By: Katie Austin
It’s the beginning of January and one of the items on my bucket list is to make my health a priority. You would think after battling breast cancer that my health would be at the top of my list, but instead as I juggle the many things on my plate, I find at the end of the day, my health is close to the bottom of the list. This is not good! I know that I am not alone as many of us put others first, telling ourselves that we will find ‘me’ time later. I am quickly realizing that if I don’t change, I won’t be able to do all of the things I want to do and do them well.
First step, come up with a health goal that is obtainable and fun to do. For me, I wanted to tie this goal with another one of my bucket list items, to participate in this year’s Avon Walk. This is such a great event! It takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a 39.3 mile walk over two days. I first participated in this event while still undergoing radiation treatments in the fall of 2010. Here I was, with hardly any hair, tired from my treatments, but kept moving forward as I knew that every step I took was one for all women, including myself, fighting breast cancer and for those yet diagnosed. Plus, it helped that I was surrounded by an amazing group of women that supported me every step of the way! The event raises awareness for breast cancer and money collected is given away to various organizations to help create clinical trials, fund research and provide financial and emotional assistance for breast cancer patients. To read more about the Avon Walk, go here!
Now that I have registered for the walk, the next step is to get myself in shape. I want to be able to cross the finish line without having to crawl across it! The plan is to walk 2-3 days a week and eat healthier meals. My favorite place to put on my fancy pink running shoes and walk is the Lake Murray Dam. I can park my car on the Lexington side of the dam, walk to Irmo, and then back, covering 3.4 miles round trip while enjoying the beautiful view of Lake Murray. If you want to start walking and find that you are limited on time, you can always walk your neighborhood and it saves on gas too!
They say walking a moderate pace 3 hours a week (or 30 minutes a day) can cut the risk of heart disease in women by as much as 40%! Walking is a great way to get in shape out of the house, doesn’t require us to pay a monthly gym fee, and provides a way to de-stress from life. I feel empowered when I walk as every step I take is in the direction of reaching the healthier, happier version of me.
If you are feeling low, like life has given you a lemon, go for a walk and when you get home, make some lemonade with it! Here is one of my favorite quotes – enjoy and hope to see you during my next walk!
“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.” Steven Wright