Walk this way

This past June, I hurt my lower back. It was a bizarre injury. I did not experience much pain yet I lost partial leg function through my quadricep. It was unstable, weak, and unresponsive. My VMO was shut off due to nerve issues.

My lovely lower back

After this happened, I retired from Weightlifting and began to walk, bike and run (my leg strength returned after about two months).

I’ve been injured many times before, but this was the first time I’ve felt vulnerable and frightened. It allowed me to learn many things about myself, and life.

After I hurt myself I began to walk a lot. A whole lot. Everywhere I could. I needed exercise, and quite frankly, I didn’t know what else to do.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Walking isn’t that much slower (in NYC at least). Sometimes I walk to therapy. It’s about six miles and takes me just under two hours. Sure, I can walk to the train and cut that time in half, but in my case, I would be at home browsing the internet waiting for time to pass. If you have the extra time, use it. Get out of the office, house, whatever, and extend your commute.
  2. Walking is healthy. Walking is low impact and allows you to exercise without much soreness or discomfort. You burn roughly 80-100 calories a mile. If you aim to walk 4–5 miles a day, you’re burning an additional 2400–3000 calories extra a week respectively. After I started walking, I started to lose weight. When my girlfriend was in college, her only form of exercise was walking. She ate a balanced diet, walked everywhere, and stayed lean.
  3. Walking is an awesome tool for bonding. Take your significant other, a friend, your dog, your cat, your parents, it doesn’t matter, and go for a walk. Talk to them. Learn more about them. Use the time you’re walking to slow down from the craziness of this world and appreciate the time you get to spend with each other.
  4. Walking presents me with an opportunity to think. I can reflect on my day, my business, my emotions, ideas, etc. It allows me to clear my mind and calm down. More importantly, It allows me to be unplugged from social media. I’ve had this love hate relationship with social media the last few years. I’ve attempted to remove myself, but alas, here I am. When I walk, I cannot be on my computer, or my phone. There’s a sense of freedom not staring at a screen for at least a few hours during the day.

You don’t need to walk six miles a day to benefit from walking. I encourage you to find ways in your day to get your feet moving, even if you start with a mile. Watches or phones that count steps are a neat way to stay motivated (I’m a geek for data tracking). Garmin and Strava both have challenges you can join with strangers who log similar amounts of steps per week.

Next time you book a dinner in the city, give yourself extra time and walk there. We’re entering the best and most beautiful season, so if there’s anytime to start, it’s now.

Enjoy the time outside. Breathe in the crisp air (as much as NYC can offer). People watch. Pretend you’re on a quest. Whatever motivates you, it’s all good. Just move.