Best Fitness Decision I Made This Year
During the winter of 2014/2015 I did something that helped me switch to a healthier lifestyle and get into a better shape.
Since then I’ve been happier, kinder, and more productive. I’ve lost some stubborn weight and all the excess energy that appeared led me to exercising again after several years of hiatus.
What I did was free. Well, it costs me some money now but the costs are negligible.
I did not buy a fitness video course or a PDF e-book. Neither did I sign up for a fancy gym with a personal trainer.
Instead I got this little guy:
I picked him up for free after calling up some farmer’s ad. The winter was cold and a bit depressing so I did not do much reasoning – I wanted a new friend. That is how this German shepherd / Czech wolfdog mix-breed appeared in my life.
As he grew I read up on dog physiology and learned dogs need to walk a lot even if they live in spacious yards. At the same time I was teaching him to poop outside (yeah I scoop when necessary) so walking became part of my routine.
Little by little I adopted the habit of daily walks, our usual route being about 6 km (nearly 4 miles). This is pretty much an exercise I can not skip because otherwise the dog will suffer and that is unbearable. Oh and he will probably poop on my lawn too.
My main realization was how good walking at a fast pace is for you. In fact, walking tops running for me, because running is more of a straining chore, it feels like a competition with yourself. When you walk, you contemplate.
Here is what daily walking did to me:
1. Weight loss.
When I walk fast I get my pulse rate up to the “fat-burning” exercise zone and make sure it stays there for at least 20 minutes. The leg muscles get a good amount of exercise too because the terrain is uneven (forest or field). As a result I lost about 20 stubborn pounds of fat that were holding on to my waistline, always ready to explode into a proper belly.
It’s a known fact that walking activates your colon muscles and prevents constipation. If you are suffering from going irregularly and need to cleanse your body you will feel better once you start walking daily.
To me, even cycling is going too fast compared to the world, not even to mention driving. When you walk on foot you get to appreciate the outdoors, you get to feel the world, you see what distances are, and you ultimately calm your mind.
After a walk the brain is rested and cleansed from all the thought garbage. If you want to power-charge your walking with some energy, look just above the horizon and focus on your breathing. Looking up and breathing consciously helps stop your “inner dialogue” , filling you up with happiness.
Forest walks fill up your body with oxygen so well you get drunk on it. Breathing deeply you’re coming back to life after inhaling circulated air-conditioned air all day.
Fields are great for summer walks too, since the air is like hot tea brewed with all the blooming herbs. Just watch out for the sun and keep your head covered.
4. Actual communication with the dog
I believe that communication with healthy domestic animals has a therapeutic effect. You are spending time with a creature that loves you and is thankful you spend time with it. These emotions somehow get through to your body and you are both having a great time.
Walking is life. Humans were created to walk, roam the fields and forests endlessly. Each time we sit for over an hour our bodies suffer and we become unhappier.
Find time to walk daily and you will see the difference it makes. Even if you do not live out of town there are ways to add walking to your daily activity – make up a purpose of your walk and go get it.
Don’t believe me, believe 105-year old Gertrude telling us her secret – and guess what, it’s not gym membership: