A couple of months ago (I think) I was at an appointment around rush hour at another part of town that required two buses to get home. I hate public transport when it's busy - it's always full, there's always people playing music far too loud, and if you're really unlucky you get a smelly person sitting next to you or a weirdo who plucks his chin with 2 20pence pieces (I'm not lying - that did happen to me once on a bus!). It also takes forever, what with everyone getting on and off and all the other traffic, roadworks, etc. On this day I really wasn't looking forward to the bus journey, and then when I got home I knew I would have to force myself to do some exercise. All in all I knew this would take me about an hour and a half. That's when it struck me that it would probably take me about the same amount of time to walk home, and that way I wouldn't need to face the bus and would be getting even more exercise than planned. I think that was a 4.5 mile walk, and the first proper walking I'd done in a while. It was hard, but I did it.
Since that day I've been walking a lot. Most days when it's been dry outside I've been fitting in at least a 3 mile walk. If I don't have anywhere to go, I have a few routes that lead from my flat around my local area and back again, and if I do have somewhere to go, I work out whether I can walk. I live about 4.5 miles from the town centre, and this has become a regular walk whenever I need to go into town. Today has been my best achievement to date. I had an appointment 4.6 miles away this morning, so not only did I walk all the way there, but I also walked all the way home afterwards, half an hour later, giving me a total of 9.2 miles for today. The last mile or so was tough, but I'm thrilled that I achieved it.
I definitely feel all this walking is really starting to do me a huge amount of good. The most obvious thing has been my fitness levels - the more I've walked, the faster I've been able to walk and the easier I'm finding the hills. My fiance has noticed a big difference, as he now feels I'm fitter than him (and he's a three times a week gym addict!). I've also started to get a few comments that my legs have started to slim down and tone up and I've definitely noticed my skinny jeans getting looser around the thighs!
In addition to the obvious physical benefits, I'm also really enjoying the walking. I tend to walk with my iPod playing a range of tunes with upbeat and happy lyrics, that make me smile as I pound the pavements. I'm discovering lots of new little things around my local areas, such as shops or parks that I didn't know existed. I'm also getting to spend plenty of time in the fresh air, and over the last couple of days, the sunshine which always makes me feel happier. Walking is also giving me a chance to destress and clear my head by allowing me to escape from the rest of the world for the hour or so that I'm doing it.
I've recently just bought myself a pair of Reebox Easytones for walking, which are meant to increase the muscle usage of the leg and bum muscles, so I'm hoping these will help tone my legs up faster as I use them. I've only been out once in them so far, as they're not always suitable footwear if I need to look a bit smarter, but I definitely felt my legs were worked harder and were sorer the next day, so I have confidence they will make a difference.
I start my new job on Monday, which is 4.2 miles from my flat. My aim is to start walking home from work on dry days, so that I'm still maintaining this new exercise which I'm loving.