What Exercise Does To Me

I found this from a journal I used to keep before I started the blog.  It makes me want to go for a walk this second…
“Today I see that my shoes – my cute flats with a wedge heel,
are getting all shredded up from the cobble stones of Central Park. As sad as I
am to see these darlings deteriorate, I am SO, SO happy to know that it is
because I have been walking in the park. Yes, walking!  In Central Park!
With the blossoms and the lake and ducks and lovers walking hand and hand and
children playing in the sun….all when I should be a crazy work-a-holic sitting
at my desk like everybody else.   But I have made sure these days to jail
break outta there once or twice a day and walk my legs ’til I can feel
those muscles burn!  It has been exhilarating!!! I can’t even tell you the
high that I feel. I have such a belief in exercise.  It can do the mind
and heart wonders in just 2 days!  I just need to break the tiniest sweat
and take off that winter jacket.  MK: Don’t ever forget this!!!!  I’m
glad to be reminded of this cause it has just been one long dreary winter and
I’ve been glued to that desk and frankly, not feeling so fun or lively or
creative these days. But now, I sneak out every chance I get.  Somehow
all that sunshine and air is making me feel sexy, happy, alive, healthy,
creative, funny, confident, desirable, cute & feminine!!! Yes, it’s true!   Overall, very best thing for lovers πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚  And—hugest bonus…. It helps me to feel aligned with God.  Amazing how
this works.  
Luckily I’m ok replacing my walking flats very often!!!!

My life is so good!  And spring in New York is glorious!!!”

Um, anybody want to go walking?  πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Exercise is seriously like magic.  It’s SO, SO good for the soul and the heart.  It just seems to boost creativity and vitality to the max.

I’ll never, ever forget the miles that my dear friend and I walked and walked after her baby died and my husband left all within the same month.  I think it saved us that summer.

A few of my walking tips:

1.  Get a walking partner if you can.  It’s AWESOME.  There is something about conversing while exercising. It feels cleansing or something.  It’s like you can chat about life and goals and hash things out together.  I love it.  Of course it can also be powerful to be alone with your mind and thoughts from time to time.  And, of course, your play lists or pod casts.  πŸ™‚

2.  Walk FAST!!!  Work up a sweat!  OK, I’ll just say it…I am a fast, fast walker.  My friends who go walking with me always mention it and love it as it keeps them going.  And I do kinda pass up just about every walker in front of me…except that one bionic guy at Prospect Park.  πŸ™‚  He could school me any day.  But really-if you’re not walking fast enough to work a sweat, I don’t think you’ll get the maximum benefit.  MAKE IT WORTH IT.  Also, find a walking partner who has a good pace, as well. πŸ™‚  You might actually have to ditch a few.  eeks.  But that’s ok as that hour is all about your health.

3.  Change up your routine.  It’s great to have a change of scenery from time to time.  The visual journey is also what enlivens your spirit.

4.  Walk in the opposite direction sometimes.  This is another way to change up the scene.  And if you’re on a park loop or something, you can’t imagine how fun it is to see the faces of the oncoming walkers and runners.  πŸ™‚  I LOVE IT.  It’s so inspiring to see so many out exercising.

5.  Walk through a meadow.  We have a paved park loop at Prospect Park, but there is something nice about cutting through the meadow and walking on the grass.  It also allows you to be in full sun for a bit.

6.  Put lotion or salve on your feet before putting on your socks/shoes.  It’s a little routine I love to do as it makes my feet soooo much softer and nicer looking.  I’m LOVING this salve one of our readers gave me (her mom owns the company)…it’s called Mom’s Stuff and it’s completely natural and really, really, really moisturizes your skin.  I highly recommend it!!

7.  If you have a full-time job, get out to walk at least once a day.  In my offices in New York, it was so frowned upon to leave, so I started going “to the pharmacy” or the “post office” and then I’d walk around the block a few extra times.  Every work errand was done on foot when at all possible.  I started avoiding cabs as much as I could so I could walk.

8.  If you commute by trainwalk up and down the platform while waiting.  (Can you tell I don’t care what people think?  haha.)

9.  SMILE and take note of your POSTURE while walking.  Yep.  Both will do you good.

10.  ANY amount of walking counts.  My power walks are 3.3 miles.  But if you start out only doing 1/2 a mile or just one walk around the block, then just do that.  Do whatever you can and do it consistently. That’s the key.  πŸ™‚

Okay, GET WALKING my friends!!!!  Start it now!!!!

And do you have ANY tips to share??  Favorite shoes?  Favorite walking paths in your area?  Favorite play lists or meditations or pod casts?  I love that these posts follow with the most amazing tips and advice from you all.  Thank you for that…   

(photos are from my walks in Prospect Park.)

