- My knees don't bother me as much. Over the past year I've developed a problem with my knees. It's painful to kneel down, or to be more accurate, it's painful to stand up after I've been kneeling. While sitting, if I keep my legs in a bent position, they'll begin to ache if I keep them in one position for a long time. While this is still a problem, the pain has lessened since I've begun walking. The improvement is probably due to a combination of exercising the joints and having less weight to bear as I shed my pounds. The pain may never totally go away, but it's encouraging to feel my knees improving.
- Walking doesn't trigger my competitive instincts. In my physical prime, I tried both bodybuilding and long distance running…not at the same time. These two physical activities are mutually exclusive! They were both a great way to stay in shape, but I tend to become competitive, not with others, but with myself. As a weightlifter, I would always try to lift more and more, and as a runner, I would always strive to run faster and longer. These healthy activities became obsessions. I would start spending too much time at the gym, or I would do crazy stuff like try to lose an extra five pounds just to be lighter and run faster (back at a time in my life when I didn't have five pounds to lose). It's hard to get into a competitive mindset while walking, especially when you're waving to the neighbors and stopping to pet friendly cats. Walking is something I can do for the long haul without putting extra pressure on myself to perform, and it should be simple to maintain my target weight once I've lost the excess pounds. I'll simply be able to keep walking as I'm doing now, only I'll be able to eat more to maintain an equilibrium.
- Walking makes me feel connected. For me, there's something about getting outside and putting my feet on the ground that makes me feel more connected with the world around me. There are other walkers and runners that say hello, and there are the neighborhood cats that greet me and let me pet them. Lately I've felt more open to new experiences. There's more to this change than just taking a daily stroll, but walking is certainly a factor.
Whatever you do, whether it's walking, running, rowing, or riding a bike, I hope that you can find an exercise that fulfills you and becomes more than just exercise.