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  • Writer's pictureMarc Lalonde

Walk your way to good health

I walk her every night and it's good for both of us

The 10,000-step threshold is very real.

It’s been said by others smarter than I that walking 10,000 steps a day is a barometer for good health, solid weight management and overall good feelings.

I started joining this club regularly in 2010, when I was managing four community weeklies in two languages with one unilingual reporter between them and I was scrounging for content.

Every night, I began walking my dog after my kids were in bed and I discovered it allowed me to run all my issues through my head and mull them over while moving my body and getting out my nervous energy. The results were lowered stress levels and a substantial weight loss – both of which proved beneficial to me as I was raising very young children.

I started walking the dogs for two-plus hours every night, frequently amassing eight to 10-kilometre walks and I loved it. A few years later, I rediscovered my love of weight training, but the walking is where I managed to dig myself out of an early grave. At nearly 400 pounds, I was not going to live long enough to see my kids get married, so I started to do something about it.

Fast-forward 14 years later. My weight is under control, my activity level is very high, I will most certainly be a factor in my kids’ lives for a long, long time and I really have walking to thank for it.

I still walk my dog every night for an hour to an hour and a half, and it’s been a habit that has proven fruitful for my sleeping, for my mental health and for my physical health.

Lately, it has proven to be beneficial, as mental health has required more attention, which I will get into down the road.

I don’t love taking daytime walks, or early-morning walks, but that’s me.

This is what works for me, in my life. For you, dear readers, it could be as simple as a 45-minute walk every morning, or a jaunt around town on your lunch hour. Maybe you walk to get your coffee instead of driving, or park in the very furthest spot from the door at the shopping mall.

Whatever you do, make moving your legs your primary concern – and that will bring you to the 10,000-step plateau that many experts agree is where we begin to balance the calories, on average, that we take in.

For a few years there, I enjoyed running until the wear and tear from the pounding on my arthritic knees just became too much to bear, and in another way, it didn’t allow me to think and run my issues around in my head. I would just turn my brain off. Walking allows me to think, and think clearly. Big difference.

Occasionally, I can be roped into a short jog, but at this point, I enjoy walking, so I walk. From a social standpoint, bringing a friend can also make walks more stimulating, as you can catch up, and have a conversation while you’re moving. It’s pretty great – and as I like to remind you consistently, movement is medicine.

As my season of healing continues, I am reminded that doing daily gratitude lists can help us through dark times, and to that end I am reminded that I thankful and grateful for my family, for their love and support and to my extended Lakeshore football family. I am grateful for my friends that I know love me even if I have made them angry. I hope to make amends, brother, because you are important to me. I am grateful to my clients, who are also like family to me, and I am especially grateful for the one greatest angel of my existence, period. You know who you are.

-- The majority of this text was first published in Iori:wase on June 15, 2023.

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