One of the assignments for my program was to propose a community action health plan for an issue pertinent to our community. I came up with Walk 4 Life as a way to decrease obesity and increase the overall fitness of the community.
When we lived in Utah, I experimented with not using our car by walking to the library, the grocery store, parks, the doctor’s office, and my friends’ houses. It was amazing. I found my stroller a much easier and more convenient mode of transportation than our car. When we moved to Kirksville and then to St. Louis (our new home), I have mourned my lack of mobility. Walking to places isn’t simple and requires that I use tiny sidewalks (or no sidewalks) along very busy streets. I didn’t realize how much walking made me feel better mentally and physically.
As a stay-at-home parent, I don’t have too many options when it comes to exercising with the kids. While I still use my exercise videos, I have tried taking them to parks around us to walk around; however, they are not very good walking mates. They cry and whine and fight and ask for food, drinks, movies, etc. I would rather they play on the slides than walk with them. With prompting from friends, I decided to come up with a creative solution. Since I usually need a break once Ben comes home, I have asked that I have an hour to go walking at my favorite park (pictured above). During this hour, I turn on my favorite podcasts (or St. Louis public radio) and lose myself in the words and stories of others.
Walking has had amazing effects on my overall health. It’s an easy and doable way to exercise in my heavy pregnant state and it gets me outside. It also helps me get through a difficult day.
Strangely enough, taking this small step has helped me in other ways. I find myself more motivated to take the kids out during the week (to the library, etc), read them books, and play with them. I have more energy to talk to my husband at night.
I just feel better.
As I am reluctantly staying home with the kids now, it has been difficult to disguise and/or ignore my feelings of frustration. I often feel trapped in my apartment and in an unhappy place. However, in so many ways, this is a situation that I can’t change, and I basically have to swallow my frustration and deal with it. Walking has helped me find satisfaction in life and has helped me feel less trapped by giving me an hour’s worth of freedom.
Yeah. Walk 4 Life. It helped me find purpose in life, again, and better my overall health. A worthy plan to use for the rest of my life.