Walking: My New Pandemic Exercise Regimen

illustration of woman walking in nature

Illustration Credit: Nicetoseeya/Shutterstock

For some time now, many of us have been spending much time indoors. Our sense of normalcy has changed completely, and our future is more uncertain than ever. Many of us have lost the desire to exercise, keep regular sleep hours, or even eat healthily — including me.

Following the temporary closure of my local gym a few months ago, I found myself perpetually unmotivated. Work remained as hectic as ever, but the fact that my only outlet for blowing off some steam was gone for the time being pained me.

A month ago, though, I rediscovered walking. I had had a particularly busy day, and I just wanted to go out and breathe some fresh air. That became a game-changer. I realized walking is not only free and easy, but also brings me a sense of calm.

Every late evening, I put on my running shoes and get out of the house for at least an hour. The route I take is pleasantly green and quiet, sprinkled with snake plants, Iresine, canna lilies, and gulmohar flowers. The fragrance of night-blooming jasmine in the air also often welcomes me.

Sometimes I listen to music on my phone, and sometimes I make peace with insect sounds, which makes me feel closer to nature. Either way, walking helps me clear my headspace and reflect on the day that has gone by.

Even though it hasn’t been long, I can already feel the following positive changes in me, spurring me on to do better every day:

1. I’m more energetic all day and less prone to taking midday naps.

2. I crave sugar much less. I even take my tea and coffee unsweetened — something I never thought I would do.

3. My mind is alert, and I feel less depressed or irritable about small things. I can navigate my emotions better.

4. I’m more disciplined about my work. Exercise is all about showing up every day — I’ve applied that principle to my writing, and I’m so productive.

5. More importantly, my body feels stronger — and it only gets better as I keep going.

Like many mundane experiences in a global pandemic, it is easy to find ourselves beneath the weight of office work, household, childcare, and more. Walking gives me a break from that stress. You should try it, too.

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