Sat with Nat · walking

Celebrating Small Victories from Tiny Changes.

Recommended Soundtrack: Celebrate by Kool & The Gang

I don’t know why but walking makes me think of penguins. They walk a lot! So here’s a picture of 6 penguins walking towards you on a sandy beach. there’s a nice rolling sea in the background. These penguins aren’t remarkably fancy or big or anything. They are your everyday kind of penguin. But I think they’d be fun to party with.

It’s one week into the new year and I’m reflecting on the small victories I experienced in 2021 and these first few days of 2022. I’m always amazed at how tiny changes can add up to small and sometimes huge victories.

Walking….walking…walking

My average daily step count in 2021 was 12,511 steps. That’s up significantly from 2020’s 9,200 and 2019’s 8,100. Wahoo!

That translates to just over 7 km a day or a whopping 2,500 km last year. Folks, I could have walked from London, Ontario to McAdam, New Brunswick and half way back. HOLY HECK.

Looking at what has contributed to maintaining a higher daily step count, there are a few tiny changes that tipped the balance.

Add just a bit more

When we got our puppy we had to go for many, very short walks of half a block to train her. As Lucy grew we added a bit more to each walk. We made 10, 20, 30 and 45 minute loops in our neighborhood.

My body adapts

Over 18 months those little loop changes added up. Plus I got faster at walking so I now cover in 30 minutes the distance that used to take 50 minutes.

How about right now?

Those loops became our coffee break, lunchtime, morning and evening walks. Over the day we walk a combined 90 minutes to two hours. If a regular scheduled walk can’t happen I grab the dog between calls for 10 minutes. My beloved and I check in if we have busy days. Sometimes we simply ask “how about right now?”

Take a tiny bit of time

Since the walks were woven into our day it was easy. Do I have less time at lunch? A 10 minute loop is enough to refresh myself and get Lucy the movement she needs. Dinner is baking and I know if I sit down I’m not going anywhere. I can take a tiny bit of time. Feeling TOTALLY BAGGED? I can at least do 10 minutes, for Lucy.

A bit of momentum

Often once I’m out the door my feet keep me going. So if my schedule allows that 10 minute walk could stretch into 30. Especially on weekends we tend to just head out and meander since we’ve few timings to meet.

Variety

I got to walk to all kinds of places last year. Downtown to my favourite bookstore or restaurants. In and around McAdam over the summer. Through new trails in London. With my partner, my sister, friends, my kids and alone. Switching up walking partners also keeps it fresh.

Low effort

I bought all slip on footwear. My coats are filled with dog bags, treats. No prep required. I use my phone’s built in step counter. No additional tracking required. I work from home so I can dress comfortably and with the weather in mind so the time to transition from my desk to outside can be seconds, at most 5 minutes.

It’s ok to take a break

If it’s truly a downpour I’m ok walking just enough to get Lucy to do all the things she can do. That might be just 20 minutes that day. It’s ok. I’m dispassionate about not hitting a daily target. When I’m sick I walk if it feels ok but I don’t over do it.

Ask for help

My children happily take their turns in my stead walking Lucy when I am not available. The family has agreed they do the dishes after dinner so I can head out. We negotiate who can do what and when. Without this I don’t have the time to walk.

Celebrate!

Looking back at those tiny changes over a long period of time they morph into small victories. Yay! And that added up to quite a big uptick in my step count. YAY!

Reality Check

So you may think that upping my steps has lead to an amazing physical transformation. Uh. Nope. I look the same. Weigh the same. Wear the same sized clothes.

SURELY my blood pressure improved. Gah. Nope. It’s actually increasing and I’m working with my doctor to address it.

But how about strength? Flexibility? Resting heart rate? Nope. Not changed.

What HAS changed?

As a result of all that walking …I’m much better at walking. I can walk longer at a faster pace.

My mood has been good. I’m feeling more resilient in the face of stress do when the tough times come I’m recovering well. And. Wow. That is a mighty impactful thing worth celebrating.

How about you?

Looking back is there a tiny change you’ve made that had impacts over time?

One thought on “Celebrating Small Victories from Tiny Changes.

  1. Getting adequate exercise is definitely an issue when you work from home. Some years ago, the hospital where I work gave free pedometers to all staff over 50. They figured we old folks needed to be sure we got enough exercise. They told us to work up to 10,000 steps gradually. The first day I wore it at work I measured >12,000 steps. I routinely walked at least that much every day at work. I gave the pedometer away. The 11 mile (round trip) bike ride to get there didn’t count. Exercise is pretty easy when it happens automatically in the course of the work day. Post-retirement will be another story.

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