Why I Became A Walker (No, not the Zombie Kind)

I love to run. Well, maybe not “love,” but I certainly enjoy the feeling running gives me. I feel like a badass when I run—like I’m young and powerful and super speedy. (Even though I’m none of those things, the happy endorphins coursing through my body make me believe otherwise). 

After a lazy and lengthy hiatus from running or even walking fast or lifting anything heavy, I decided to stop making excuses. I joined a gym last year and I haven’t looked back. The bottom line is, my bottom, and other bits, are stronger and leaner than they’ve been in years. But this story isn’t about that. It’s about how I ditched running and have fully embraced walking. 

I wrote a bit about how I tippy toed toward walking in a post called, “How To Injure Yourself While Exercising If Four Easy Steps” Main point of the post? I’m a mega klutz who requires constant supervision. 

I’d been running 3-4 times a week on the treadmill and my hips and joints were suffering. Maybe if I stretched regularly, and started sitting properly on the couch instead of frozen in an awkward position as not to disturb the animals perched on my lap, then maybe my hips and IT band would’ve held up better. Alas, stretching is boring and warm fuzzy lap perching pets are the best. 

So because my hips hurt, instead of running I walked. Not a leisurely stroll, but a “I see the bus in the distance and if I don’t haul ass I’ll miss it!” kinda speed. Plus, incline. A shedload of incline. 

At first I felt the need to make excuses to my treadmill neighbours. “I’m injured. I have to walk,” I’d share sheepishly. Like they cared or even noticed. 

I felt self-conscious. *Old people walk. Or newbies who’ve never stepped foot on a treadmill. They’re cool to walk, but not me! Walking seemed like a real step down. I felt defeated. 

*My grandpa never had a car and walked everywhere. He’s ninety-seven and going strong. Clearly walking does a body good. 

But then one day as I was walking and pumping my arms like a mall walker on a mission, I looked up at the heart rate screen and saw that my heart rate was higher and stayed elevated longer than any time I ran. Um, wow. 

My heart was beating like a hummingbird chugging nectar, but I didn’t feel as physically uncomfortable as I do when I’m running hard. 

And though I was winded, I didn’t feel like barfing like I do when I’m sprinting. 

And… no pain! Not then and not now—after four months of walking instead of running.

Even though my hips are better now and seem up to the challenge, I’ve decided not to start running again. It seems I’m quite happy being a walker. Who knew?

I walk fast—often faster than some of the runners beside me. And I walk on a pretty steep incline. 4-6% is a base, 8%-10% is a push, and to really elevate my heart rate and go all out I kick it up to 12-15% and pretend I’m climbing a mountain. 

And the best (if somewhat vain) part… my butt has lifted. Like, literally moved up higher on my body. Where it used to droop, it’s now firmer than it’s been in my adult life. I did not get this uplifting result from running. Thank you incline.

I listened to my body and it said, “Lisa. I get that you feel cool running. But you’re not 25 anymore. You’re not remotely cool and you’re actually kind of old. So if you want to get fit without pain, walk! Also, for the love girl, stop watching ‘The Walking Dead’ because you’re terrified of zombies and the energy it takes to plan escape strategies in case of an apocalypse is energy better spent walking and burning off stress and calories.”

Thanks body. Despite being a bit of a bitch, you’re smart. So I will walk on because being a walker suits me…*happy zombie growl*

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