commute · cycling · fitness

Sam is ringing her bell, maybe?

New pink bell on Sam’s bike

Things to know about me: I am a rule following kind of person. It’s hardwired. It’s what I do.

But I confess that until today, I didn’t have a bell on my commuting bike.

I mean, I had one, years ago, but it broke, and I never replaced it, mostly because I only had it to comply with the law. I rarely, if ever, used it.

Why not? Well, it startled people. And I was finding that either people have headsets on, in which case it doesn’t matter what noise I make, or they seemed less startled, and more appreciative of a cheery “Good morning.”

To be clear, our gravel paths along the river and through the Arboretum are wide and not at all crowded so my bike commute is pretty stress free. So far even the off leash dogs have been well behaved and my only near collision was with turtles the other morning.

Here’s some scenes from my long commute:

Sam’s ride to work

But last week, as I was cycling through the Aboretum on my long way to work, I passed an elderly man with a small dog and my “hello, good morning” wasn’t enough. “Don’t you have a bell on that thing you could ring?” he yelled back.

The laneway we were on was as wide as a regular road and I had passed all the way over to the right. Still, I’d startled him. He expressed a bell preference. It is the law that, all bikes have a working bell or horn so that you can announce your approach.

So now I have a bell.

The pink bell clashes. I think it was a stocking stuffer meant for the Brompton which also doesn’t have a bell. Will remedy that too, get a new one for the commuting bike and put the pink one on the Brompton.

In the meantime, cyclists and non-cyclists alike, which do you prefer, bell or no bell? “Good morning, hello,” or “bring bring”?

U can ring my be-e-e-l, ring y bell

This looks like a good place to star my research: Put a Bell on Your Fast Bike Already.

aging · body image · cycling · fitness · Zwift

The MAMILs have met their match, the OWLs!

The OWLs

I’ve written a lot here on the blog about men and body image. See here and here and here. There’s more too, if you search around.

I hate all the teasing men in lycra get, so many MAMIL jokes.

What’s MAMIL stand for? Middle aged men in lycra. And lots of the jokes are about men’s bodies in fitted cycling clothes. I hate them.

Here’s a light hearted one, less mean than most.

Goodbye Kevin. I could look the other way with the boozing and the skirt chasing but I didn’t sign up for bicycle clothes.

But on the other hand, at least older men in bike clothes are recognized to be a phenomena. There aren’t as many older women. See Sam is racing with the guys and wondering, where are the women her age?

However, I came across a Facebook group recently for OWLS! That’s Older Women in Lycra. Here’s the group’s description: “Designed to EMPOWEROWL.bike (Older Women in Lycra) made with ❤️ for women cyclists UCA age 55 and older. OWLs are changing societal messages on aging…one ride at a time!”

There’s also this article: Say hello to the ‘owls’ – older women in Lycra

From the article, “Such men have acquired their own acronym, and it’s entered the language. Mamils – middle-aged men in Lycra – are a recognised demographic who are a target market for advertisers, with considerable buying power and much to enjoy spending their money on, from beautiful carbon-frame bikes to stylish cycle-wear. But the Mamil only tells half the story. There are also what I call Owls – older women in Lycra – and we enjoy all those things just as much. And if that makes us objects of satire as much as the Mamils are… then fine.

British Cycling, the sport’s umbrella organisation, confirms that women ­cyclists – including a significant number of older women – are rapidly on the increase. BC’s women-only Breeze Rides – its scheme to encourage women to take up cycling – have attracted more than 13,000 women since the beginning of 2015. Of these, 59 per cent are aged 35 to 54 and 29 per cent are 55-plus. In the 50 to 59 age group in last week’s Ride London 100 – the biggest sportive in Britain – an impressive 26 per cent of entrants were women. Next month no less a 51-year-old than the Countess of Wessex is taking part in a charity bike ride from Edinburgh to London. A few years ago I cycled from London to Edinburgh myself, and it’s a hell of an undertaking.”

The OWLS race on Zwift and while I can’t join them yet–they race in the afternoon spot for the TTTs–I do appreciate that they’re there.

Might also be nice to just have a mature riders group for all people, including those who don’t identify as men or women.

fitness · Guest Post · strength training · weight lifting

Do not disturb, or on not having ‘hungry eyes’ for men at the gym (Guest Post)

By Brett

This past month has presented me with plenty of inspiration for a blog post. It was, as per usual, incredibly difficult for me to narrow down what to share. However, despite the volume of vulnerable, queer, fitness-related experiences I’ve found myself in there is one moment that feels heavier than the rest. As most of my uncomfortable gym situations begin, this moment was initiated by a male person approaching me mid-workout.

