A Little Dog Helps Restart a Healthy Habit

A Little Dog Helps Restart a Healthy Habit
One of the reasons I adopted a little dog last year was to motivate myself to walk more. I bought a new pair of running shoes that made walking much more comfortable. Don’t be misled. I’m definitely not a runner. But my rheumatologist once suggested that running shoes had the best support and impact cushioning, which would encourage me to walk farther and longer while experiencing less trauma to my body. And so it began. Sammy and I started slowly. After months of only walking to the corner and back, we finally made it around the block. When that became easily doable, we graduated to walking around two blocks. Fast-forward nine months, and we were clocking a mile and a half each day. The Stepz app on my phone confirmed that amount daily. I felt more relaxed and had more energy than I'd had in a long time. Initially, a friend walked with Sammy and me. This made the effort nearly painless for me because conversation is distracting. If anything, I needed to ensure I didn’t overdo it. If I did, I paid for it the next day either with sore ankles, knees, and hips or with a muscle spasm in my back. So, I quickly became adept at measuring the distance I'd walked. When my walking companion was no longer available, Sammy and I walked alone. The motivation then was the weather. We’d had an unusually cold winter here in Southern California, and to feel of the sun’s warmth on my skin was my reward for the effort it took to get myself up and out of the house. Happily, the more days I walked the easier it became. I actually looked forward to our daily outings. I guess the “habit” phenomenon had kicked in. My daily walks seemed to verify that if you d
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