by Deborah Johnson
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to take time out to re-connect with friends. My goal was to take a few hours each week and invite a friend to share a meal or meet for coffee and chatter. What started out as an organized way to make an authentic connection ended up in much longer meeting and way more food than what I intended to consume. During February which was Heart Health Month, almost every magazine for women focused on the need to exercise, cut out excess calories and focus on your mental health. I got the hint.
Last year was filled with challenges for me. I spent most of my time focused on the needs of others while my own health and fitness needs took a back seat. When I attempted to put on my favorite suit I realized that I could barely get it on and knew I had to do something to get back on the road to health.
I realized that this would be the way I would get with most of my friends. The idea of conditioning while I connected with friends solved two very important issues for me.
It has not always been easy to schedule the time. Some of my less active friends couldn’t believe I was suggesting that we walk for an entire hour. For those folks, I would get to the meeting spot early and do a very brisk walk and then join them for my more leisurely cool down pace. If it was too cold to be outside, I scheduled a mall walk. I also had a strategy for the friends I KNEW would not be able to walk too long. I walked with them in a place where they could sit out a few laps and catch their breath while I continued to get my steps in.
I am back in the habit of wearing my pedometer and I am determined to get in my 10,000 steps a day. When a friend calls my house, and I have the time, I put in my earpiece and walk around the house while I talk. I even use this time to go up and down my stairs while we catch up. I am seeing a difference already. My friends don’t feel so neglected and my clothes are starting to fit better.
Another benefit to the walks is that walking clears my head and makes me feel better. If my friends live too far away, we put in our earpieces or Bluetooth device and walk in our respective neighborhoods while we talk. Once we are done, I often continue walking and feel very calm and energized by the time I make it back home.
This strategy may not work for everyone and, I would suggest that you consult your doctor if you are not already walking on a regular basis. It will also give you baseline statistics so you can track your progress over time. I also learned that I needed to be aware of traffic and other things around me while I am walking and talking so I can do it safely.
Walking and talking is a great way to connect with your child. Some of my fondest memories are of the conversations I had while walking with my boys. Sometimes they didn’t want to go for the walk but before long, they were talking about serious issues or telling me funny stories. When they were really young, we would act silly by counting the cracks in the sidewalk or seeing how many blue cars we can find. I would also tell them stories about my family and childhood. The memories still make me smile.
I challenge you to put on a pedometer and find opportunities to walk and talk. It will not only help you to connect with the people you care about but will also help your heart and allow you to clear your head. I would love to hear about your journey!