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Walking: worth the time and effort

By Randy Garrison

About three months ago I decided I needed to lose some more weight. I have been challenged by my doctor to lose 25 pounds because I want to stop taking some blood pressure and diabetic medications. 

At that time I weighed about 218 pounds. I had lost about 10 pounds by cutting back on some types of foods, counting calories and giving up sweet tea and other items – but I had seemed to hit a bump and was not losing any more.

 So, I decided I would start walking. I figured, ‘Why start small? I will just go for broke,’ and I started with four miles a day. 

Now some of you might remember, it takes four trips around the football field track for a mile, so 16 times will add up to four miles. 

This might seem like a boring way to walk, but I have my praise music on, and I have a goal to reach, so I just get started. 

I have lowered my time from 17 minutes per mile down to slightly more than 15 minutes per mile. 

Lynn would join me sometimes, and she would finish about two miles and then get her chair out of the back of the truck and read while I finished walking. 

I was doing most of my walking in the evenings after I left the office, alternating between the track at J.P. Cain Stadium and the new track at the Hartselle High School. On the weekends, I would go earlier, just to have more time for other things.

Walking between 6-7 p.m. worked out well until the days started getting shorter – and for some reason, as summer was ending and school started back, more evening meetings and after-work events seemed to be popping up.

I did not want to lose my momentum, and I found I actually looked forward to my walks each day. After the first two miles and my legs stopped hurting, I really felt like I could go on for many more miles – but time would run out and other things would need my attention.

Not wanting to give up my new workout, I decided I would walk in the mornings before work. Since it is still dark at 5:30 a.m., I decided not to go to the tracks. Instead, I worked out a trek that would total 3.5 miles, in a loop starting and ending at my house.

I leave my house and walk all the way through downtown, Railroad Street south on Barkley Street, then north on High Street and take Pearl to Sparkman Street. To finish the distance, I travel south on Sparkman to Karl Prince Drive and back to my house, with one extra trip around Day and Comer to make the distance. 

I have enjoyed walking in the morning; however, I might have to switch to inside walking somewhere, as the rain increases along with cold temperatures. I am not giving up yet, though; it truly makes your day better when you have a good workout early in the morning. 

You feel better and have more energy for the entire day, and I feel more alert during the day as well. 

While it is not easy to get started, I have found I miss the days when something comes up and I can’t walk. It is well worth the time and effort to get started. It’s also a blessing to better enjoy the beginning of a new day and God’s creation as the sun comes up. 

I have also lost 10 more pounds.

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