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  1. Lisette August 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Walking with good friends definitely saved me after we lost our baby. There is nothing more powerful than women supporting and uplifting other women.

    • mara August 8, 2013 at 4:14 am - Reply

      Oh, Lisette. xoxo thank you.

  2. Alysa Stewart August 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    Ok… I think I am going to walk down my street tomorrow! Thanks for this post, Mara! It's kinda tough to get out because there aren't sidewalks in our neighborhood, but it is a nice place to be and I need to explore more since I'm new here. Thanks for the motivation!

    • Alysa Stewart August 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      did it! my five-year-o;d son and i ended up walking about 2.5 miles! we had a great time. thsnks, mara!

  3. Liv August 8, 2013 at 12:51 am - Reply

    I have always been a walker. In college I used to walk around the dorm complex with a friend and just talk talk talk. After my daughter was born and I got really depressed, I walked around the parkway in my city even if the other moms didn't show up. It was some of the best therapy for me at that time (and it didn't hurt that it helped me get back in shape that much faster πŸ˜‰ ).

    Thanks for the encouragement to keep moving!

  4. Katie Fisher August 8, 2013 at 1:42 am - Reply

    Walking really is soul food. I enjoy loading my boys into the double stroller and my baby into her carrier, then walking in the bright morning sun. We walk and talk about the day ahead, and I find that the days I make this morning ritual happen we all have a great kick. I definitely take note of the lacking on the days where we miss our walk.
    I so want to strap on my shoes and walk right now after reading this. But seeing as my boys are tucked into bed Andy baby is sleeping in my arms, and my husband is out, it looks like my waking will have to wait.

    • Katie Fisher August 8, 2013 at 4:03 am - Reply

      Because of you I got in a solid 5 mile run on the treadmill tonight when I really hadn't wanted to. Readin your post picked me up – thank you! It was exactly what I needed to hear. You really are inspired Mara, and I value you and the time you put forth to uplift and inspire your readers. As one of those readers, I feel honoured to be a part of our audience πŸ™‚

    • mara August 8, 2013 at 4:13 am - Reply

      Katie, you're a dear. It's an honor to have you here. Thank you so much. And SO glad you got in a run. yay!!!!

  5. Sonel August 8, 2013 at 1:57 am - Reply

    After my son was born I got postpartum anxiety. I would go out everyday and walk fast for hours. It was exactly what my hormones needed to help them to calm down. I loved the bonding time my son and I got as well. Whether he was in his stroller facing me or in his wrap, we were close and enjoying the sun and fresh air together. To this day walks are his absolute favorite thing to do!

  6. Angie August 8, 2013 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Have you tried MBT shoes? Sometimes I walk in my MBTs and sometimes I walk in my "barefoot" shoes (Brooks brand) and sometimes I walk in trail running shoes – they all give a different workout! The MBTs are NOT cute, but you will feel different muscles working and it's so worth it!

    • mara August 8, 2013 at 4:14 am - Reply

      I haven't tried them but will check them out. Thanks for the suggestion. Love the idea of switching up the shoes to work different muscles.

  7. Michelle Bunt August 8, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

    I love this post! I've just recently had my car break down and can't afford to get it repaired, which sadly means I have to quit my job which involved using my car to transport a disabled client around. However I realised I could either be miserable about this and focus on the loss of income and the loss of my car or I could be grateful. So I'm choosing to be grateful for the blessing my car was to me in the time that I had it, I'm choosing to be grateful that I got to be a part of my client's life for a while, and looking ahead I'm grateful for the opportunity to get more exercise by walking more (having a car can make me lazy), and enjoy the health benefits that come with it. I'm realising that nothing lasts forever and the key is to surrender my need for a particular outcome. This post just helped remind me of the joys of walking and all the things I will get to experience more of in the coming months, so thanks.

  8. City Chick August 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Walking is pretty much one if my favorite things ever. My husband and I have gotten into the routine of getting up early (like before 6am) and we walk our dog, Bart, to the lake and back. About a 2.5 mile loop. At first we were tired and quiet when we walked, but now we are so awake and chatty and look forward to it everyday. There is something really special about walking when it is kind of not quite light outside yet and quiet. I think sometimes we feel like the whole world just belongs to us.

    Just yesterday we broke the routine and did not walk in the morning. Then, about midday when we were talking we both admitted how crummy we felt after just not walking! It's amazing. It's such a simple thing, but seriously is so so important to how we feel everyday.

    Thanks for sharing all your beautiful pictures. I should start snapping more on our walks.

    Mara, what sort of jacket/tops do you wear walking? I always struggle to find the right thing to wear that can house my keys and phone if I am walking alone. Any suggestions?

