For many years, Elisa was the only person in her upstate New York neighborhood who was walking for fitness. Then a few years ago, things started to shift. Longtime neighbors either moved or died. They were replaced by new neighbors.
Elisa is no longer the only one walking in her neighborhood. There’s a growing group who are also walking every day. And, many of them credit Elisa for this.
PEOPLE ARE WATCHING
Whether you realize it or not, you are likely inspiring others. The hard work of fitness isn’t the activity itself. It’s showing up. When you show up every day, regardless of the weather, people notice. And, they start thinking.
Elisa says some of her new neighbors started asking her questions. They wanted to know why she walked. They wanted to know where she walked. And, gradually they started walking too.
It can feel funny when you’re the only one walking. You feel like everybody is watching. It can also feel like they may think you’re crazy. And, truthfully, some probably are. But, considering the benefits of activity and the dangers of inactivity…who’s really the crazy one?
Elisa says people would stop her in the grocery store and say, “Hey, aren’t you the girl I see in my neighborhood who walks all the time?” That can feel uncomfortable. But, it can also be a great opportunity to inspire others to start walking themselves.
There’s a couple in our neighborhood who walk together several times a day. The first time I saw them, after we moved here, she was walking with a cane. Then I noticed he was carrying the cane for her…in case she needed it. Eventually, the cane was left home even if the pace was slower than typical for someone their age, which I’m guessing is early 60’s.
I’ve since learned she had hip replacement surgery and walking was part of her recovery. Considering how well she’s moving these days. I’m guessing their walks now are more about fitness and being together than recovery.
Here’s the thing. I walk for fitness, but this couple still inspires me. They show up every day regardless of the weather, discomfort, or calendar. I suspect they inspire many others in our neighborhood since there are a lot more people now who also walk every day.
BE THE REMINDER
Not long ago, I was picking my wife up from the airport. I arrived at the cell phone lot about 15 minutes before her plane landed. The sun was shining and I didn’t feel like sitting in my car so I got out and walked laps around the parking lot. Not many minutes later, another guy got out of his car and started walking laps too. As we passed, he looked at me and said, “Thank you for reminding me I don’t need to sit in my car.”
Sometimes all our neighbors need is a little reminder that fitness and better health is waiting for them on the other side of the front door. And, you just might be the person who inspires them into action.
If you need a little boost of motivation yourself, check out my podcast and join me for a daily ten-minute walk. It’s like having a walking buddy who’s always ready to go for a walk when you are.