Allow me to paint this picture more clearly. By ‘mid-workout’, I mean a headphones-on-full-blast-sweating-through-my-tank-top-unaware-of-the-rest-of-the-world state of mind.

Now, I have very few objections to interacting with others at the gym. Developing an open, positive community within the gym environment can remove social barriers that hinder the enthusiastic participation of everyone wishing to pursue an active lifestyle. However, this was not one of those interactions. I retrieved my dumbbells from the ground, stood upright, and proceeded to perform my bicep curls.

Simultaneously, this male person positioned himself about 4 feet behind me, and continued to dance his eyes between the back of my legs and making direct eye contact with me via the mirror that stood in-front of both of us. I have a horrible tendency to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, regardless of how clearly their behavior should be reprimanded. Therefore, using said mirror, I quizzically raised my eyebrows at the male person, hoping he may just be looking for someone to spot him on a lift, or perhaps was wondering which direction the washrooms may be. It must be at this point that you are wondering if I moonlight as a comedian…because, yes, these innocent wishes about his intentions were dead wrong.

His response to my quizzical eyebrow raise was to begin speaking, despite the music blasting from my headphones. I set my weights back down, turned to face him, and slid a headphone back.

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

“Uh, I was just like wondering if you like compete, or like yeah.”

“Compete?”

“Yeah, in like physique stuff.”

“No, I do not. I’m just a gym rat.”

It was at this point that he began this disturbing soliloquy:

“That’s cool. You should do physique competitions; you have great definition. I was like worried to ask you because so many girls get so offended when I try to chat with them. But, I could just like tell from your form that you know how to work out, and like I knew your vibe was different. Honestly, you’re just so focused, most girls like look at me with like ‘hungry eyes’, but you just are doing your thing. It’s cool, you know?”

When I tell you that I have heard this well-rehearsed chaos on hundreds of occasions, I say so with little exaggeration. Now, a piece of unsolicited advice, if you redirect the topic of conversation onto them, you quickly fade into the background of a wonderfully self-centered dialogue regarding their macro-intake or something equally as unimportant. Which is exactly what I did, and exactly what he did. Fortunately, this led to a perfect opportunity for a swift ending to the conversation, and my ability to slip my headphones back on (my gym version of a “Do Not Disturb” sign).

It is not my intention that this post comes across as scathing, rant-ish, or a generalization of male people in fitness. Rather, I’m hoping that we can let out a big collective chuckle at the absurdity of this moment.

First, the mental image of me participating in the hyper-feminine culture of physique modelling is absolutely comical for anyone who knows me well.

Second, the fact that this person had the audacity to paint himself as a victim when approaching women at the gym and them being “offended” shows so little self-awareness it made me question how this individual managed to think so highly of himself… while clearly having no idea of who he truly is.

Third, and my personal favourite part of all of this, my lack of “hungry eyes” played no role in him recognizing that I truly, sincerely have little to no interest in gazing at men.

Finally, bold of him to refer to me as a ‘girl’.

Regardless of all the technical issues of his little plan, the most curious part was that he could not recognize the hypocritical nature of his actions. My feminist training began running wild. The Madonna-Whore Dichotomy, suffering under a male gaze, r*pe culture and the idealization of ‘the chase’, etc. Luckily, I snapped out of my trance just in time to realize that “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor was playing through my headphones. I picked up my dumbbells, mentally wished all non-conformists a ‘Happy Pride Month’, and purposefully moved those weights with horrible form.

30 lb dumbbells

Bio: Hi! I’m Bret and I hail from Guelph, ON, where I completed my undergraduate degree in Philosophy. I am currently working towards an MA in Philosophy at Western University, and enjoy engaging in feminist theory, ethics, as well as gender and sexuality studies. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be taught by both Sam and Tracy, and I am excited to join the Fit is a Feminist Issue community! When my nose isn’t in a book, I can be found in coffee shops, at the gym, or taking on car repairs that are far beyond my capabilities.

challenge · clothing · fashion · fitness

A year without buying clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry…Can Sam do it?

I’m going to take the plunge and quit shopping for clothes (also shoes, purses, jewelry) for one year, July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023.

Why?

Well, I’ve been inspired by Mina Samuels’ account of her one year no shopping challenge. See Making Room in My Mind: A Year of No Shopping.