    Katie K

    • City Chick August 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      P.S. Following your lead, Mara, I did 1 minute of jumping jacks following my morning walk today. What a blood pumper! It really woke me up. I think that will have to become part of my routine. Thanks for the inspiration!


  9. leigh ann August 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    I really love this post! We moved to upstate NY from the south in 2010 and I had a rough period of adjustment because of the winter weather! Now my husband and I walk in all kinds of weather and I love it! Our dates usually always consist of some sort of physical exercise…I love to compete with him and it's a great way to bond. There's something fun about walking fast and talking about heavy stuff but keeping your eyes ahead so you don't trip!

  10. Camille August 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    I love walks! The hard part is keeping it up when it's winter time πŸ™‚ My coworker thinks I'm crazy because I always choose to walk to the Post Office (3 blocks away) or the bank (5 blocks). I love getting to listen to my podcasts as I walk (or the new Civil Wars album!!!). Fave podcasts include: This American Life, Spilled Milk, Poetry Off The Shelf, 99% Invisible (just discovered it!), The Truth, and various ones from Cambridge/Oxford.

  11. Malissa B. Moench August 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Working on this. I think your tip about walking up and down the train platform is great! I will start doing that. Also, it's the best when your walking partner is your hubby! πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for all you do!

  12. ThΓ©a August 8, 2013 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    I love walking. I have joined gyms and always stop going shortly after because it was to much work getting to the gym. I love walking because it just takes walking out the door. I usually wear workout gear to walk, but there are plenty of times I don't even take the time to change (it gets in the way of starting). As you know, my sister and I began texting each other everyday with a picture from our walks. We started this last summer and continued all year. It has been a great motivator to get out each day. When out of town, it provides the best opportunity to explore the area and take great pictures. And my most favorite walking partner is my husband. It gives a time for just the two of us. I look forward to each morning having my private/individual time with my love with no interruptions from the children.

  13. Brittany Moore August 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    This was a perfect post and perfectly timed! I was reminded of how much I love to walk and explore my area and feel inspired to start doing it again. Thank you!

  14. Kristin August 9, 2013 at 12:24 am - Reply

    I'm a big walker, too — it brings me so much peace at the end of a stressful day. I walk by the East River in Manhattan and around areas of my neighborhood that aren't crowded in the evening. The riverfront is especially magical in the early evening as the lights begin to sparkle on the bridges. Walking is a great way to feel a part of the city and its vibrant communities — to really get to know the city in a way that you won't on a bike or in a taxi — and, yes, to feel connected with God. And I love the tip about putting lotion on your feet first!

  15. marlene August 9, 2013 at 4:40 am - Reply

    Great tips. I can translate them all to running/jogging too, it's very similar. I love jogging with my husband, especially in the morning when the air is crisp along some water. It just feels like we are seeing and experiencing the world at the same time. We talk occasionally but not always. Sometimes it's nice just to hear each other breathing. I recently got barefoot minimalist shoes. I think they're easier to transition into walking. I've had a hard time running in them and went too hard too fast and now have some tendinitis in my left ankle. If you get them, my advice would be to go slow. I like partner exercise. There is something beautiful about a shared experience.

  16. Ginna August 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I've found a renewed interest in walking and discovered some really good nature trails near my home. I take the dog out for a good long walk every morning now and it's done both of us so much good. I also just bought a bike and am having so much fun with it. I'm looking forward to getting stronger so I can ride longer distances.

  17. Sarah August 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    I also love walking, but tend to get glued to my desk – thanks for the reminder to get up and get outside, if only for 15 minutes or so! Still looking for some cute walking shoes, if anyone has tips!

  18. Laurie August 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    I just love your focus on the mind+body connection, Mara! So true!! Walking to work (1.5 miles) has been such a wonderful thing for me over the past year, and the early morning sunlight wakes me up even better than coffee. I've also found that it's a great time to listen to music without other distractions -that can really lift my mood.

    But I do usually need a more vigorous workout to get that "euphoria" feeling (maybe I should just be walking faster?) πŸ™‚ A few days after I had a miscarriage, going to Zumba classes was the only thing that could lift my mood. It really works! Thanks for the inspirational post!

  19. Walkers Shoes October 14, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Thanks for the useful tips! I completely agree with what you wrote in your post. A few months back I had some foot pain issues for a while which forced me to stop morning walk. I know how much a morning walk is important for a person so I always try not to miss it. I would strongly advise people not to choose stylish yet uncomfortable shoes for walking or exercise because I made the same mistake which caused me foot pain. It is really important that you wear good supportive shoes when you walk. Now I am back to walking pain free after switching to Brooks Trance 12. These shoes are seriously amazing and definitely different from other brands. I feel amazing walking in them.

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