealt with various injuries at one time or another — can that really be good for our bodies?
Also over time, more and more articles were coming out about how much better walking is for us anyway. Here are a few:
- 4 Reasons Walking is Actually a Hardcore Exercise Move
- Or if you want to still run some, did you know that MANY runners include walking as part of their routine and that it's actually better for you?
- Or that running only 10 minutes a day is a good thing? Or that people do walk-runs for marathons all the time? I had no idea about this until I was on the shuttle to my hotel in California for the WAPF conference and overhead some runners who were there for the Disney races. You just have to be sure you're walking fast enough to finish in the allotted time, but other than that, it's no big deal — apparently if you walk a lot of it or even all of it, it still counts!
So now, besides the occasional half- or one-mile run, just to prove that I still can do it (even if I'll usually have screaming muscles the next day), I mostly walk, and love it much more than I ever loved running!
That's the back-story, so now…
How Walking My Peace Back
If you're one of my longtime readers, you may have noticed that I haven't been posting as regularly as I used to. I've always said that as a business owner, I'm harder on myself than any boss would ever be — in the past I've worked waaaaay too many hours and slept very little at times, all because I felt that I HAD to get that next post out before morning — otherwise my stats would drop and I wouldn't be able to pay my expenses for the month! (And yes, I did see the irony of writing a blog about health and my not-very-healthy habits.) So as you can imagine, this stress would tend to mess up other parts of my life, too — always feeling like I should be doing more as a Mom, or around the house, but still never getting on top of things on the blog — because there's always more that I “should” be doing. (Any longtime faithful readers who would like to help support the blog, please do your Amazon shopping through this link, or shop via my resources page or check out this gift giving guide with great ideas, and thanks!)
Let me tell you how all of that has changed and how I'm feeling much more peaceful lately.
Last Spring Kent and I went to Colorado together — it was the first time he went with me for a business conference and it was so fun! Yes I was freaked out about flying somewhere without the kids, it's just a weird Mom fear I have (that the plane will go down and we'll leave our kids orphans), but I'm so glad we went and had that time away. Click here to read more about our CO trip and the blogging friends we got to hang with. While we were there we walked a LOT around Denver, because that's what you DO when on vacation with Kent, and I actually love it, it's a neat way to see a city. Prior to this trip I'd been thinking about starting to track my daily steps and shooting for 10,000 steps a day, so this was the perfect kick-start, since we got 12,000 steps one day, and 16,000 another!
What does this have to do with PEACE?
It's all a perspective thing. My biggest threat to personal peace has always been related to time-management. Moms and Dads, I know you can relate — how in the world can we get it all done?
First of all, most of us try to do waaaay too much. Jen Fulwiler has helped me with this, she tells a story about how her husband was looking at her to-do list one day and finally told her, “Stop, that's it. That's all you can do today.” (You have to read that whole post, it's SO good: The Courage to Rest.) In my other favorite post of hers, she talked about how Mother Teresa couldn't help everyone every day either. (You'll want to read that whole post, too: The Secret to Not Being Overwhelmed.)
So I asked Fr. Langford: What did Mother Teresa do when it seemed that there was more work than she could possibly handle?
His response was simple and wise, and it marked a turning point in my life. In his reply to my email, he wrote:
The [work she could not get to] she did not think twice about, nor should you or I, since God is not asking you to do what He does not give you the time (or health, or resources) to do. So be at peace.
Partly I've gotten better about this in the past year or so because I've decided to make NO my new default word. There are so many things I'd like to do or that I think I'd be good at, mostly different ministries at church that sound fun to be involved with, but I-can't-do-everything. Right now family, homeschooling, and my business is IT. With occasional nights out with friends. When I do add anything more in, it's only after a lot of prayer and talking with Kent.
PERSPECTIVE is huge…
Mostly, though, when I started walking as an almost-daily habit, I don't know if it was more time experiencing God outside in nature and Him finally getting through to me (probably!), or the fresh air and sunshine helping me think clearly, or what, but this helped me gain better perspective in all areas of my life. I'd come in from walking in the evening and when I'd normally have said to myself, “I've GOT to get that post up now!”, instead I'll say, “Nah, I'll do it in the morning when I'm fresh.” (Another score for the flexibility of homeschooling, because I let the kids sleep in while I work early in the mornings. Read more about that in my recent homeschooling update on how we finally found our groove.) Then I'll watch Fixer Upper on TV (do you know how long it's been since I've chilled out and watched TV?!), or play a game with the kids, or get a few things done around the house before going to bed at a decent hour. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep consistently these days also helps the whole clear-thinking and perspective thing too, I'm sure.
Tips for making it all work and getting exercise in too:
Before I started walking regularly, I'd often say, “I can do THREE of the following each day besides keeping up on the basics (meals, laundry, errands, etc.): I can homeschool the kids, do my computer work, and only ONE thing extra: exercise, sleep, or pray — pick one.” But I thank God that now, somehow, He has worked it all out!
