September 28, 2020

What I've Learned From Walking 90 Minutes A Day

EDIT 9/29: While I was trying to fall asleep last night, I realized that it was actually day 71 (not 70) of 75 Hard. My mind is just gone these days! ;)

I feel like this is a very odd thing to post about, but as I approach the end of 75 Hard (Friday is Day 75!), I've been thinking a lot about how all of this walking has changed me. (And I don't mean physically.) Here is my 10-week comparison. Not much change in the last few weeks--but I know it's because of the stress I've been under lately. I've been eating too much food in my eating "window" for intermittent fasting. I do love that my hair is growing back out!

When I started the challenge, I expected to begrudgingly do the two 45-minute workouts a day just to get them done and check them off a list. And here I am, 10 weeks later, with a completely different attitude.

For the last 10 weeks, I've walked twice a day for 45 minutes or more each time (there were a few occasions where I rode my bike instead of walked, but I think that was only 4-5 total out of 140 workouts). 

I haven't put any pressure on myself to walk at a certain pace or get my heart rate up or anything like that. My only mission was to walk for 45 minutes twice a day--fast or slow, easy or hard. The main reason for this was because I was worried that by going from zero exercise every day to 90+ minutes per day, I might get injured. So I wanted to keep it easy if needed.

I never, ever thought I'd be saying this 10 weeks later, but I really love my walks now! I thought I'd be counting down the days until I didn't "have" to do it anymore. Because I was going to be doing two workouts a day, I made sure to do the first one as soon as I woke up. And that habit has stuck--I am always out the door within 30 minutes or so of waking up (except for when the kids have to go to school twice a week; on those days, I walk as soon as they go to school).

I didn't start out loving the walks. I started out the same way I always have when it comes to exercise--dreading it and wishing I was doing something else. Soon, I was indifferent about it. I didn't dislike it, but I wasn't looking forward to walking, either. And then at some point, I really started to enjoy walking.

A big reason for this change is that I've discovered that I love audiobooks! I had tried to listen to them numerous times before when I was still running, but I could never pay attention to audiobooks while running. I was always playing little mind games with myself to make the run go by faster. When walking, I get totally absorbed in my audiobooks. When I get home, I'm always excited about continuing the book on my next walk.

Living on a peninsula doesn't give me a lot of options as far as routes go. If I walk the entire perimeter of the neighborhoods, it's only five miles. It took some getting used to--when I was running, I knew all the three-mile routes, four-miles, etc. With walking instead of running, and measuring time instead of distance, I had to learn routes that would be roughly 45 minutes. 

I have a few "go to" routes, but occasionally I like to just turn here and there as I go.

I've learned all the houses that have dogs, what breed of dogs they are, and whether they'll be inside or outside, leashed or fenced (Joey has learned it, too, and gets excited each time we pass a house where he expects a dog in the yard).

I've learned where the squirrels like to hang out and I always try to have a few nuts with me to toss to them. I've seen several squirrel picnic tables, which makes me smile. 

I've learned that people notice me as a "regular". A few people have commented to me about how they've seen me walking a lot.

I've learned to rotate shoes to strengthen my feet and ankles. I stopped getting ankle pain when I started varying my shoes daily.

I've collected a LOT of change. Each walk is like a treasure hunt! ;)

I've met people that I wouldn't have if I hadn't been walking. A woman named Katie with two boys lives just a seven-minute walk from me (haha--I know how long it will take me to walk just about anywhere). There is a woman named Denise who has a beautiful Australian shepherd named Tucker--she plays frisbee with him on one of my routes, and I've let Joey off leash to play with him. We've also met a dog named Roomba (love the name!). She was SO curious about Joey and wouldn't listen to her owner to come (she wasn't leashed). I ended up letting Joey off leash to play for a few minutes before Roomba's dad finally caught up to her. 

Joey LOVES our walks...

Speaking of dogs, I've learned that most barking dogs can be quieted easily when I just say, "Hey, bud, it's okay" in a sweet voice. They usually start wagging their tails like crazy.

When trying to figure out what to do about my front porch, I looked at every single porch on my routes for ideas. And now I've been looking for landscaping ideas for when we're ready to do that.

Most importantly, I've learned that there are reasons to exercise that don't involve weight loss or calories. I don't burn many calories walking, but it does so much more for me. When I am having a bad day--feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed--I like to walk while wearing a visor low over my eyes, looking down at the ground in front of me, listening to my audiobook, and shutting out everything else. It doesn't take away the "bad day" but it definitely helps me to forget about life for a little bit while I zone out.