Not having much stuff with me is one of the things I loved about my sabbatical years in other countries. I arrived with a suitcase of clothes and wore them for the year. I had a few work outfits, a few hanging out at home outfits, some bike clothes, a bathing suit (not 7!) and a raincoat. That was about it. I spent a lot less time deciding what to wear and since I only brought clothes I really liked with me, I was pretty much always happy with my choices.

Simpler life on sabbaticals suits me and while I haven’t been able to make that work at home, I’d like to try.

I’ve also been stress shopping in pandemic times and I’d like to stop that. In terms of pandemic stress bad habits, it’s not the worst but who really needs a nap dress or a #workfromhome llama onesie! I also now own Pride Hunter rainboots AND bright pink UGG rainboots, and leopard print crocs with fur inside. Really, that’s enough frivolous footwear for a lifetime.

Sam’s frivolous footwear
Animated Sam in her llama jammies onesie

Regular readers know that I’m a critic of fast fashion and I used to teach about the ethics of consumption in the context of fashion. While I mostly buy made in Canada clothes, not fast or inexpensive, there’s still not much good in owning as much clothing as I do.

I also hope to get rid of stuff I don’t actually wear. Possibly that might include the nap dress. Lol.

Finally, I’d like to put some money away for travel once the pandemic travel panic eases a bit and I feel like, for me, the bother/pleasure is right again.

Why not?

I get a lot of pleasure out of clothes, and clothes shopping, and putting outfits together. Why quit one of things that makes me happy? The thing is I’m curious. Can I get a different sort of pleasure working with what I’ve got? That’s its own sort of sartorial challenge, right? I confess I was tempted by Nicole’s challenge, wearing the same dress for 100 days, but when I went to the website that sells the wool dresses connected to the challenge, I somehow ended up with three different styles and colours in my cart. I don’t think moderation is the path for me here!

Why blog about this here?

Well, mental health is health and we write about well-being broadly construed here on the blog. I like Mina’s description of making room in her head for thoughts other than shopping. Also, there are some fitness implications. See exceptions below! Most importantly thought putting it out here makes it real, makes it more likely that I will stick with it. I’m also taking all shopping apps off my phone. Do you have any other advice to make this easier? Wish me luck!

Any exceptions?

I will make exceptions–say if my cycling shoes break–or if I need a new pair of cycling shorts. I’ve been shopping for a new non-underwire bra for work clothes and while I am hoping to snag one before the 1st of July. If I don’t, then that too will be an exception. I am not putting off the challenge for the sake of finding a decent bra.

A cute cat waving goodbye

Goodbye Luc Fontaine, goodbye Lesley Evers, goodbye Fluevog and Poshmark too (used clothes are still clothes…)!

Sam’s #OOTD Instagram
More #OOTD instagram
fitness · yoga

Balance, baby, balance

June 21st is many things. It’s summer solstice, it’s also National Indigenous Peoples Day — a day for all Canadians to celebrate the diverse cultures, unique heritage, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples, and it’s International Yoga Day.

Laura is celebrating International Yoga Day with a standing balance flow. She writes, “Are you up for a fun (I think) standing balance challenge? Here is a short (<10 mins.) flow, taught by me.”

Bonus content: her dog Trudy demonstrates a beautiful execution of “Sleeping Dog Pose” throughout this video.

And balance is also in the news days these day as a marker of health.

Balancing on one leg may be useful health test in later life, research suggests

“If you have difficulty standing on one leg, it could be a sign of something more serious than overdoing it at the office summer drinks party. Middle-aged and elderly people who cannot balance on one leg for 10 seconds are almost twice as likely to die within 10 years than those who can, research suggests.

How well a person can balance can offer an insight into their health. Previous research, for instance, indicates that an inability to balance on one leg is linked to a greater risk of stroke. People with poor balance have also been found to perform worse in tests of mental decline, suggesting a link with dementia.

Now an international group of experts from the UK, US, Australia, Finland and Brazil have completed a first-of-its-kind, 12-year study examining the relationship between balance and mortality. Although the research was observational and cannot establish cause, its findings were striking.

An inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds in middle to later life is linked to a near doubling in the risk of death from any cause within the next 10 years. The results were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The findings are so stark that the researchers, led by Dr Claudio Gil Araujo of the Clinimex exercise medicine clinic in Rio de Janeiro, suggest a balance test should be included in routine health checks for older people.

