Anyone who knows me knows that I run for no one. Unless I’m running late and my train is about to leave the platform, you will almost always find me maxing out at about 4 miles per hour. Some may dismiss this as laziness, but there’s a method to my madness.
I take my inspiration from my elders. My grandmother was born in Calpe, Spain, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in her hometown. There’s so much to be said for the Mediterranean lifestyle and health, but one of the most important qualities I’ve witnessed is staying active regardless of age. I spent one summer walking every morning with a 78-year-old woman named Pacita who would follow her walks with a dip in the sea, every day of the year. She had the “use it or lose it” mentality, and she definitely used it. I felt slightly self-conscious in the beginning, powerwalking with the sweat suit crowd while my peers ran by, but those feelings quickly vanished. My former pattern of being sedentary, aside from an hour workout once or twice a week, evolved into a more active lifestyle that I’ve been able to maintain for years. The best workout is one that’s sustainable. I will consider myself lucky if I am still as active as Pacita 50 years from now.
If you’re someone who needs statistics to be convinced, walking at 4 mph for one hour burns 270 calories. Walking for two hours burns close to 600 calories, which is comparable to an intense workout class. If you suffer from public workout anxiety like me, this is a completely sustainable way to stay active while simultaneously balancing your mind, practicing good posture and exploring a new neighborhood.
For all of you runners out there, I do admire you and I will see you at the finish line. I may be late and I may have stopped at a café or three, but I will get there eventually.