It’s official – I am longer the Mum of a baby but of a toddler! Little H has been walking for a good couple of months but always with help, cruising around furniture or, at best, just covering a small number of steps when set off in the right direction. For several weeks it’s been clear she had “the skills” to walk alone but had not developed the confidence. Then, suddenly, after nursery on Thursday she just…went. She let go of the side and walked back-and-forth and round-and-round. Sam and I just sat and watched in amazement. She was so incredibly proud of herself and quite rightly so. It’s only have watched H learn to walk that I really re-appreciated how amazing it is!
Walking requires so many muscles and a significant amount of co-ordination and balance. Over the last few months I have watched my daughter learn to strengthen her core enough to stand unaided; She’s practiced the coordinated use of her legs so she can lift her feet and take steps; Then she’s learnt to do the two together. I can see in her face that this is her biggest personal accomplishment to date. And that makes complete sense; Walking gives her freedom to get round whilst also being able to see and carry; Walking means she can move around like Mummy, Daddy and all the people she watches and wants to imitate. She now wants to walk all the time. Yet I then look at adults and it feels as though so many ‘grown-ups’ do everything they can to avoid walking. But why?
I have been commuting in to London for almost a decade now. Walking is almost unavoidable with such a commute and I would always pound through the tube and down the streets near my office 4 days a week (now three). In the office, our lifts are slow so I would routinely climb the stairs between 4 floors to get lunch. There was never an issue about getting towards my step count on those days (I’ve had a Fitbit for 2.5 years to help me keep a count). But it was a means-to-an-end – I walked because I had to. So at the weekend I would more than happily jump in the car to go to town. Fast-forward to 2015, my Maternity Leave year, and walking became became my saviour: my freedom, my exercise, my energy-boost, my baby-soother. I haven’t looked back from there. Now, if I don’t do a decent walk (at least half an hour) every day, I feel sluggish.
Obviously England isn’t always blessed with beaming sunshine, or even calm and dry conditions. But that doesn’t stop me from getting out and about these days. If it’s warm enough to bundle H up in the buggy and it’s not galing or torrential rain, I pop on my waterproof trainers, my Northface jacket and get out there. Sometimes we do a ‘decent’ walk (on Saturday we walked the long way to town, around town and then home – I’d done over 10,000 steps by 12noon!) and sometimes it’s round the block. But it gets me out and it gets me moving. The health benefits of just going out walking are huge.
So for those of you who don’t walk, get out there and enjoy the air. Think about how much effort you’ll have put into learning how to walk – it’s seems such a shame to not do it more. You owe it to yourself!