Walking #2: what if I could learn to love to wal... - Active 10

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Walking #2: what if I could learn to love to walk? And Stride!

CBDB profile image

I’ve recently pledged myself to learn to love walking again.

The start of this journey, I’ve written about in a post on the B210 forum, which should have been titled Walking #1: healthunlocked.com/bridgeto...

I wrote it over there because, at present, I’m more of a runner or rower or yogi than a walker. So my journey will be a bit unusual as I know many (but not all) will first walk and then run.

Mind you, I am a super-slow runner; in fact, I crowned myself Queen of Slow, as I didn’t know anyone slower than me.

Most of you walkers on this forum will walk faster than I run!

But I want to add pain-free walking to my toolset for my fitness journey. I also want to rekindle the love for walking I still remember from my younger days, hiking for days through the Spanish orange-orchard-filled, rocky landscape. Or memories from camping and walking through the refreshing, huge forests of Germany, or experiencing the exhilaration of vista-rich hiking in the Scottish highlands! Or just meandering on foot with friends and family on a trip to a National Trust property on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

All this stopped at some point when lower back pain meant I couldn’t walk longer than 15 minutes!

Now my health journey is longer (see my profile). It includes struggling with a thyroid condition that meant my former active self morphed into someone who, for a period of 10 years, was unable to do substantial or longer physical activity.

So here I am, post-menopausal, thyroid challenged, but thanks to our sister-running forums and my now two-year-long practice of running, yoga, and rowing I feel relatively fit.

But walking still gives me a pain in my backside, and I want to change that!

So here I am. A walking newbie. Again.

One who - at the moment – likes running and rowing more than walking. In fact, at present, I wouldn’t say I like walking. Strangely unlike running, it gives me lower back pain. It also feels like it’s such a slow means of moving forward, which is strange as I run almost at the same speed I walk.

But what if I could learn to love to walk just like I learned to love to run?

So on these posts, I want to reflect on moments in my journey, maybe get some insights from other walkers, and hopefully, share some of the delights I have discovered on my own walking journey.

So here is the beginning of that journey, one that, for me (a bit of a tech nerd), quite often starts with apps.

And of course, at the beginning of my journey, there was the Active 10 app.

(Where to get it? nhs.uk/better-health/get-ac... )

It’s great for logging your active walking minutes, and I was able to set my initial target to 10min / day, a target that was easily achieved if I included my C25k runs with its walking intervals.

I have that app now always running and tracking in the background; I check on it at times and glow in the pride of having gotten some more badges. But I wanted a bit more fun interaction.

I had in the past explored the app-based walking fitness-tracker-game: The Walk, developed by the same people who created Zombies, Run. They also developed their own version of Couch-to-5k, a 5k Running-training program I am going through at the moment on my way back up to running (ultra-slowly) 5k. But I’ll post about “The Walk” app at a different time.

But through these searches, I was aware that there were several apps that’d be fun to try out, which would motivate me to do that first, most difficult step any day, that of stepping out of your house!

So on that journey, I discovered the STRIDE app on IOS. (Link to Apple store: apps.apple.com/gb/app/strid... )

Stride calls itself a walking and running game. You conquer hexagons on a map, being able to fight for control of your region of the map by walking through these hexagons more often than your competitors.

I managed to get my hubby (who does walk every day) involved, and now we constantly take each other’s territory from each other as we do our walks!

I’ve not yet convinced him to form an alliance with me, something that would allow us both to be the kings and queens of the town that we live in. We would rule our walking town! 🤣

There is one other walking competitor, who lives and dares to walk with this app in our town, and between the three of us, there is a healthy competition for who owns the most hexagons in the town.

So my review of the STRIDE app in short:

For motivation,

- it gets me out the door

- It is fun, especially when competing with a Neighbor or family member

- It tracks your walks (or runs)

- Basic version is free

Some things I like less:

- It has an annoying first subscription screen in which you have to wait for the close button to appear

- I feel the hexagons are too big; my hubby thinks they are sized right

So for techy walkers, this app is a delight!

For competitive walkers, it's an immense motivation.