Will I keep walking every day once I'm done with 75 Hard? Yes! I don't think of the morning walks as part of a "challenge" anymore. They are just a part of my life. I do, however, plan to cut out the afternoon walk (unless I really feel like going once in a while). I'd prefer to do one long walk in the morning instead of two walks a day. 

There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) I'm usually in the middle of doing some sort of project and the walk interrupts what I'm doing; and 2) My back pain gets worse throughout the day and by late afternoon, I'm ready to sit with a heating pad (I've had T10 and T11 vertebrae pain since I was a kid, so it's not caused from the walking). 

While I haven't followed 75 Hard perfectly, as it's "supposed" to be done, the one thing that I did consistently without fail is the exercise. I'm proud of this! I thought this would be the hardest part of the challenge, but instead, I learned that I really love walking. If I had to walk at a certain pace or heart rate, I know that I wouldn't have gotten to this point. I would still see it as a chore. But by walking based on my mood (sometimes I want to stroll, sometimes I want to go really fast), I've loved it!


  1. Do you use The Libby app to listen to books? It’s free and I love it! I agree I tend to walk longer if the book is good and I’m invested in listening to it!

  2. So inspiring as always. I love how you shared the mindset reasons you enjoy your walks, how listening to audiobooks while you walk lets you zone out, and relax. Burning calories is great, but thanks for sharing the other benefits as well!

  3. You look so good! You're super healthy and shapely. I know what you mean about the dogs along the way. I've been attacked and bitten in the ass! I've been chased and it scares me so much! One thing I've figured out on my own is if you walk, dogs don't want to kill you, but if you are running, they want to attack! That's why I changed to tread mill and stair runs. I just avoid the dog attacks but I used to love running outside with my earbuds playing pop music. And Rita (my black lab) loved going with me, but now she is having trouble walking, so we go with her much slower. She still loves her walks! One time she was running on the leash and she practically drug me to a place I didn't want to go off the cassino parking lot. She is 95 pounds, so she was pulling me. Anyway, I found a $20.00 bill in the weeds! I thanked her!

  4. I love walking. I go every morning, even before the Fall challenge started. I am not looking forward to walking when it gets really cold but I will do it and be glad I did!

  5. I'm glad you've grown to enjoy your walks. This is just me, but I don't consider walking exercise if you are walking at a pace where you can talk. I have been somewhat lost since the pandemic as I'm a big gym goer. My gym was totally closed for months, and re-opened a month or two ago at a greatly reduced capacity. I love spinning, it is the greatest cardio out there. I push myself so hard every time I spin that I literally feel like I could die. I also used to lift weights 4 days a week. Now that is greatly reduced due to changes at my gym. You might only be 40, but lifting weights is so important as you age. I'm 54, and I look around and see women in their 70's with terrible mobility issues due to obesity and lack of fitness. I don't want to be like that, I want to run around with my grandchildren, and still travel the world. Just something to think about.

    1. Chris, I’m glad to hear that you are so active. Spinning and weight lifting are great workouts. But there are some people that can’t participate in spinning and weight lifting, and activities like yoga, swimming, and walking are better options than being sedentary. I personally have joint limitations having nothing to do with obesity or lack of fitness. I lift weights with a personal trainer and visit a physical therapist, totaling five times a week, but I can’t even walk around the block.

      Katie has mentioned that she no longer feels the joy she used to feel from running. Criticizing her choice of activity because it’s not as hard as your choice, telling a formerly obese woman that you are worried she will be obese in her old age...this was insensitive. We each are on our own journey, and your routine is not the right choice for everyone.

      Katie, I’m happy to hear you are doing so well with your new routine. Joey probably loves it as well.

  6. It's funny how dogs get trained to know where other dogs live! I run with my dogs and they ALWAYS get excited for the other houses with dogs. We've lived here for three years and one of the houses down the street has a fence that comes right up to the sidewalk, and my dogs are always SO eager to get to that house and sniff along the fence because they have two dogs. One of them would run along the fence and get my dogs all wound up (which they all loved). But the story turns sad...there were a few months this summer when we were always there too early and the dogs weren't out...and then when our schedules finally aligned I realized they'd had to put one of their dogs down :( It was the one who ran along the fence too, and now the other dog seems too sad to interact. So I've had this whole wave of emotions centered around this dog I don't even know every time we run past now!

  7. That is great walking 90 minutes a day. I do the same thing. I walk 60 minutes in the morning and 30 to 40 minutes in the afternoon Nothing like it, Makes me feel better and has tons of health benefits!! Keep up the good work!!


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