Worried About Coronavirus? Take a Walk.
I’ll never forget that moment when my wife, Ava, returned to the waiting room where I’d been sitting and told me, “The radiologist said I need a biopsy.” She had discovered the lump a few days earlier.
It would be a week before she could get the biopsy and another week before she got the results. Those were days of uncertainty as my mind bounced wildly between best and worst case scenarios.
So…I took a lot of walks.
We are in the midst of a global pandemic. Anxiety is high and maybe your mind is bouncing between best and worst case scenarios. If that’s how you’re feeling, do what I did.
A WALK WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER
Whenever I worried about Ava just the simple act of moving made me feel better. The longer I walked the better I felt. And, it’s not just me. There’s actually science behind this.
A recent study wanted to determine if there was a direct connection between exercise and mood. They discovered there was. In fact, the research discovered that people who exchange an hour of sitting for an hour of walking had a 26% decrease in odds for becoming depressed.
My walking became a daily firewall between feeling anxious and feeling calm. It worked then and it still works today as I’m dealing with the uncertainty of what this pandemic means moving forward.
A WALK WILL HELP YOU THINK BETTER
Those walks also helped me plan for different possibilities depending on the biopsy results. Worry is useless, but thinking about different contingency plans was helpful. If the biopsy was negative, that was easy. But, if it was positive, then what?
Some people think better in the shower. Some think better sitting in a cozy spot with a cup of coffee. I think better when I’m walking. Again, there’s research indicating it’s not just me. All those possible scenarios and conversations came together as I walked to help me plan for what the future may look like.
This pandemic is going to impact each of us. Have you thought through what life might be like in a few weeks or even a few months? Going for a walk may help you gain some clarity.
But, walking isn’t just for planning. A good walk can also help change your attitude. I’ve learned the power of walking, praying, and thinking about all the things I am grateful for. Those walks are real attitude changers which was something I needed then and still need today.
A WALK IS GOOD EXERCISE
As we practice social distancing some of the normal ways we exercise may change. The gym suddenly feels a little more dangerous.
If you take a brisk 30 minute walk every day you’re meeting the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for physical activity. And, the possible long term heath benefits are pretty sweet. The CDC says 150-300 minutes every week of moderate exercise can lower your chance of heart related disease, getting certain cancers, and helps with weight management.
Walking has been my primary form of exercise for the past seven years. Recently I had a physical for life insurance and, looking at my results, the rep said, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”
A pandemic doesn’t mean we need to put our exercise on hold as we wait for things to calm down. Walking is effective, it’s flexible, it’s sustainable, and it’s fun. You might even discover how much you enjoy walking and want to keep going even after the headlines don’t feel as scary.
Ava’s biopsy was positive. Ironically, her doctor called while we were on a walk together. She put him on speaker and I heard the news we both expected. She asked a few questions and then hung up. We walked a little further then turned around and went home. We had a plan in place and it was time to take action.
Ava had several more biopsies to make certain it hadn’t spread. They were negative. Surgery was followed by radiation. I’m happy to report that was 18 months ago and Ava is doing great.
Walking isn’t just a great way to feel and think better during a crisis, it can be a long-term game-changer. If you’ve been searching for a fun and sustainable fitness activity, you should give walking a try. I recommend you start with The 30 Day Fitness Challenge.
The 30 Day Fitness Challenge will guide you through setting the perfect Fitbit goal for you. Perfect means, not too big to fail, but not too small to be meaningless. The perfect Fitbit goal is one that pushes you a couple of days a week.
The 30 Day Fitness Challenge also includes a contract you can make with yourself. That might sound cheesy, but it’s often the fitness promises we make with ourselves that we don’t keep. The contract may help change that for you.
We often make fitness about reaching one big goal way in the future. That can be discouraging. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge makes every day you reach your Fitbit goal a WIN! There’s a Win Tracker included to celebrate your daily victories and chart your progress.
Check out more on Dave Paul’s Blog!