A 26 degree winter night is freezing to me. But that’s just me.
These winter days I’m really missing the warm sun and leg-warmer-free mornings. I have a walking addiction, and I can thank one life-changing summer for that.
It was the summer of freshman year in college. Bye bye dorm food, hello yummy home cooking. Every evening after dinner my mom and I would sneaker up and hit the walking path near our house.
Some days I rocked it out a bit – roller skating in circles around my mom, or jumping rope in pace with her cute brisk strides.
I thought nothing of it. It was pure summer bliss.
And then I got back to school. First day of class, I walk into organic chemistry lab, and my friend says “Oh! That was you!” He explains – to my bewildered look – “I saw you crossing the street, but you lost so much weight I didn’t recognize you!”
Whhhaaat? (Is what I’m thinking.) What weight? Where?
I dug up the one photo of myself from freshman year (we’re talking prehistoric times here, before instagram and selfies and iphone cameras).
He was right. I was… bigger. A lot bigger.
But after that one summer of walking, I was apparently back to me again.
I had always been an athlete growing up. My high school coaches made sure I moved my buns every day. Jumping rope on the tennis courts, running circles around the soccer field.
But in college, being active and exercising was all on me. And I guess I failed that first year.
After my friend dropped the truth, I decided I had to get serious about exercise and my health.
So I did a really odd thing. I shlepped myself to the gym for the first time, ever.
And I hated it.
And then I realized, hold up. I live in a beautiful place, and I can walk everywhere. All I have to do is keep walking.
I walked around campus, and around, and then some. Walks turned into hikes. Hikes turned into a near obsession with all the gorgeous hills in LA.
Most people don’t believe my stay-in-shape “secret” is walking.
So many people tell me it’s hard for them to lose weight. I listen. I wait. And then I just have to ask, do you move your body in some shape or form once a day?
The answer is usually no. So I debate in my head what to say… how to tell them, just try and walk.
If you’re fortunate enough to have two working legs, you can walk.
It doesn’t take a treadmill. It doesn’t cost a dime. It doesn’t even require a pal… you will always find kindred souls on your path.
And if it’s some unearthly degree below zero with snow up to your knees – as were my winters in Chicago – then layer up in warm gear and have yourself some FUN.
Those snowy walks were the most dreamy times I’ve ever had.
You might blast tunes in your ear or take the moment to be grateful for all the good in your life, but whichever way you walk it, you have no choice in one matter…
You WILL get your dose of feel-good drugs.
Your body – thank goodness – is so smart. It’s not by accident that when you exercise your body releases chemicals that elevate your mood, diminish pain and stress, increase mental clarity and memory, regulate your blood sugar.
Your body is a walking feel-good drug machine!
The operative word being walking.
You do the walk – or the move, or the dance, or the whatever makes you happy – and your body will dispense all the doses of good healing energies you need to get the body you’ll feel good about.
What’s your secret to staying in shape?
Leave a comment below and share what inspires you to move your body every day.