What I Learned (or Relearned) at Rancho La Puerta – Part 2
“Weight loss is 80% diet”
“Cake is not a Tuesday food”
“You’ll feel better when it’s over”
“Walking is FREE exercise!”
No where is the last mantra more true than at RLP. For an entire week, I didn’t ride in a car and only saw a random delivery truck here and there. My car was a world away and I used my two legs to get wherever I needed to go.
As a kid, I walked to get around. In my teens, I started walking for exercise; it was easy and peaceful. And when I decided to break up with my high school boyfriend, I walked to the post office to mail the letter (yes, in those days, we wrote actual letters – I sound old). And now, when I go back home to Rochester to visit my sister, we walk and walk and walk. And talk.
There is something magical about walking. Strolling the paths at RLP, I noticed the smell of the rosemary, the color of the flowers, and the birds. Walking makes me feel calm, alive, and connected to nature. When a new client comes to me and is sedentary, I have them start out with 3-4 days of walking. Just walk.
Rancho La Puerta estimates that visitors walk 5 miles per day, just getting to and from your room to the dining hall to classes back to the dining hall, etc. This is in ADDITION to the hikes which average around 4 miles. On an typical day at home, I probably walk 1-2 miles (not including any workouts) and I’d say I’m pretty active.
However, our society isn’t so active. When I see people fighting for a close parking spot, driving their kids to the bus stop, or standing still on moving walkways (it isn’t a ride!), the movie WALL-E comes to mind. What starts off as a cute animation, turns into a commentary on where humans are headed. In the movie, humans of the future ride around on little scooters and have become so lazy that they can’t even walk because their skeletons can’t support them. Not such a stretch. But our lack of activity isn’t all laziness. While RLP was setup for walking, most of our communities aren’t. Not all streets have sidewalks, which is incomprehensible to me. All major roads in the suburbs should have sidewalks (yes, Ashburn Road I’m talking to you). Additionally, everything is spread out, forcing us to drive. The blessed few can walk to work, but most of us have to spend hours in the car getting to and from our jobs. Then, once we’re there, we sit and sit and sit. Humans are built to move, not sit. Study after study is showing how sitting is killing us.
The ranch was setup for walking. Everything we needed was right there — food, gym, laundry. No need to drive anywhere. Unlike my typical morning at home where I drive Ruby to school, drive to Starbucks, drive to the library, drive to see clients. While I’d love to walk to all those places, it logistically isn’t feasible. My home is relatively walkable (Starbucks & schools a few blocks away, lots of sidewalks), but the limiting factor in my life is time. At the ranch, I had the luxury of time, but at home, I live at a pace that generally requires getting to and from places quickly.
When I got back from the ranch, I promised myself that I’d walk more in my daily activities. Not just walking for exercise, but choosing to walk when driving would be easier and quicker. Thankfully the weather has warmed up, which helps, but walking isn’t winning as often as I would like. Even last week, without thinking I almost drove from Harris Teeter to Walgreens — 100 yards! I habitually went to get in the car and then thought, “what the hell am I doing” and got out and walked. I felt good about that aha moment, but it was a wakeup call for me — 1) that I’m prone to laziness just as much as the next guy and 2) that my RLP learnings can fade quickly from memory if I don’t capture them and commit to keeping them front of mind. Maybe it is just heightening my awareness and walking whenever I can; not feeling like it is another duty and thing on my to do list. So on Friday, when I needed to run across the street to grab lunch, driving wasn’t an option. I just walked.
Here are a few ways you can add more movement & walking into your day:
- Park farther away from your destination
- Don’t drive between stores in the same shopping center
- When it rains, walk around the mall
- Plan in extra time to walk instead of driving, especially on weekends when you have more time
- Wear a pedometer – studies have shown they increase activity by at least 25% and decrease BMI and blood pressure. Be sure to set a step goal — 10K steps is a good start.
- Take the stairs, always
- Stand up whenever you take calls at work
- Twice a day, take a walk break at work — lap the building, take stair, whatever gets you moving and not sitting
How do you add movement to your day?
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