When I was younger, I used to watch speed walking scornfully during the Olympics.
“Walking is not a sport,” I would tell myself. “You should not win a gold medal for that. Anyone can do that!”
But, as I have grown older, I have grown a new found respect for race walking. During the last few Olympics, I was glued to the TV set during the event. It is fascinating to see people walking so quickly. Even though it looks awkward, the sport has earned my respect.
While doing a little research, I learned that most Olympic race walkers can walk a mile faster than most of us can run a mile. And, they can maintain this pace for 30 miles.
Speed walking is definitely a sport that demands speed, endurance and will power.
Perhaps, I have also gained respect for the sport because I have done so much walking lately. Ever since I broke my ankle about five years ago, walking has been one of the few exercises I can perform.
And, my walking took on a whole new level in March when I received my first Fitbit watch for my birthday.
Surprisingly, one of the things that has helped motivate me with my new Fitbit watch is the congratulatory badge emails I receive when I break a new record. Sure, it seemed like a gimmick when I received my first merit badge for walking my first 1,000 steps in a day. But, for the next day, I made sure I broke my old record to receive a new email with a new badge attached.
I find it funny how something that seems so silly can be such a source of inspiration for me. I am so proud of my Fitbit badges, in fact, I have even taped my badges to the wall by my desk at work.
Currently, my record is walking 35,000 steps in a day, which is equivalent to about 13.26 miles. I don’t try to break a new record everyday — I don’t have the energy for that — but I do hope to set a new record in the next few weeks.
In Greenville, my favorite walking trail is the one on the levee by the casino.
I appreciate the people in our community who made that happen a few years ago. I can get about 9,000 steps each time I walk back and forth on the trail.
I encourage everyone who is capable to begin their own exercise regiment, for both your physical and mental health.
You may not need a Fitbit watch, or any silly stinking badge, but try to find some form of motivation to help keep you active.
David W. Healy is sports editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.