February 6 – “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” (Henry David Thoreau).
As I have been progressing on my Journey toward better health, one thing that has become a staple is walking. I love to walk. Back in August of last year I took up a challenge to walk 100 miles in the month. Intentional walking, not just increasing my incidental walking. For that challenge my wife and I spent many hours hiking in the woods and taking walks in our neighborhood. At work I took countless laps around my building in order to click off the miles.
One thing I discovered during that challenge was how much I enjoyed walking first thing in the morning. When weather permitted, I got to work 30 minutes early and took a walk around the outer parking lot of my building. It was quiet during that time, and the parking lot is surrounded by fields of tall grass, so it gave me a chance to be a little closer to nature.
I found that on those days I was more productive in the morning hours. I am sure part of the reason was that I had stoked my metabolism, which carried me through to lunch. But I also think that part of it was just the time I was spending with myself.
Since November I have been doing another walking challenge. This time the walking has been on a treadmill. Most of the sessions have been between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning, and I have been watching episodes of Dexter while I am on the treadmill (I am on the final season now, so please…no spoilers). This challenge has been a great help to my progress toward health, and my metabolism remains high, but there was something missing in terms of my mental makeup.
In January I added another challenge to walk an extra 1,000 steps each day. This challenge is on top of the one above, and involves more walking in my everyday life. To get my extra 1,000 steps, I have been taking laps inside my building. And, as I was scanning quotes for this post I realized something. Many of those building laps have been first thing in the morning. Most of the time I read my email, then get up for a good 10 minute, brisk walk. I realized when getting ready for this post, that my morning productivity spike has been back on the days when I start with a walk.
Leave it to Thoreau to come up with such a simple truth that my life is playing out. Later this morning my wife and I are headed out for a long weekend in New Orleans, and I plan to keep this quote in mind, both on this trip and when I get back to the office. I do think there is something special about a morning walk. It clears my mind, and gives me a chance to set my game plan for the day. When I get back to my desk I am energized and ready to go.
Today my reflection is on the power of the 10 minute, morning walk, and how I intend to increase my use of it in days, weeks,
Last year I challenged myself to walk 100 miles a month. Despite a few setbacks, I achieved it. This year my challenge is to walk 1500 miles over the year. I’m plotting my miles on a map and completing a virtual walk around the coast of Britain. Since January 2014 Ive made it, virtually, from Southampton to Aberdeen which isn’t bad going. This all keeps me motivated but my favourite walks are early morning walks to work with the sun coming up over the river.