Greetings! Your intrepid, approaching 50, woman is back to share her journey to fitness and hopefully inspire both herself and maybe you too!
The pandemic has been hard – we’ve all suffered mentally, emotionally, physically. The winter(s) were especially brutal if, like me, you dislike having to put on 17 layers to just go outside and don’t have indoor exercise equipment. Alas, I digress. Now, onto why I’m really here…
There’s this “new” exercise fad that all the “exercise gurus” on social media say, especially for middle aged/peri/menopausal women (like me!) is way better than hours at the gym or HIIT, etc. Of course, in reality it’s not new at all. We as a species have been doing this exercise for at least a couple of millenia now. What is this, you wonder? WALKING! Wild, amiright?
In April of this year I was working from home and still had primary possession of Giselle. See her photo at the end of this post.
I happened to come across this advertisement on social media that was called The Conquerer Challenge. I investigated and did some research. The company behind this challenge has put (I’m sure) thousands of hours of work into it.
The concept is simple, Sign up on the website, select your challenge, download the app to your phone, and off you go on your adventure! There’s so much more to it though – it’s an international community of incredibly supportive people, all on a fitness journey who are challenging themselves and others to be more active. And when one warrior falls (walking buddies, such as my Giselle, or an unexpected physical ailment – damn knees!) everyone rallies to support and motivate!
In April I started a 75km trek from Cairo, Egypt to the Great Pyramids in Giza. I paid the company about $30. My google fit app is paired with the Counquerer Challenge app on my phone and every night my km’s are uploaded and my journey is logged. (You can manually log distance as well. For example, I log 1km for every hour of archery I do and the app provides a conversion chart for other movement activities, from rowing to housekeeping) For every 20% you complete, the company plants a tree. Along the route you receive random virtual postcards with details of the part of the journey you’re on.
It took me almost 3 months and I completed my first challenge! What a ride! It was very encouraging to see how much progress I made on a daily basis and to see my completion percentage and the amount of time it took. You choose how long you have to complete the challenge, so it really is a self challenge more than anything. At the end you get an actual medal in the mail with a completion certificate and the distance on the medal. I am onto my second challenge and am climbing Mt. Fuji. It’s another 75km trek because I’m still working up the courage to do a longer walk (Niagara Falls 113km for example, or the Great Wall of China at 259.1km).
The idea of fitness for me is about attaining optimal health. Walking is truly one of the most accessible forms of exercise out there and if done in proper supportive shoes, is so incredibly easy on the body (well, on my round body, yours may be different) and it can be a great social activity. Find a friend and create a team and do a challenge together! It’s amazing how fast the km’s add up and it’s exhilarating to say – I walked 20km this week. Sure, some people will walk 20km in one day but each person’s journey is their own and cannot be compared to anyone else’s. Walking has so many other benefits; fresh air and vitamin D, you can explore new to you places in your city/town, you can spend quality time with your pet, your quality of sleep improves and best of all – IT’S FREE!!!. It takes relatively little energy and you will find in time that you WANT to go out. If for no other reason to see where you are on your journey every day. At the end you can say – look what I accomplished!
I have found that I tire the dog out when we go for more than 2 km at a time (she’s not that big really) and I’m about to start a full time in person office job, so my frequent daily walks will be reduced. It’s your journey, walking will also help your mental health and the movement and sunlight will help decrease/eliminate any depression or anxiety you may be going through. It can be a great meditative time and you will find as you progress that you are walking a bit faster and covering more distance in a shorter period of time. You can catch up on the newest music, listen to your favourite Podcast, listen to a book.
Who knows, one day when you get to the Great Wall of China you can say, I’ve walked this and it only took me x number of days! I’m a Conquerer! I hope you decide to start a walking journey of your own (and I seriously can’t recommend it enough), so far since April and as of writing this, I’ve covered 93.1km (that doesn’t include today’s kms yet). I’m so proud of myself – as a lifelong non active person, this has been such a motivating, enjoyable and rewarding experience! If you’re in the Kingston area and want to start a walking group – hit me up! I’d love to walk with you and share a journey!
Kirsten (aka Kiki) is a woman approaching 50 who has struggled with exercise her entire life. She lives in Kingston with her 2 cats and occasionally a Shar Pei named Giselle. She is currently taking archery lessons and hopes to start curling again this year. Kirsten is also an active participant in a virtual distance challenge and is currently walking from Cairo to the Pyramids at Giza.