Need a break? Take a walk.

Walking helps you keep your sanity. Trust me. I know this from experience. Since the pandemic hit, and gyms and yoga studios have closed… opened… and closed again… walking is one thing I do consistently to keep healthy and clear my head.

Some days my walk is a luxury and other days it’s an absolute necessity. Sometimes I go alone. Other times my husband, Jon, goes along with me. Then there are those rare, truly special moments when one of our teenage sons joins in. Most walks are power walks, but some are just a stroll. Regardless of the purpose or company, walking is now something I look forward to each day.

As a former runner, I used to think walking was too slow and too boring. I also didn’t believe it did the body much good. After all, I could burn more calories in less time running the same route! Unfortunately, I did a lot of damage to my joints and now have nearly constant hip pain. I actually don’t blame most of that on running. I just wasn’t built to run as much as I did at one time. Not to mention that I just turned the big 5-0 and new aches and pains crop up regularly.

The pandemic actually pushed me to get out the door for my daily walks as a means of keeping up with my fitness. However, what I’ve gotten out of it is so much more.

1). As a career-woman turned full-time caregiver to my family, aging mother, and sister with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, sometimes I just need to go where nobody is asking or expecting anything of me. That’s where the sanity saving part comes in.

2). Walking has given me a quiet space to hear my own thoughts, revive my love of music, educate myself with podcasts and enjoy the outdoors.

3). My husband and I get some time to connect without all the distractions of family, phones, and computers. Most days he likes to talk and I like to listen. The time together is good for us as we continue to keep busy lives.

4). Walking keeps me grounded at a time when I feel like too many of the people I love have gone crazy with the coronavirus shuttering and long-overdue protests. I am starting to despise social media as I regularly see head-smacking anti-mask or racist posts… or, I’m just now seeing people's true (and disappointing) colors. Thus, walking is my way of venting in a positive way.

5). Most importantly, walking makes me feel good. My mind seems more clear after a walk. I have more patience and can give more of myself to the people I love and care for after hitting the pavement. And, I’ve managed to strengthen my lungs and legs while avoiding the “COVID fatty 15” with walking. Add in Mighty Fit’s growing library of workouts and my whole body gets what it needs.

So, the next time you start to snobbishly snicker at taking a walk, think twice. I consistently burn between 300 and 550 calories on my hour-long walks. Plus, it’s a great way to take a break from the chaos of your world, connect with someone you love or simply enjoy the beautiful outdoors.