I moved to Indialantic, FL almost 3 years ago. The world was still sort of on lockdown due to the pandemic so I didn’t start making meaningful connections here right away. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have experienced the connections I’m discussing today. You see, I only recently ramped up my fitness efforts. Today I’m discussing the connections made while one is outside participating in their choice of exercise.
I retired a year ago and was shocked that my job kept me at a desk and I was walking a measly 1700 steps a day. Shocker! It’s not because I had trouble moving or didn’t want to move. I was just so hell-bent on doing a great job at work and making sure everything was done, that I focused all my time on that, instead of balancing and focusing also on myself.
On the first and second days of retirement, I stuck to the calendar I made for myself. It included all the things I felt I should be doing, for both fitness and nourishing my spirit. I walked over 12,000 steps each day! Can you imagine what happened? Yep, you guessed it! I burnt out. Not only did I burn out, I couldn’t sleep for 4 or 5 days. My body was screaming at me, “Idiot! What do you think you’re doing?! Yes, I know how to move, but you haven’t been using me that way lately and you’ve done too much! You can’t have me go from tortoise to hare overnight! I can’t even settle down and relax long enough to fall asleep and get into my restorative state. Idiot! I know I called you that already, but, c’mon, you ARE!”
So I changed my calendar. I changed my goals. I decided to focus on hitting only 4,000 steps that month and adding another thousand each month. It went a LOT better. I eased into walking by adding extra outings with my doggie, Lola. I focused on regular progress, not reaching the goal immediately. By the end of each month, I spent at least a week hitting that month’s target goal. Slow and steady wins the race. Only in the 3rd or 4th month did I have to add separate walks, on my own, to reach that month’s goal. Lola wasn’t having any of my extreme stepping. Her little legs can only do so many daily. LOL
I have asthma and last year was particularly challenging. I was in contact with my pulmonologist a lot. (Love you Dr. Spero!). I had several episodes that required extra meds and boy, was I feeling down about that. Because of the asthma, there were some months when I stayed on the same number of daily steps as the month before. It’s now a full year since I started upping my steps and I am not at my goal of 12,000 steps daily. But I am on 9,000. That’s a huge change from the 1,700 I was averaging during my sedentary days. I choose to celebrate all my wins, even if I miss the mark! Celebrate all your wins, no matter how small.
So anyway, on to the connections I want to discuss today. Whenever I am walking, I meet people doing the same. I also meet others who are jogging or cycling. I really don’t run into too many people who are out just trying to get from point A to point B. It’s too hot in Florida for that LOL Most are out on purpose, working to improve their fitness.
I find it really rewarding to acknowledge these souls I meet. Sometimes it’s “good morning,” a smile, or a wave. I’ve offered words of encouragement to some that obviously were working hard to hit their target heart rate, “great job! Keep it up!” I’ve been the recipient of same. It truly juices me to connect with others.
Last month there was the cyclist who didn’t miss a beat on his ride yet managed to look up from his workout, look directly into my eyes and flash me the brightest smile I’ve received in a very long time. It kept me going for the rest of my walk. Seriously. I wasn’t even at my halfway mark, yet the fact that he bothered to acknowledge me, to see me, kept me going. He was telling me he saw me. He was encouraging me to keep going. It could have been because physically, I am probably the largest person out there and he wanted to encourage me to keep up my efforts. Or not! I tend to analyze things way too much. Let’s just enjoy things for what we know they are. His was a kind gesture. And it mattered to me. I appreciate you buddy! If you read this know that you made a difference in my day. And in my fitness journey!
As humans, connections are vital. I make connections everywhere: in my smallish community; at church; in my sewing chapter, and more. The “moving connections” I have with others out on their fitness journeys are different in that I do not know their names or really share any meaningful conversations with them. But the connections are important to me nonetheless. They are kindred spirits who have, like me, decided that their health is important enough to care for it. To ensure these bodies we’ve been given stay in as good a shape as possible and serve us for many more years to come. I’m just in awe of how our bodies function and what they are capable of.
So, here’s to all my moving connections out there! The possibly-hitting-90-soon gentleman who always hits a sprint when he passes me and then returns to a brisk walk. I am SO damn proud of you! The already fit cyclists who love having the wind in their faces and whatever burn it is they get from their cycling. I see you and respect you! The gals who are taking time away from their families to focus on themselves, so they can then return to serving their families. Props to you sisters! The silver fox acknowledging that looks aren’t everything, and health mustn’t be ignored. Here’s hoping you’re a local and not a tourist! LOL
I see you all. I respect and admire you. And I thank you for also seeing me as we continue on this journey.