But due to its techy nature, it might not be for everyone.

But whatever gets us out the door is great in my book!

So happy walking, everyone!

8 Replies

A excellent detailed post from you CBDB, although I started running just over 4 years ago I have been going long walks as far as I can remember, I also cycle a lot as well.On a Thursday morning I am a member of our local walking group, I meet them at 10.30 then we go a 4K walk around a Scenic Scottish Loch, after the walk we go into the cafe of the leisure centre and have coffee and cake, all very socialable.

CBDB profile image
CBDBAdministrator in reply to AlMorr

That sounds so nice! Both Scottish Loch and having a post-walk cafe! I might just have to go to our nearest Parkrun and Nordic Walk it. The Parkrun is also around a lake with a lake-side Cafe available! Only thing is that it’s 40 min drive away 🙁. One day ….

Thank you!

AlMorr profile image
AlMorr in reply to CBDB

I am always thinking on a Thursday when the walk starts at 10.30 that 47 hours later I will be starting at a parkrun at 9.30am on a Saturday, although I don't go to a parkrun every week unlike the Thursday walk which I very rarely miss.

CBDB profile image
CBDBAdministrator in reply to AlMorr

I do think if you have a walking group, it does give you an increased motivation to get out there.

I think running is a bit different, as there are more possibilities of running at different paces so it has less ability to chat with each other during the route.

Great stuff!

AlMorr profile image
AlMorr in reply to CBDB

There is a lady in my walking group who has ran around 50/10Ks, however, as you say she didn't really like running as she couldn't talk to people while running, unlike walking she can chat as much as she wants to.

Very interesting post.. thank you CBDB. Here are some of my thoughts.

I have always walked the dog every day. When I was working and desk bound it was just 20 minutes in the morning, then around 45 minutes at lunchtime, which I found really helped to keep me awake after lunch, during my menopausal brain fog period!

After I quit work 3 years ago I walked more, with the dog and with friends, but then I read a book called Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande which made me realise how important walking exercise and balance are for good health in old age. Apparently the book is being made into a film at the moment.

Because of my prosthesis and my bunion I have to be very careful to prepare properly. Good supportive shoes are absolutely essential and I’ve spent far too much money on them, but it has been so worth it to keep myself walking. I genuinely wouldn’t be able to walk without significant pain without them. I do have an orthotic insole for my bunion, but can manage without it with the right shoes.

At the moment my OH is ill and my dog on short walks only as she is recovering from an op., but I still plan to walk as much as I can this year. In 2020 I did a walking distance challenge fundraiser for the charity Limbpower. I definitely became much fitter then because of the extra walking, and I would like to get back to that, as my fitness has slipped in the past year thanks to Covid and other issues.

I love techy nerdy stuff and record on Strava as well as my Garmin so I will have a look at the apps mentioned in your post.

Looking forward to following your progress ☺️

CBDB profile image
CBDBAdministrator in reply to PeggySusi

Thank you, for such an insightful reply.

Yes, dogs do keep us walking, don’t they? I don’t have a dog, but was reading the chapter about dogs in Annabel Street’s 52 Ways to Walk.

She does list some facts:

- dog owners walk more (Lassie effect 😁)

- the stronger the bond between dog and human the more they walk

- dog owners need less medical care

- lower risk of death

- dog owners are happier (stroking a dog releases oxytocin, the love hormone)

- better gut and brain health

- dog owners tend to have higher self-esteem

All sounding great !

Still Gawande is a great pointer. I’ve put it in my reading list. I think books like these are really important for our society at the moment.

And don’t we all love a good challenge or goal.

And it sounds like you are smashing yours! Awesome!

PeggySusi profile image
PeggySusi in reply to CBDB

Yes, dogs can be life enhancing in so many ways..

The Atul Gawande book really made me stop and think.. and at first made me very depressed. I’ve gone through life pretending my amputation didn’t make any difference, but the book brought into focus the importance of what I lost when I was ten.

I wish I had read it earlier in my life, but I’ve been lucky to be able to be relatively active anyway. The book was a genuine turning point in that it made me determined, like you, to try to preserve and even improve on what I can do.

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