Unlike aerobic fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, balance tends to be well preserved until the sixth decade of life, when it starts to wane relatively rapidly. However, balance assessment typically is not included in health checks of middle-aged and older people, possibly because there is no standardised test for it. Until now there had been little hard data linking balance to clinical outcomes other than falls.”

camping · charity · cycling · fitness

Weekend of riding eases bike rally jitters

It’s been 5 years since I’ve done the full 6 day version of the bike rally.

FIVE YEARS is a long time.

(To recap, I did it the first time in 2014 with David. That was the year I turned fifty and the rally was a big part of my “fittest by fifty” challenge. In 2015, Susan and I did it. In 2016, Susan and I were team captains. And in 2017 it was David and me again. 2018 and 2019 I just did the one day version. See Sam and Sarah’s first metric century of the summer on the 1 day version of the Friends for Life Bike Rally: We made it to Port Hope! And then the pandemic hit. I rode virtually and fundraised in 2020 and 2021 but it wasn’t the same.)

I’ve been nervous about having signed up for it this year. The training is hard, the fundraising is hard, I’m getting old, I’m waiting for knee replacement surgery, I’ve got a big job, and the rally takes a lot of time. Maybe those days are over? Nothing last forever, right?

I know some of that anxiety is unreasonable. I’m actually not that old. My knee is a disaster but otherwise I’m in pretty good shape. I know some of the anxiety is related to having lived through the pandemic. But it’s also hard figuring out what’s reasonable and what’s not. And whether or not it’s reasonable the anxiety is certainly real.

I tell people that doing one day of the rally isn’t that hard. Lots of you could do it right now. The hard thing is getting up the next day and doing it again. I blogged about the ‘toughness’ of the rally here: How was it? Could I do it? Reflections on the bike rally.

It’s true you don’t need to ride that fast but in a way it’s harder to ride slowly. It’s more time on the bike.

I like the rally experience best when I’m in good shape. I get into the campground with energy to put up my tent and go for a swim. I get a massage, I stretch, and enjoy a delicious vegetarian dinner.

Here’s one my favourite stretches of road on the rally:

Long Sault Parkway

So this weekend, I put some of my jitters to rest. Sarah and I rode 70 km on Saturday with Jeff who is town having helped with a boat delivery, and on Sunday we rode 97 km on a bike rally training ride. We did the thing I was nervous about, ride one day and get up the next and do it again. And it was fine. Better than fine. Both days felt great. My knee was fine.

Yes, it was a bit of slog out to Musselman Lake on Sunday with some hills and a headwind but we made it just fine and the ride back, with a tailwind, was glorious. It was also great to see bike rally friends again.

It helps that lots of them are my age. I’m not alone in being nervous about doing this thing again after a break. Thanks to the pandemic we’ve all had a break.

Deep breaths. It’ll all be okay.

Please support my fundraising efforts here.

Sam and Sarah
fitness

Movement Monday isn’t Magic but Move Anyway, but only if it works for you

Movement Monday Yoga Version

I’m not sure where Movement Monday came from but it seems to be a thing. On the internet anyway.

There’s also #MotivationMonday.

There’s a lot of pressure on Mondays. It’s also international bench press day.

International bench press day

I’ve always been a fan of getting to the gym on Monday. It sets the tone for the week. I blogged about it here.

But I also want to say, especially to the weekend warriors among us, that it’s okay to rest Mondays. There’s nothing magical about Mondays. Because the worry is when you build something up to a big and important thing and then if you miss it, you think the whole week is ruined.

It’s OK to miss a Monday. Embrace the small failure, don’t make it a big one.

But it’s also OK if making Monday a Big and Important Thing works for you and it’s a great way to kick your fitness week with a bang, then do that.

The point is that Movement Monday is a tool. If it works for you, have fun with that. Share the Movement Monday Memes. Go big on the bench press. Run, run, run!

An aside: I shared Krista Scott-Dixon’s latest thing on TikTok to our Facebook page and she makes the same point about fitness trackers. They’re not the boss of you. They’re tools. I think it’s the same point. Movement Monday isn’t a fitness imperative. It’s a motivational tool that works for lots of people.

But if moving Monday doesn’t fit your life, that’s OK too. I remember when my kids were little thinking that just making it through a Monday was a big achievement. Everyone got to school or daycare? Great. In that stage of life I treated my week, at least in fitness terms, as starting on Tuesday. Monday was too much all on its own.

Your Monday night be Movement Monday or it might be Meh Monday.

Happy Monday whichever way you roll!

