I started a new thing on Ash Wednesday of 2021. I was inspired by a friend who was doing #75Hard, a challenge that involves two 45-minute workouts per day, which blew my mind. For several years I have been faithfully going to the gym 3-4 times a week, doing some down-and-dirty workouts that rock my world, but on my days off, I was really off.
Around that time I started wearing an Apple Watch and I was seeing my friend’s #75Hard workouts buzz in on my wrist 2x a day, and I felt like I needed to up my game. As a Lenten commitment on Ash Wednesday, I decided I would get at least 30 minutes of exercise logged on my Apple Watch everyday, even on my days off from the gym. The most common way I exercise on my days off is to walk outside. I had no idea at the time what a blessing this new habit would be to my life.
I have continued the habit ever since Ash Wednesday, and it has become a pillar in my routine.
Of course, I started this in the throes of our Ohio winter, which is not my favorite thing. I had to get all bundled up and I could barely talk on my phone (I often use my walks to catch up on messages) on some days because it was so cold that my mouth would not move fast enough to speak properly, I am not even kidding. My mouth was frozen! Surprisingly, I started enjoying these wintry walks and it felt so good to be outside, breathing fresh air, during a season I was mainly indoors.
There have been so many unexpected benefits of closing the exercise ring on my Apple Watch everyday...
My resting heart rate went down, which means my heart was functioning more efficiently. That alone can add quality years to a life.
My gym workouts got easier. I had more stamina and felt more conditioned.
Studies have shown that walking boosts immune function, energy and mood, all of which I experienced.
I have had some breakthrough thoughts and ideas on these walks. Many people report having their best ideas while on a walk.
I have even heard that your arms swinging back and forth, while you use your left foot, then right foot, then left foot, then right foot is very stimulating to the brain. Maybe that is why people have their best ideas on a walk?
I have appreciated the physical expression of one of my favorite things to say about life and success: “Take your next right step.” It feels good to literally take the next right step everyday.
My walks have also been a meaningful and undistracted time for prayer; a chance to connect with God without all the normal distractions.
Walking is the most basic thing in the world. Most people learn it after a year of life and do it everyday for the rest of their life. It is easy to take it for granted and forget what a gift it is to stand up and walk.
Get out there, my friend, and put one foot in front of the other....left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. Bring your shoes. Move your body. Breathe fresh air. Think good thoughts. Condition your heart. Extend your life span. Boost your mood. Pray. This could be the start of a new chapter. You’ve got this.