October Surprise: Finding the Joy in Walking

This month I have something surprising to report – I’ve been walking to work, 2-4 times per week, and I have been loving it. This comes as an absolute surprise to me! My first writing on this blog was about my relationship with walking. The link is here – let me tell you the short version though – I have always struggled with walking or doing anything “exercise-y.” Most of my life when I’ve done something active, it’s been a matter of dragging myself.

My husband has walked to work for as long as we’ve lived here. It’s about 2.5km to the university where I now work, and I remember when we moved in 20 years ago, it seemed incredible to me that someone would walk to work that far. I just didn’t grow up in a world where people chose to walk. More recently, hasn’t seemed inconceivable in the abstract, just for me.

In fact what got my walking started is my new job is at the university where my husband works. We have one parking pass for our car, and often have to drive a child somewhere before school for an activity. (THAT is another story – one teen has music at 7am, four days a week!). So when I started having to get to work but my husband had driven in early, I was a bit stuck. I decided to walk.

Honestly, that decision was pretty scary for me. That might sound a bit ridiculous, but really, I felt like it was way beyond something that I could just… do. But it was the only option that seemed reasonable so I set out.

The first day was a disaster that involved me bailing on the walking and deciding to talk a bus. But then the busses were already full of students and didn’t stop for me. I ended up walking anyways but being 10 minutes late for work (terrible in a new job). The next time I walked I decided to give myself 45 minutes. I was entirely shocked, because I made it in 28 minutes, and I didn’t feel overly out of breath or unable to manage my day.

photo of river with steam rising from it, trees are yellow and red with fall colours. A bridge railing is in the foreground.
Here’s a photo of the Thames River yesterday – I’m looking forward to seeing it in winter!

In fact my hips (operated on in 2021 and 2019) were feeling quite good. After a couple of walks I started paying attention to my Fitbit and realized it is only about 3500 steps to work. Most days I walk close to 8,000 steps, mainly from dog walking. If I’m hiking it would be maybe double that. Obviously with the walks to work it’s also 10-12,000 steps.

So I guess my takeaway message this month is that what previously seemed insurmountable is actually, in some ways, not even that remarkable. I can walk my dog through the neighbourhood but the idea of walking-as-commuting method seemed far out of reach. Truly that’s a mind-bender for me, and has me wondering what else isn’t nearly as hard as I have believed it to be.

Selfie Photo of Amanda Lynn smiling with red glasses and a blue jacket, in front of a building with grey stone pillars.

As it happens, this week I didn’t have a chance to walk to work. I was nosing around for a chance but our schedules meant I had to be driving and I was bummed. Friday morning I made a point of walking and wow did it feel good. I’m almost 52 years old now. I didn’t really expect to be taking on new physical challenges at this point in my life, but here I am!

This is me at the top of the hill at the end of my walk to work, feeling a little out of breath but victorious.

3 thoughts on “October Surprise: Finding the Joy in Walking

  1. Yay! Good for you for taking on a new physical challenge at 50+ 🥳. I now call work “what I do between walks” since I, too, am walking to work and back home (about 5 km each). The route is, unfortunately, not nearly as nice as the one you seem to be able to take… Instead I listen to podcasts or audio books, which is also one reason I don’t bike (the other: cars suck!)

  2. Congrats on getting over the mental hurdle. It took me years (and I’m still learning to do it with some aspects of cycling).

  3. I love this post. It honestly surprised me that you thought of this as being beyond your range of what’s possible. I watched you dance and perform and you’ve got so much energy! And your hiking and dog walking! But I get that it’s mostly mental, thinking of walking to work as not in your wheelhouse. I know lots of people who feel that way about various cycling things, as not something they can do, and yet it seems obvious on the outside that they can do it. It does make you wonder what thing that might be for all of us. Great post. So glad you’re writing here and sharing your story.

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