Stomp, stomp, stomp.
“Shhh.. not so loud,” My aunts would warn me. “You have heavy feet.”
When I was a wee, little girl, I strutted around our house without a care in the world. I thought I walked like any normal human being, but apparently I was a mini giant in their eyes, trudging along. My family members have always told me that I walked really loud.
What does that even mean? I never saw the cats or dogs scurry away as I walked pass them. The silverware and plates in the cabinets or books on the shelves didn’t come crashing down, as I approached the kitchen. My footsteps didn’t shake the surface causing mayhem or an earthquake.
Pshhh.. I didn’t really think anything of it. Until they would mention that my feet pointed outwards like a penguin or a duck.
Great, way to make a kid feel self conscious. I didn’t want to transform into a duck or a penguin. Then again, a duck wouldn’t be so bad, I thought, they could fly. I’d love to fly!
Well, I never grew feathers or a beak. I just was told to work on my strut, for reals. One summer, I remember my Lola (grandma) giving me a book to put on my head to balance. She told me to practice walking in a line. Therefore, I drew an imaginary line with my toes, as I walked from one corner to the next, in the living room. I tried my best not to drop the book above me.
It was a fun! I thought of it as a game. Scorching lava everywhere! If I was to fall, I’d burn to death. So from heel to toe, I stepped carefully, making sure my feet pointed straight forward. I got pretty good at it, since that was the only time I remember putting a book on my head to balance again.
Flash forward to adult Rachel.
I’ve honestly come to enjoy walking. I’ve walked and hiked around Mt. Rainier. I took a course in college, Yoga and Mindfulness, that taught me walking could be a form of meditation. One whole day, we had a whole class session dedicated to walking and hiking the Olympic National Park. It was breathtaking, the spectrum of colorful foliage that surround the forest. The mosaics of rivers and trees encompassing around me, as I strolled along the nature path. Each breath I took was intoxicating, sweet, and extremely gratifying for my soul.
During my pregnancy, I tried my best to stay physically active, with my attempts in doing prenatal yoga, light weight lifting, stretching, jogging, and walking. What really stuck was walking. When I really did feel heavy on my feet, due to my body gaining much weight, all I really enjoyed was walking. I didn’t really even think of it as form of exercise, it was just a reason for me to get up off my ass and go outside.
First and second trimester, I walked up stairs, rather than taking elevators.
I walked around the parks around the city.
I walked around the grocery store aisles, when I went grocery shopping.
I walked our dog to the mailbox and around our neighborhood.
My husband purposely would park the car far at parking lots, so I could take a nice long walk to wherever we were headed.
We took trips to the beach and I’d walk on the sand.
I walked on nature trails that were within our vicinity.
I walked around downtown, to the museum.
I walked around thrift stores and consignment shops.
I walked around the library aisles, searching for birthing and baby books.
Third trimester, I just wanted to sleep and lay down on the comfy, soft couch. It lured me in with its cushy pillows and television near by. However, every other day I still attempted to go on my walks.
Walking strengthened my leg muscles and helped me adapt in my pregnant body. I felt comfortable and seemed to manage my body movements easily whenever I walked. When it came time to giving birth, I walked to keep my mind off the pain. I walked all over our house as the contractions grew. During my healing process and recovery, I walked to get out of the house and to have my “me time.”
As a stay at home mother, walking keeps me sane. I’m in the house the majority of the day and when I get a chance to go outside, I take it! My baby girl doesn’t cry when she feels the sun shine down her head or wind blowing through ears. Heck, just stepping outside, changes my whole being! I go from feeling lousy and tired, to happy and energetic.
Nowadays, I no longer pay attention to the positioning of my feet, because that doesn’t matter to me. What does matter is how my whole body feels as I walk. I am more conscious of my surroundings and the moments my heels and toes hit the dirt or pavement. My breath is matched with the steps I take and I feel light as a feather.
I make it a habit to walk rather than run, because I’m in no hurry.