I didn’t know it at the time, but when I chose power walking as a way to turn my softening middle-aged body into — well, something I could be more proud of — there was to be an unexpected side effect.
Due to a recurring injury, I’d stopped running several years earlier, and did not replace it with any substantial exercise regime. And I paid for it. So, I decided give power walking a go. My goals were to become fitter and lighter; to combat the stress that comes with certain life choices (like raising three children whilst working full-time, and building a dream home that overstretches you financially), and to maybe even run again.
Conquering the morning
I’m not innately a morning person, but I have always owned dogs, and dogs are morning people, so I use their enthusiasm to fuel my own desire to get each day off to a good start. I discovered that I enjoyed exercising in the fresh, cool air of the morning, taking in the wake-up calls from the extensive bird population as I paced through my leafy suburb.
My dogs are great exercise companions. First and foremost, they are quiet. When I walk with my children, there is no chance of hearing any wildlife over their own incessant banter. Dogs don’t talk. They leave you alone with your thoughts, and I quickly found myself thinking deeply on my morning walks about how much I was (or more correctly, wasn’t) enjoying life, and I began to tease out what was really important to me.
Within a few weeks, I experienced an unexpected side effect: whilst the intention was to change my body composition, I ended up changing my career.
Now this story isn’t about me. Or my dogs Gisella and Newton (but aren’t they cute?). It’s about taking time to do something positive for yourself, and how good begets good, or even great. For me, deciding to take control of my health and fitness caused me to set other personal goals, helped me focus on the important stuff (like family), and ultimately led to a change in career direction.
So, in a nutshell, after days and weeks of walking, and thinking, and planning, and weighing up, and playing devil’s advocate, I decided (and hoped and prayed) that leaving employed work and becoming my own boss would be a step in the right direction (pun absolutely intended). A month later, I quit my job and embarked on my entrepreneur’s journey.
Because I have been an accomplished Executive Assistant with a penchant for committee support, I established My Secret EA to provide dedicated and targeted secretarial support to raise the effectiveness of committee performance.
That was one year ago, almost to the day. I’m pleased to say that I am still power walking, and I am indeed fitter, lighter, less stressed, and happier in my new career. I’m still not a runner, nor a morning person, but I have my trusty dogs and the beautiful Queensland climate to help put me in a good place every morning.
Anne’s power walking tips
Just as an epilogue, I thought I would share with you the keys to my power walking success, in case you think it might help you as it has helped me.
- Get good gear. Fortunately, walking is not an expensive exercise. A pair of good quality straight-last running shoes, comfortable and good looking active wear, and a hat is all that you need. Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunnies.
- Set a preliminary goal. Set just one goal, and you will find yourself setting and achieving new goals regularly. My initial goal was just to start exercising again, lose a few kilos and get the blood circulating. Soon, I was setting distance goals (5km) and then pace goals (to walk each km in under 10 mins). I use the phone app Map My Fitness to map my route and tell me how fast I walk each km. I have a step tracker to tell me how many steps I’ve taken towards my 12,000 step daily goal.
- Music. Great tunes and lyrics can be awesome motivators. Once I found a track that matched my power walking pace perfectly, I searched for other tracks with the same beats per minute (bpm). I compiled a Spotify playlist, and plugged myself in every morning. Not only did the songs keep me beholden to my desired pace, they kept my spirits up: I only choose songs that lift my mood; nothing depressing! Within a few months, I had to create a new playlist, because I was getting fitter, faster, and outpacing my original set of beats.
If you’re interested, you are welcome follow my Spotify playlists, to see if they help get you motivated. Language warning for some tracks 😉