Starting late in life, I decided it was time to start walking and get my health in order. I’ve been diagnosed with early stage COPD (Emphysema) due to all my years of smoking. I was actually diagnosed 15 or so years ago, but it was mild back then and I stupidly continued to smoke until August 2009. Anyway, after doing some research, I figured out that the best thing I could do was to exercise so that I can keep my body health so the progression of the disease is slowed down. I figured walking would be the best bet.
One thing I figured out quickly was that walking takes up time. At first it was just 20 minutes, then as I progressed (fairly quickly) to longer times. Walking for 45-60 minutes eats up a lot of time that could be spent doing something else. I figured out that it would be the best time to listen to sermon podcasts. I had been storing up podcasts from several preachers that I had not gotten around to listening to yet and this would be the perfect thing. I have sermons from John Piper, Mark Driscoll and R.C. Sproul that I could listen to daily and never run out of (unless they stop producing them). So I made sure my iPhone was loaded up with them for listening. But, I loath the iPhone earbuds!
A year or so ago, I had picked up a Sony bluetooth headset that are actual headphones and not little earbuds that fall out of my ears at any slight tug of the cord. So I charged them up and give them a try and they work almost perfect. Only real problem is they can start sliding out of position if I am fairly bouncy while walking. But, they make up for that easily. They have volume controls, stop, rewind and fast forward controls. Along with a button to answer the phone using it’s built in microphone. But of course the nicest thing is the bluetooth, no cables or cords to get in the way.
Next I needed some software to record my daily walks, and I knew there had to be an “app for that”. My sister and brother in law use “Runkeeper“, but had already gotten one called Walkmeter, which I am really liking. It does a good job with GPS and maps out my walks. Keeps track of time, distance, pace speed, average speed, and best speed. It also will compare the current walk to my best time. In order to do that it can keep multiple routes. Which will come in handy when I start to walk at different parks for a change of scenery. I also have it post my walk results on my Google Calendar so I will have easy access if I want to lookup my results. I can also post to Facebook and Twitter, but I doubt my friends would want to see all that boring data :)
One thing I discovered this past week that I thought was really cool is that if I stop the podcast I am listening to. After a few seconds the Walkmeter program will sense that the podcast has stopped and it will announce all the statistics about the current walk. Then I can start the podcast back up again. Very useful for checking on the progress of my walk and if I am going faster or slower than my usual pace.
The other thing I do like about walking is just getting out. The weather has been really nice, so that has helped a lot. As it warms up I might not feel the same about it, but it should not be too bad, especially if I am just walking. And when Laura goes, she will usually take Pearl, her toy poodle, so they get to enjoy the outdoors as well.
As for results, I am walking around 2.9 miles now (4 laps around Schupp Park) and it usually takes about 50 minutes to complete it. My best so far has been 49:05 minutes at a pace of 16:58 minutes per mile. Where as my first solo walk was at a 18:55 minutes per mile average. Maybe soon I can start adding a bit of jogging/running in there as well, but I want to get approval from the Dr’s. before I do that.