Hint, it's all about multitasking, but not in a “I'VE GOT TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE” stressful kind of way. It's more relaxed…
- Instead of meeting friends for a coffee date, we get together and walk. 🙂
- No time to fit in daily devotions or prayer time? You can pray on your walk or all day long! In the past I'd hear, “You make time for what's important to you.“, so I'd feel bad for not taking the time with God first thing in the morning — but that's when I have to work because the kids are still sleeping, my brain is fresh, and I get so much more done! It never seemed to happen in the evening either because you all know how it is, it's a circus around here. Then one day on a podcast I heard a priest say, “You just might not have TIME to get in specific bible reading or prayer time, but God is everywhere ALL DAY LONG, just talk to Him!” You know what? That's what I've done and it's been really really good. After a while it becomes a habit, so I'll chat with Him throughout the day, or in the night if I wake up and feel like there's someone that I need to pray for. Often I do still pick up my daily devotional books or my bible for quick inspiration, but no more guilt if I don't have that specific time to set aside. I think that overall I'm praying more than back in the day when I took a specific half hour each morning to pray and read. The point is, find what works best for you and your life right now. (Here are my favorite podcasts, by the way — I love turning these on while I walk on the days that Kent or a friend can't go along.)
- Use this time to catch up with your spouse — Kent and I have great uninterrupted time to talk on our walks together.
- Have a lot of phone calls to catch up on? Do it while you're walking!
- Feeling down? I know that when you're feeling depressed, exercise is often the LAST thing you feel like doing, but if there's any way to get outside, it's the best way to help snap out of a bad attitude. I always get some new, helpful perspective on life when I'm out there.
- Need extra motivation? The following essential oils are said to be helpful! You could rub a couple drops onto your temples or use a diffuser (click the names for the links to the kind I like): Ginger, Thyme, or Orange.
- No need to buy a Fitbit or another gadget, did you know that there is a tracking app right on your phone? Look for the pink heart app on your iPhone, it's been tracking your steps without you knowing it! (Be sure to get a radiation-blocking case for your phone if it's in your pocket all the time! Click here to look at those, plus headphones, tablet covers and laptop pads. Click here to read my review about them.)
- Don't necessarily walk hoping for weight loss. Walking results in losing weight for some, but I walked for months before I noticed any change on the scales, and with my premenopausal stuff off and on, that was probably more to do with hormones. In general, exercise tones you up and is SO good for you, but I don't think it's always going to result in weight loss in women as well as changing what or how much you're eating will. (Although in men it usually does!) What it does do, though, is get you thinking more about your health, and when you're toning up and clothes are fitting a bit better, it motivates you eat better, too. 🙂
- I've never had time to “check Facebook” like some do, beyond the Kitchen Kop stuff that I post, so now if I'm done making phone calls, I've gotten good at reading on my phone while I walk, it's kind of fun. I can actually see what my friends or nieces and nephews are up to! I also have been known to catch up on email this way, too. You just need really good peripheral vision to see the sidewalk cracks, lol.
- I have to remind myself sometimes though, to just put the phone in my pocket and LOOK around at God's beautiful world, listen to the birds, and thank Him.
- Just to clarify. I don't walk every day, and don't beat myself up when life happens, but with that as the goal, I walk a LOT more than I used to.
- I'm hoping to keep it up even with colder weather approaching. (But it's not here yet in Michigan, and it's December, yahoo!) On the really blustery days I can always get on the treadmill — I've got a treadmill desk similar to this one, so I can still multi-task. 🙂
Don't think that all of this means every day is rosy perfect around here — I've still got piles of stuff that need to be sorted and a house that isn't sparkly clean (or even close!), but I feel more settled inside and peaceful. Know what I mean? I remind myself now, “That stuff will get done when it needs to get done.”
So go outside for a walk and take advantage of the fresh air and the new perspective on life that it brings, then see how things may start falling into place in your life, too.
Let me know in the comments where you're at with time management and exercise, or tell us what helped to give YOU a new perspective and peace in your life?
- How to Eat Carbs Safely and Lower the Glycemic Index of the Foods You Love (Also: Why Dieting Backfires!)
- More posts about exercising are here
- Lowering stress and anxiety by realigning your priorities
- My All Natural Chill Pill for Anxiety
- A book Jen mentions, which I read years ago and forgot about: The Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Life
- Don’t get the whole Christianity thing? Check out my other blog: Christianity101Blog.com
- Another good book: Boundaries, When to Say Yes, When to Say No, How to Take Control of Your life
- 20 Tips on Fighting Anxiety, Depression, and Fatigue Naturally
- More posts on time management
- More posts on stress and anxiety