A baby, it’s chest day
I’m here to make your Monday a little better. Cute dog.
commute · cycling · fitness

Big hills as barriers to bike commuting: Creative solutions

Many years ago I was chatting with an Old South neighbour who also worked at Western University in London, Ontario and who aspired to commute by bike. We agreed that the bike path to campus along the river was was beautiful and safe and that many factors (no stressful traffic, no expensive parking, time in nature before and after work, environmental reasons, and daily exercise) made biking the obviously best choice.

But, she said, what about the big hill out of the park up to the bridge?

What about it?

I confess though it’s short I was annoyed by the hill out of the park because at the time I was riding a fixed gear bike. I had to take a run at it and sometimes there were people walking on the path and slowing down on the fixie was problematic. But even on the fixie it wouldn’t stop me commuting by bike.

The neighbour was worried she’d need to walk the bike up the hill. I don’t think it would be necessary given that her bike had gears but even so, it’s a pretty short hill to walk up if you have to. But the thing is she was embarrassed by the idea of walking her bike up the hill and that alone was possibly enough to keep her from riding. She felt she wasn’t in good enough shape to ride to work if she couldn’t make it up the hill.

Me, I think it’s okay to walk your bike up the occasional hill. See Sam changes her thinking on walking her bike up hills.

I also think most casual cyclists don’t learn to use their gears. I see people struggling and have to resist yelling, “Shift!” at them.

The biggest factor though isn’t either of these things. It’s that hills intimidate us. I loved Julia’s recent post about hills.

The same is true for commuting to the University of Guelph from the Northside of the city. People comment all the time that they’re impressed I ride up the Gordon Street hill. I don’t quite say “what hill?” but it’s true it’s not much of a hill. I slow down for it but even my Brompton easily makes it up Gordon. It’s annoying but as hills go, it’s not much of a hill.

Here’s the Gordon Street hill:

So my standard view on hills and bike commuting is a)use your gears, and b)if you run out of gears, it’s ok to walk your bike.

I guess my view about hills and urban commuting changed a bit when I lived in Dunedin, NZ for a term while on sabbatical visiting The University of Otago. There the hills were steep enough that some routes just didn’t make sense by bike. I lived in an area that people referred to as the city rise. That meant I had a long set of steps up to my house from the street below and my bike commute would have been a very fast downhill to work and likely walking the bike uphill for at least part of the way home. Needless to say, I walked.

Steps to our house, groceries down below
— in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Getting around town in Dunedin it was never enough to know how far away anything was. Distance wasn’t the most important measurement. I once set out on my road bike to get to the velodrome in Mosgiel–just 20 km away. I gave myself an hour (normally fine on the road bike) neglecting to see that something aptly called Three Mile Hill was between me and there. I was late, obviously, and too tired to do much riding when I got there. And after that I drove like others riding at the velodrome, which felt all wrong to me.

Other than gearing, or e-assist, what would help make cycling more accessible in really hilly cities?

Cork is considering a lift like the one in Trondheim

See here, ‘Bicycle lift’ proposed to help cyclists climb steep 14% street.

Here is the story of the lift named Trampe,

What’s your opinion about hills and bike commuting?

commute · cycling · fitness

My long way to work

A turtle, a wet cyclist, and a tree fallen across the bike trail

My normal bike commute here in Guelph is a little too short. It’s just a couple of kilometers. I’d walk it except I can’t because of my knees.

I’ve also been missing my London commute along the river on the bike path.

Guelph has a river and a river side bike trail but it’s not the most direct route to work. This past week I put all these facts together and starting riding the long way to work. Up the riverside bike path, and then down through the Arboretum to my office. It’s about 5.5 km. That’s still shorter than my 7 km London commute but it’s enough to make it feel worthwhile getting on the bike.

Today I saw a turtle and a giant tree that fell on the path. That’s much more interesting than my neighbourhood route.

There’s also a very pretty wooden, covered bridge on my route.

Sam, the bridge, and her bike

It was a good idea anyway. It’s a much nicer ride. But it’s part of getting ready to ride the Friends for Life Bike Rally in August. I’ve always thought that the hardest part of the rally isn’t the distance you ride each day, it’s getting up and doing it again. So daily riding is definitely part of my training plan.

I’m increasingly nervous about getting enough riding time in. I don’t want to struggle with both knee pain and fitness. Every weekend from here on in, rain or no rain, I’m going to be training.

I’m also struggling this year with fundraising. You can sponsor me here. Please, any amount helps. I’m about a third of the way to my goal.

Sam’s strava report on her way to work
challenge · fitness · Guest Post · walking

Walking with the Conqueror Challenge (Guest Post)

By Kirsten

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!    

Giselle

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.