• Tyler Valencia

A Great Day for a Walk

It’s been three weeks since I have been teaching face to face and I have to say that I can feel the disconnect. I know many people in the fitness industry are extroverts, so this is a true test of our resilience. I’m doing what I can to keep in touch with my students, sending emails a few times each week to keep them engaged, giving them creative ideas that they can incorporate at home.

Many of us often complain about wanting to spend more time at home with our family, and well…here we are. In today’s society, we are usually on fast forward (especially those of us in the fitness industry). Many like me work full time and teach part time. My weekends consist of updating my playlists, going over the choreography I’ll be using for the week, and making sure everything is set for success.

Now, I’m finding it a bit challenging to stay focused. It could be due to the fact that every time I sit down at my desk, the cat decides to take up residency on my lap or walks across the keyboard and monitor wanting my undivided attention. Or I find that there is some other distraction around me, either sounds I’m hearing outside that spike my curiosity or things that run around inside my head and I lose my concentration.

I have made it a habit to get out into my neighborhood and walk for an hour each day. Walking helps with the new playlists, so I’m able to test them out, see if I like them or not, and determine what songs I need to alter. When I’m walking, I tend to observe everything around me. The sun is shining, there are a few clouds, and the weather is absolutely perfect here. For those of us in good climates, this is the most opportune time to stay home and enjoy the great outdoors.

As everyone is settling into their new normal, I see more people out walking during the day. I have made it my mission to walk during different times during the day and early evening so I can see who is out and what they are doing.

It feels like for the first time, everyone who owns a dog is now out walking them - yeah for the dogs! It’s actually kind of crazy how many people I now see walking their dogs, and I’m sure our furry friends are now becoming quite spoiled. I’m also seeing more families out when I walk. First, it was only the serious walkers - those I see every day and have for years. Now, I see some of them have companions and some are walking with the entire family! It’s nice to see both parents out walking with their kids; it’s something I rarely notice and is not considered the norm. Children are brought up in a completely different environment than those of us who were children of the 70’s and 80’s.

I look back on my childhood and I have such fond memories of climbing trees, being outside all day long, and having my mother call for me to come in since I would play all day. Whether we were riding our bikes, playing hopscotch - and boy did I make some really long hopscotch in my day! - or rollerskating with my white skates with the hot pink wheels, practicing my spins and skating backward…it seemed like there were endless things to do.

We played freeze tag, hide and seek, I practiced my gymnastics in the front yard, we swam all day in the summertime, we played in the street, but the main thing was that we played. Playing with friends or siblings allowed us to troubleshoot, problem solve, and work on our communication skills. We had more of a connection with each other, something that has been lost over the past couple of decades. Now with everything going on, is it a sign? Have we gotten so far away from the simple things in life that being outside seems foreign to a lot of people, especially for children who are not used to keeping themselves occupied without the aid of electronic devices?

I have truly been amazed by the growing number of people in my neighborhood walking, riding their bikes, jogging, and seeing kids play in the street. It’s things like this that make me happy, to see the increase of activity in many people. I mean, how many hours of TV can one possibly watch?

Many are staying home as advised and are now “forced” to play with their siblings, which I feel is a positive thing. It’s like we are going back to the beginning. Kids are learning to play with one another and communicate without devices. They are learning to look each other in the face when talking, see a smile, the crinkle in their nose, or the raise of an eyebrow.

I enjoy scanning FaceBook and seeing the fitness community do live classes from their living room or backyard and give helpful advice. We are having to learn to be creative in engaging those who attend our classes and reach out to those we hope might join in.

Another thing we are all keenly aware of is that we now have the time for the many projects we were once too busy to complete. I am finding this time to be extremely productive. I had a friend help me install a new irrigation system, so I started digging trenches. The thought of it and the actual task itself differ a great deal. My mind’s energy to get this accomplished is off the charts, whereas doing it - I feel it in my back, my neck, shoulders, arms, abs…but hey, I’m getting a full body workout! This may take me longer to accomplish, but I am getting it done with the time I have available.

The other thing that I finally got around to is updating my home office where I do my schoolwork, my work, all my fitness projects, everything. Interestingly, I like the smell of new furniture and I have to say I now feel so much more productive with a new desk and being closer to the window than I previously was. Funny how these simple things make me feel good, give me a sense of accomplishment, and have been a great way to exercise my mind, my body, and my perspective.

It is a scary time we are all facing, especially when you turn on the TV and watch the nightly news to see what is going on around the world. For me, my world operates by consistency. I still go to bed at the same time, I still wake up early, drink my coffee, have something for breakfast, and head out the door for a walk. Keeping to a schedule during this time is going to be a real test for all of us, so that we feel energized, well-rested, and ready to conquer the day.

This may also be the first time in history where much of the population is finally well-rested and getting the sleep they need. We are always in a sleep deficit due to busy schedules, and now that we are at home, we can rest easy, sleep in when our body is telling us we need more rest, and wake up without the loud alarm blaring in our ear.

Right now, the sky is the limit as we use our creative minds to make each day memorable and really appreciate those whom we share a life with (including our furry family members).

I have always felt that something positive comes out of something negative. I wish for a positive outcome in the midst of the negativity that is splashed across the headlines. I hope for people to come together as a community, to get back to the simple things in life we had decades ago, to remember how to stop and smell the roses, to appreciate the little things, and to take nothing for granted. The circumstances that are keeping us home may be unsettling to a lot of people, but I am doing what I can to project positivity to those who I communicate with and to send positive thoughts to those who are struggling.

It’s an interesting time…and for me, it’s now time to take my walk and see how many people I can spot today. I’m sure it’ll be more than yesterday.

-Charlene Tate

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663 W. 2nd Ave. Ste. 14  •  Mesa, AZ 85210  •   480-461-3888   •  info@FitnessFest.org