Despite having been on this journey for three and a half years, my body is still surprising me.

At this moment, my surprises are my physical changes, specifically from exercise. A few months ago, I started wearing an old FitBit, just so I’d have a more accurate way to count steps than using my phone. Since that time, I’ve gradually increased my step goals from around 500 a day to 4,000 – and I’m meeting those goals. At the end of each week, I listen to my body; sometimes I increase that goal, and sometimes I stay put until I’m more consistent.

I wish I’d thought of that!

I’ve been paying attention and listening to my body all along, but physical activity and exercise is a different kind of listening. I often check myself, because I worry that I’m being too easy on myself — but my instincts say that this is the right way. I remember putting 4,000 steps on one day early in the process and my knees hurt badly the next day. Now, 4,000 steps is a pleasant challenge; not entirely easy, but not simple, either. Considering that not so long ago, I struggled to walk even around my own home without the use of a cane, this is fantastic!

My muscles are getting stronger. Walking helps more than just my knees and my legs; it’s helping my balance, my endurance, even my breathing. Getting out and about throughout the day also has helped my mental attitude, getting away from whatever I’m working on at the moment, often taking my dog along. There are just no negatives right now, although I’ll admit that on our recent rainy days, I have tended to get my steps in inside a store or community center. Sometimes that’s not the best thing for my budget. 😉

Simply put, I feel stronger, overall, since I started walking. It’s also another freeing move for me. I can’t tell you how many places I’ve wanted to go that I’ve reconsidered because of mobility issues; while I’m not going to go walk a marathon any time soon, I certainly don’t have the concerns about getting around that I used to.

My goal is to reach 10,000 steps a day. I don’t know when I’ll reach that point, but there’s not a rush; I’ll get there and I know it’ll happen.

Many programs recommend 10,000 steps a day for losing weight. I’m going to make this clear right now — that’s not why I’m doing it. Sure, my end goal is to lose weight, but that’s just part of the overall picture; the ultimate goal is to be healthy, and cardiovascular and muscular health are huge parts of that. Being mobile, having the ability to do all the things I want to do, and knowing my health is improving — that’s what I’m after.

It’s also a relief. When I walked for exercise years ago, I had time/distance targets and I always walked to music. That’s not a bad thing to do, but I always felt compelled to do it, rather than wanting to just get out and enjoy myself as I walked. Now I walk without distractions, and I take in everything around me, whether it’s on a park trail or in my neighborhood. I think about how my body feels, and it feels good to do these things, rather than a chore.

This is a long-term change that can only benefit me as I continue to lose weight and work toward the eventual likelihood of knee replacement surgery; the stronger my legs are, the easier my recovery will be. And afterward? I just might work up to walking a lot farther than I ever have.

I tried incorporating walking into my schedule last year, and it just didn’t click for me; now it has, and I’m very glad.

So, if you don’t mind, it’s time I got off here and got some steps in.


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