It’s that time of year when lots of people set out on journeys of self-improvement, yes it’s New Year resolution time. I personally have never bought into the New Year resolution thing - I think when it’s time to make a change you should just go ahead and make it. But I can understand that the start of a new year can be a good trigger to many people to think about what changes they want to make in their lives.
In September 2016 I decided to make a change, to a get a bit fitter and be healthier. Now my starting point was absolute zero, I did no exercise at all. When my husband gave me his activity tracker to wear, I was shocked to find I did less than 3000 steps in a day. Due to having had knee surgery less than 12 months before, I decided to take a cautious approach and embark on what I felt was a safe and simple plan, to walk 10,000 steps per day, no exceptions.
At the time I was on garden leave following being made redundant, so certainly had the time each day to dedicate to the hour of walking I needed to do to, alongside my usual pottering about to hit my target. And I did it every day, no exceptions, no bad weather excuses, no it’s my birthday excuse. Some days I even marched on the spot in front of the TV just to get those 10,000 steps in.
When I started my role at Maximise IT I decided not to have the option to park near the office, so chose to park approx. 1.5 miles away. This means my commute is 10 -15 minutes of driving and 25 minutes of walking each way, each day. This means I built getting to my 10,000 step goal into my daily routine and hardly even notice it. Occasionally, I have driven the whole way and parked and actually found my commute to be only 5 minutes shorter, so I don’t even lose that much time by walking part of the way, thanks to the congestion in Bristol.
As well as the physical benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day, I find the 25 minute walk to and from the office provides other benefit too, it gives me time to think. I don’t listen to music or podcasts, I just walk and think and lift my head up occasionally to notice the world around me (and take the odd picture, some examples included). On Tuesday I saw 15 abandoned Christmas trees looking rather forlorn in the pavements, but mostly I just think. I think about the day ahead and what I want to achieve, or the day I have had and what it means. I use those 25 minutes to switch from work priorities to non-work priorities and vice-versa. I miss it on the days when I travel or work from home.
So, I do walk 500 miles every 4 months or so (I walk on the weekends too) and still actively look for other opportunities to walk when I can. I even looked up some walking holidays on the internet a few weeks ago but I have not committed to anything yet. Walking is part of my life now and I feel my life is better for it. So I would certainly encourage anyone to make such a change, New Year resolution or not.