Today is Day 240 in what started out as a 7 day walking challenge and no end in sight !
On February 22 this year I resolved to challenge myself to go for an early morning walk everyday for the next 7 days. So off we went Bella and I. The reason for setting myself this challenge was because I had decided to get serious about losing a few kilos and to do more to improve my cardio fitness which would improve my ability to train better in my martial arts classes.
Not only that, Bella, our dog could always use the exercise too.
I decided that I would walk for 15 minutes everyday, 7.5 minutes outward and 7.5 minutes return. We set-off and in the first few days turning either right or left at the end of our street, I picked landmarks each way at the end of our time which would mark our turning point for home.
The weekend came around and just because we had more time, we walked further, going for around 30 minutes.
So what have I learned from 240 days of morning walks?
Every sunrise is unique
Bella & I have witnessed so many sunrises - ones that are grey with the promise of rain, others with brilliant streaks of colour across the sky, each one beautiful and unique and all a magnificent reward for getting out and about early.
Sunlight really is golden
I think we have all drawn pictures as children with a bright yellow sun up in the sky somewhere with sunrays spreading out of it. Nature is exactly like that some days. The golden rays of the sun are warming and breathtaking some days as they touch everything with brilliant colour.
If you want to start a habit that will stick, include your dog.
Dogs are creatures of habit and within not more than 3 days, Bella was sitting at the door every morning after her breakfast making anxious noises to tell me it was time to go for a walk. It was amazing how quickly the expectation became fixed for her. If you are really wanting to start any sort of fitness habit, include your dog, They will remind you without fail and you will do whatever it is because you do not want to disappoint them, you will disappoint yourself far easier and make excuses than you will let yourself disappoint your dog!
Letting your thoughts just float along with the clouds is a great start to the day
I have found my morning walks to be a form of active meditation. Just walking along enjoying the morning and letting thoughts come and go without dwelling on them helps to release any negative energy in my system and sets up my mind clear to work on any problems that the day might bring in a better way.
Not only that, I find it fuels my creativity and sparks tons of new ideas.
During the last couple of months, on most days I also drag my teenage son out bed early so both dogs get a walk and it has helped him set up his mindset to better cope with school and work pressures.
Early morning is the best time of day
The world is fresh and new, the air is clean and crisp, all you can hear are the birds starting the day and your footsteps as you walk along. The sky seems big above you and sometimes the moon is still up. No one else is around , all is still and quiet. You feel yourself a part of nature and give thanks for freedom, time and space around you.
Daily walking is a springboard to improved fitness and energy.
Not only do I walk each day now, I also do either a quick yoga or bodyweight workout session after my walk and before I eat. This regimen has been awesome to trim down and tone muscles as well as improve my cardio vascular fitness and flexibility. All of which supports my main martial arts karate and muay thai training each week.
Our walking motto - Whatever the weather we walk together!
We have watched the seasons change and enjoyed all the different temperatures and weather conditions and will continue to do so each day.
I encourage you to get out there and start your own walking journey and I would love to hear about your unexpected benefits and discoveries along the way.