365 walks – 2021

A year of walking

On January 1, 2021, I committed to walking every day for a year. I’m two days away from the end of the year and have not missed one day yet! As soon as I’m done this post, I’ll be off to meet a friend for today’s walk.

Why I decided to walk every day

I’ve always liked making New Year’s resolutions. One year I blogged precisely 365 for precisely 365 days. One year I committed to reading more books and made it through 52 books before December 31st. Making annual goals is, for me, a way to put into action things I want to do for myself, sometimes the things I know I need to do.

Like for most people, 2020 was hard. The COVID-19 pandemic up-ended our lives. I have two young children and lived the chaos of juggling working from home with home schooling. But my girls and I also found a new appreciation for simple activities like walking, something we could still safely do during a pandemic.

Still, half the time my children are with their dad, and I would find that on those days I would spend long hours at my desk, hunched over the computer. I would look up and the end of the day and realize it was dark outside. I hadn’t left the house all day. I knew this was not good for my mood, nor helping me deal with the on-going stress of these difficult times.

So I made the resolution to get outside each day and take a walk. It didn’t have to be a long walk. In fact, some days all I managed was a quick trip around the block, or I would count as my daily walk the time spent outside picking up my youngest from school and walking her back home. But I began to notice that the daily walks were helping my mood and reducing my stress.

Walking every single day

I made myself accountable by announcing my intention on social media and promising to tweet and post an IG image each day. Sometimes it was hard to find an interesting image on the far-too-familiar streets close to home, but the daily accountability helped. Have to admit the likes and comments also helped too – and connected me to other walking enthusiasts.

I also began pushing myself to walk further distances. In the spring, what I considered to be a long walk was around 8 kilometres. Over the course of the summer and fall, I tested my limits, pushing myself farther and farther 22, 26, 32… This added to my sense of satisfaction. I also discovered that something seems to happen around the 15 km mark, it’s like that’s when the good vibes really kick in. Anyone else experience this?

I added a new goal of completing the Rideau Trail in 2021, which gave me a destination to work toward (and I completed it on Dec 5). I had a virtual walking partner in Scotland, a woman I’ve never met in person but whose daily tweets and IG posts kept me motivated. The vast majority of my time spent with friends this year was spent on trails – in part because we’re still living in a pandemic, but also because walking with someone is simply one of my favourite things to do.

It may be almost the end of my year of walking in 2021. But having experienced all the benefits of this past year, I’m definitely up for another round of 365 walks in 2022. Will you join me?

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Published by Anita Grace

I'm an avid hiker and nature enthusiast living in Ottawa, Ontario.

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