I have been walking and exercising my whole life.
Born in 1958 in Chicago. Everyone walked everywhere, or…they took the bus or the el. Cars were not on the scene like they are today and many people did not even own a driver’s license – women especially. I walked in my neighborhood, to school, to church, to shop and to my friends house. Not until high school, was I lucky enough to get a ride from my Dad and only then the weather had to be 30 below with a windchill of minus 70.
In grammar school I played volleyball, softball and was a cheerleader. The cheerleading thing was because everyone in our class was one. It wasn’t like cheerleading today – with all of the stunts and gymnastics, try-outs and professionalism. For us, it was all about synchronizing 25 dorky girls in very cute matching sweaters – very rarely did we take the floor for an organized cheer. But, getting ready for that one time was enough of a reason to convince our parents that we needed to meet after school and practice. Twice a week we showed up at the games and we screamed out the boys names while jumping up and down and waving our arms. Getting to and from the games was probably where my walking career began – most of the opponent schools were miles away and we walked. Tweens eating licorice, laughing, singing, bubbling with excitement, never noticing the cold or the distance, engaged in important conversations about all of our worlds. We were happy to be together and on our way to cheer our hearts out.
In high school I played 4 sports – tennis, volleyball, badminton and softball. I was a title 9 teen. My freshman year we participated on teams and entered play dates – on Saturdays, a bunch of schools would get together and run a big tournament for whatever sports the schools were practicing. These were very successful and highly attended. For the next year, girls would have their own conference sport leagues . This meant regularly scheduled games, try-outs, practices, playoffs, and awards. I never looked back. For the next three years, I was practicing for two hours every night after school, and in my free time… conditioning, because I wanted to be an athlete.
In college, I played badminton on the school team and started jogging, cycling, more walking, taught fitness classes in a pool and out, played competitive pickleball and began weight training.
After college, I worked in a health club, coached badminton and volleyball, tried skiing (which landed me my first athletic injury at 28 years old – a torn ACL in my right knee) played a lot of tennis in leagues and with friends, (this gave me my second athletic injury – a torn achilles tendon on my left leg at around 46 years old) some softball, more cycling and running, and some doubles volleyball. All the while, doing something on my off days to stay in shape for all of these activities – treadmill, bike, or whatever I could get my hands on.
Then, finally, a PE job! I was now in heaven, able to work out daily in sports and activities with my students or on my own during my free time. I had the greatest job/lifestyle ever – my dream for 28 years.
Now I am retired and I still love to walk. I know walking is good for my health – my brain, my colon, my heart and my soul. Walking is exercise, movement and medicine.