30 Day Walking Challenge

One of the things I loved about my recent travels abroad is how much walking I did. The best way to explore new places is on foot, and I would spend hours walking with my traveling companions. My body responds well to that kind of daily exercise. And yet, when I return home, in spite of my good intentions to continue walking daily, I fall back into my old routine and my old habits.

I decided to challenge myself, in a way that encouraged me to walk daily while having fun and seeing some new places in my own area. The 30 Day Walking Challenge was born.

The rules of the challenge are simple.

One…walk every day for the next 30 days.

Fourteen months ago, the 28 Day Cleanse, during which I ate raw fruits and vegetables, shifted my life. I felt so much better and saw such profound improvements in my health and well being that I embraced a plant based lifestyle. I know what adopting a new practice for 30 days can do! I am curious to see what walking daily does for my body and my soul.

I prefer to walk outdoors, so rain or sunshine, cool or warm temps, I’ll dress for the weather and enjoy nature or suburban neighborhoods. If it is storming, or there is heavy rain, then I can walk at the mall or other indoor venues.

Walking has many health benefits, including improving mood, maintaining or losing weight, improving circulation, preventing disease, toning the body, improving balance, and boosting creativity. For me walking connects me with my body, quiets my mind and increases my appreciation of beauty and fills me with wonder.

Two…walk somewhere different every day.

Because I am easily bored, and boredom kills an exercise routine for me, I chose to add a fun element to the challenge. I will walk in a different location every day.

There are many nature trails and walking paths in my area. And I want to explore parts of my own city that I have never visited before. There are neighboring towns that I can walk in and three nearby states that offer parks and hiking trails.

I will do solitary walks. And I intend to walk with others. I’m excited to walk with my three grown children, along with their spouses, kids and pets, in their neighborhoods. I’ve been invited to walk along on a golf course. And I will drive to visit my grandson, who is away at college, and walk the campus with him.

This is day three of my walking challenge. Here are the locations I have visited.

Day 1: Wildcat Park, south of Joplin, with its trails through woods and along Shoal Creek. Walking in nature is so restorative to me, body and soul.

Day 2: Joplin High School Campus. Although I drive by this school, rebuilt after the 2011 Joplin tornado, I’ve never explored the gorgeous campus. Among the buildings, sports fields and parking lots are natural areas designated for water run off and collection, where flowers and ornamental grasses flourish.

Day 3: Cunningham Park, west Joplin. This park and the surrounding area was destroyed in the tornado. However, now it is a beautiful memorial park, in honor of the people who died and with gratitude for the many volunteers who came to help Joplin in the recovery phase. It was a soulful place to walk this morning…peaceful and yet with signs of life everywhere. There was a child’s birthday celebration beneath a pavilion, kids playing on the playground and even a couple of knights having a mock sword fight.

I’m excited about this 30 Day Walking Challenge. I want to see how my body responds. I am curious to see how I respond, on the first rainy or blustery day, when I feel the tug to skip the walk. I look forward to walking in new places and having companions that walk alongside.

It is a challenge…and I am in high anticipation as I meet it. Walk with me.