Why I started walking more and driving less


Many of you may be wondering what happened to my fitness journey after my stint with Phil Agostino ended.

Did I immediately start on a diet of pizza, chips and Irn Bru, forget all my training and sell my exercise bike?  Or did I start training even harder, camping out at the gym and lifting weights that would impress DwayneTheRockJohnson (that's what I call him.  All one word.)?

The answer to both those questions is no.  

While I must confess a particular fondness for pizza, chips and Irn Bru, I've tried to add more fruit to my diet and eat (a little) bit healthier.

I actually started walking more and driving less.  Instead of taking my car to badminton, I'd walk.  Instead of driving to the Co-op, I'd stroll.  Instead of... well, you get the idea.  It's better for the environment.  It won't clog my DPF up so much.  And it's better for my overall fitness.  Win, win.

A few things I've noticed from walking more

Things in general.  The photograph above is of my walk to the gym - and it's quite beautiful.  At the moment, the leaves are turning hesitatingly autumnal.  In the dark, on the way home, I have to walk carefully to avoid treading on hundreds of beetles, urgently going about their business.  If I'm lucky, I might see a wee frog.  All things I'd miss if I'd driven.

Fuel lasts longer.  Well, that's an obvious one.  But, with prices the way they are, it's a compelling reason to stretch my legs.

I feel like I'm doing something useful.  Although I love driving my car and playing my drive tunes, I feel good knowing I'm helping the environment (a tiny bit.)

In addition to this sudden burst of walking, I have now developed a training routine that I feel I can comfortably maintain and build on.

I now run for 15-minutes at 9kph five times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) and am building my strength with the weights (lots of squats and lunges with 16k and plenty arm exercises with 6k.)

As someone who loathed and despised exercise when I started out, it's actually surprised me that I now come to enjoy my quiet time at the gym.  I usually find it empty and can play my music at ear-splitting volumes - and it's often a welcome way to unwind after sitting and thinking all day.

I'm aiming to be able to run (without feeling like my heart is going to explode) for 20 minutes at a time and then see where we go.  If training with Phil taught me anything, it's that balance and starting gradually is the best way to go.