I am a walker — to a degree I've been told is "annoying."
Whether I'm trekking through three neighborhoods to get to Trader Joe's, or convincing the girls that our pregame spot isn't that far from the bar, if it's an under an hour walk — I'm game.
I never gave much thought (or credit) to this habit until a consultation with my acupuncturist confirmed I might be on to something.
During my pre-cupping session, the specialist was reviewing my health history when she inquired about my fitness program. With my tail between my legs, I shamefully confessed to falling off the gym bandwagon — a busy schedule being my excuse.
She responded, "Well, do you walk when you can?"
Surprised, I shared my routine of exiting the subway 2/3rds of the way home just to walk the rest, and how my boyfriend always rolls his eyes when I say, "I don't care if it's cold — let's skip the cab."
Her reply prompted an epiphany moment: "Don't discredit this as exercise. Walking can be very meditative, too."
For me, walking isn't only a means of getting from point A to point B; it feels good and that means a lot more than I realized.
Fresh air (even NYC-grade oxygen) mixed with syncing my steps to the beat of my favorite songs, or getting lost in a podcast, helps me ease feelings of anxiety — a special shoutout to the mood-elevating endorphins that contribute to clearing my overactive mind, too.
Manhattan and I are now on a deeply personal level beyond GoogleMaps.
Mentally fulfilled, my therapeutic strolls might just be advancing my physical well-being, too.
Harvard Health Publishing went as far as to say walking could be "your best health insurance." Their reasons: the activity promotes a strong immune system and joints, reduces cravings, and fights the effects of weight-promoting genes, as well as improves memory and cardiovascular health.
Above all, walking everywhere taught me the importance of listening to my body.
Now, instead of beating myself up when my gym dedication wavers, I celebrate the less obvious self-care acts.
I've learned that doing what feels right could benefit my all-around health more than I ever knew.