A walking journal can provide seniors with an ongoing record of progress toward health and fitness goals and more. It can be valuable to a health care provider who needs to know how much physical exercise seniors are getting. Walking seniors can look back over their journal and see how far they have gone. A record of reaching progressively higher walking goals and the enjoyment of doing so can encourage them to keep going.
Walking Journal is About More than Distance
I’m a walker. There, I’ve admitted it. I walk and I enjoy it. I’m not the kind of walker who will show up on the cover of a glossy magazine, and nobody wants to interview me, I just get a thrill out of striding effortlessly down a walking path on stronger legs enjoying better health and fitness that I’ve developed over many miles of walking.
But as I look back through my journal, I’m reminded it wasn’t always so. As I flip through the pages I remember things like the day I was paced for a mile or two by a gentleman I later learned was eighty-five and he didn’t look a day over fifty. My whole day’s walk during which he accompanied me was nothing but a short stint during one of his thrice-weekly ten-mile walks.
If you are a senior, and you walk, or you’re thinking about walking to improve your health and fitness level, or for weight loss, I suggest that you record your walking activity and observations daily in a journal.
Record Thoughts and Observations, Track Weight Loss and Health
Start simple. Write down where you walked, your route, the distance, and the time you started and finished. Add a few notes about how you felt before and after your walk, any observations you made, and thoughts that occurred to you during your walk. I am surprised how often during walks I come up with solutions to problems. It’s easier to record thoughts right after walking while they are still clear than waiting until later and trying to recall them.
Here are some ideas of what to write about:
- Condition, and ease or difficulty of the trail
- People, plants, or animals you encounter on the walk
- The weather
- Whether walking was easy or hard that day, and if it felt like work or fun
- Describe the surroundings along the way
- How you felt physically during the walk, heart rate, ease or difficulty breathing
- How you felt an hour after the walk
- Once a week, record your weight and blood pressure (It’s fun to watch them drop over time)
A Health and Fitness Memoir Not a Novel
A walking journal doesn’t need to be complex, and it doesn’t have to be literature. It’s for you. The impressions you record can be valuable. You can use the journal to plan where to take upcoming walks. It can remind you of walks to take again, and others you may want to avoid. If you are feeling worn out on a scheduled walking day, choose an easier route from past journal entries.
Any day you don’t walk, record the date and jot down a note that you didn’t walk, and why. That way you won’t look back in a few months and wonder what happened on a date with no entry.
Over time, you might learn some things about yourself. It can be a mini self-discovery adventure. If nothing else, you may find out what you write about when you feel good, and what you make note of when you don’t feel so good.
See How Far Walking Has Taken You
One of the best reasons to keep a journal may be the ability to look back. You can see all that you’ve enjoyed, what you overcame, and how much improvement there has been in your walking speed and distance, and your health and fitness.
On days when it seems like going out to walk is too much effort, look back at where you started and what you’ve accomplished. It might give you the boost you need to go out one more day. Read about what you enjoyed on past walks. It can help a gloomy day look a little brighter.
Before you start or increase any exercise program, check with your health care provider. Get their approval. Learn the danger signals to watch for and carry a cell phone. If you experience any of the signs of serious health issues, seek medical attention.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.