No, I’m not about to start droning on for my secret love for Gloria Estefan (though you have to admit the song is great and Josh Segarra looks absolutely dreamy in the musical), instead I’m here to blog a little bit about the importance of getting up and moving about every day no matter. I know it’s kind of common sense but that also makes it something that is easy to forget about, especially if you’re in the position that I am where you don’t have a job that gets you up and moving a lot. To be completely transparent at the current moment I don’t really have a job (it’s seasonal and starts soon) which is why I’ve been so inactive lately outside of my regular workouts. Since my work hasn’t started yet a lot of my day (if not all of it) is spent at home.
What prompted me to start thinking about how much I’m actually active outside of my workouts was a lovely post from Jess, the blogger who runs Does Running Late Count As Cardio; she recently posted about how all the walking she did in Disneyland helped balance out the not so healthy choices one makes while on vacation. You can read the whole post here and check out the rest of her blog while you’re at it.
This post got me thinking about my own walking habits, the regular ones I have and those Disney level step counts. I’ve been to Disney enough times that I know how easy it is to smash through that 20,000 mark in one day at the parks. I never have an issue with doing all those steps either, even when I was at my highest weight and completely inactive. I’m quite tough when it comes to what my family calls Disney Commando which is park open to close, or at least pretty damn close. I too have had the experience where the amount I walked in Disney helped deal with all the wonderfully delicious treats I had during the vacation. In fact, on one trip I came home down five pounds even after eating nothing but crap for a week.
Reflecting on that has really reminded me of the power of just walking and moving about. Last year when my mom lost so much weight she did so without ever stepping inside of a gym. She adjusted her diet and we walked, a lot. That’s the thing: you don’t have to run, you don’t have to do grape vines down the street, you can just walk.
Now that the awful snow and dreary winter weather seems to finally be behind us, I have no real excuse to sit inside all day. It’s time to get off that sick of squats ass of mine and start moving about. I have the time and the ability so there’s no reason not to. With this mindset, I set out for an early morning walk last week and hit 5,000 steps before 10AM. I also got to get a closer look of this really awesome graffiti mural we have near our place, which is why this post is riddled with those pictures. The group of artists responsible for this beautiful mural are called Essencia Art Collective and you can check them out here.
With all this information about why I’m choosing to get up and walk more, I thought I’d share some helpful tips that I have found to be motivating and useful when making more time to be up and active. So here they are:
Start small and build up
You don’t need to jump into your first day and walk for two hours just to prove a point. There is nothing wrong with going all in but it may very well create burnout so you have to be careful. Plus, you might not have two hours to spare. Instead, try to go smaller when you start out. Even if it just involves walking around your work for ten minutes of your lunch break or taking a stroll in your neighbourhood when you get home. Start with ten minutes and build from there. Remember that any activity is good for you.
Make sure you’re well nourished
Getting hungry during any sort of physical activity is the absolute worst. It demotivates you and it makes it so hard to push on. Typically you’ll be burned out a lot quicker and you’ll cut the time short. Any type of physical activity, even the light stuff, is going to burn off energy so you need to make sure you have some in your reserves. Having a good meal before you get up and head out is way better than going on an empty stomach. You’re not going to burn more fat that way anyway!
If you’re like me and sometimes decide to go out for a whole day of walking it’s a good idea to kind of have some breaks planned into your day. Maybe you’ll stop for a bit at a park and go sit in the grass, maybe there’s a store you want to check out or a coffee shop you’d like to chill at. Whatever it is, breaking up your walking with these little breaks will allow you to recover so you can keep going. It also stops you from getting bored. It’s exactly the same mentality that applies at Disney World where the rides act as your breaks between those thousands upon thousands of steps. It’s what seems to allow you to go longer and farther by breaking up the walk.
Go somewhere new
You don’t have to do this all the time but if you do find your lacking the motivation to get up and go out on your usual hike consider checking out somewhere you’ve never been. Do your research and find a neighbourhood that interests you or a part of the city you’ve never checked out before. We’ve found some awesome places in Toronto the past couple months just from wandering around neighbourhoods we’d never been to.
Of course, keep safety in mind when you’re doing something like that. It’s probably best to avoid late night walking in areas you’re not familiar with. And don’t go down random alleys if you don’t know where you are.
Work with the weather
If it’s pouring outside you’re probably not going to feel like getting that walk in but you should still try to get up and stretch those muscles of yours. Consider going to the mall and wandering around for a bit, if you live near a big mall like I do you’ll be amazed by how many steps you can get in just by walking from one end to the other. Plus, there’s no harm in window shopping.
Another option, if you happen to live in an apartment building, is to just walk the different floors. Take the stairs for an added bonus, walk from one stairwell to the next to keep ascending or descending floors. You’ll get some movement in without ever having to venture outside. Or, if you want to go for the extreme, you can pace around your apartment like I talked about in this old post. Any movement is good!
I encourage you to get up and walk around, even if it’s just around your house or around the block. After a long day at the office I know you might just want to go put your feet up and call it a day but taking the time to move around a bit can really make a difference, especially if you are sedentary in your work. A little bit of extra movement every day could be the thing that pushes you over the roadblock slowing your progress, or at least that’s what I’m hoping for.
And now, just to help motivate you to get up and move, a little Cuban rhythm: