Starting this week, Syracuse University Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation J. Michael Haynie will host “SU Safe Weekly Roundup,” a series of weekly virtual update sessions to assist University community members in preparing for the Fall 2020 semester….
Orange on the Move Walking Challenge: Bringing Back the Joy of Walking
The other day, my high school bestie and I were reminiscing about how we used to walk everywhere as kids. We both came from large families, so the thought of asking for a ride anywhere was laughable. If we wanted to go somewhere, we walked.
We would think nothing of walking from Henninger High School to the baseball stadium for opening day, then walk back home after the game! Walking to and from school was the norm, and it honestly didn’t bother me. It was a time to decompress, sort out my thoughts, or catch up with my friends.
I never had a car, so the walking continued through my teenage years. Most weekends, just before curfew, I would sprint, bolt, stroll and, on some occasions, stumble home before the door was locked. Between school and my social life, I would easily walk at least four miles daily.
Fast forward to now. My car has replaced my legs for transportation, and my lifestyle doesn’t allow for a lot of extra time to walk, run or stroll during my typical day.
I decided to use the Orange on the Move Challenge as a way to jump-start my walking, make it a consistent part of my day, and ultimately find the joy walking brought me as a kid.
Step 1: I always like to start with the essentials—new sneakers! You absolutely cannot enjoy walking without the proper footwear. So priority one was a well-fitting, good-looking pair of sneakers. These are mine:
Step 2: Remember to pack said sneakers when going to work every day!
Step 3: Find a walking buddy. This is absolutely not crucial. However, I have found that walking and talking is great therapy. My walking buddy and I have a rule: what is said on the walk stays on the walk. Plus, it is more difficult to skip the walk when you have a walking buddy to hold you accountable!
Step 4: I make it a goal to find something beautiful every time I go out for a walk. This small challenge requires me to pay attention while looking for the one thing that will make me smile while walking.
Step 5: Put the walk on my schedule. Just like a regular meeting, scheduling time to walk is one sure way to get it done. No excuses!
When Plan A Doesn’t Work, Go to Plan B
Best laid plans don’t always work out, especially when living in Syracuse, where Mother Nature has a sense of humor. In order to get those steps in even on the days that I don’t get out for a scheduled walk, I have found ways to sneak in extra steps.
Step 1: Park in the farthest spot in the lot. This is my car:
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but these steps add up. I remind myself that I am fortunate to be able to walk, and this may not always be the case. So for now, I will park far away and enjoy the extra steps. When I have meetings on campus (my office is at the Food Services Commissary south of campus), I park in a lot farthest from my destination and walk to all of my appointments.
Step 2: Take the stairs. Some days this just plain hurts! It does get easier. By walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator, I have found that I have more energy to do other things in my daily routine.
Step 3: Walk through the neighborhood after dinner. Not only is this a great way to get to know your neighbors a little better, it is fun to look at everyone’s landscaping this time of year.
My Results? I’m finding a bit of skip in my step when walking down the hall. I’m also able to run, not drag myself up the stairs at home to grab those sneakers that I almost forgot to bring to work! There are days when getting the 10,000 steps seems like a breeze, and there are days where the steps refuse to add up. I’m finding that my walking days have become more frequent, and I feel the kid in me shining through. This has helped me to stay motivated and keep walking!