From the Fallout Shelter

Penn State Harrisburg's Literary Arts Magazine

How Walking Changed My Life by Ashleigh Cummings

I never thought in my life I would be able to write a blog post like this. Growing up I never thought I would have to. When I was a child, I was never overweight. I had a very high metabolism rate and was regularly exercising by being a competitive dancer. When my family moved to Pennsylvania when I was eight, I stopped dancing but I was still a very active child. I t wasn’t until high school that I started gaining weight. It was always slow but it was also steady. I weighed twenty pounds more when I graduated high school than when I started. Now that I am graduating college, I have gained about twenty-five more pounds.

COVID- 19 took a lot of things from me. I was supposed to take my first trip out of the country on a school Spring Break trip. Two days before we were set to leave we got an email saying all Penn State trips taking place out of the country had been cancelled. I also had been looking forward to being the first person to walk across a stage as a college graduate. The fact that it would be at the Giant Center made it just that more special. I now get to graduate on Zoom. Last week, my job called to tell me that I had been furloughed. So, what does this have to do with my exercising and weight? Well, five days after my birthday I decided to take my dog on a three-mile walk. It let me think and clear my head and honestly was the most fun I had had after everything started. I began to do it everyday and noticed I was losing weight. It then dawned on me. “I have nothing else to do, why not just…walk away the pounds?”

In a month I have lost ten pounds and have lengthened my walk route. I continue to do it every day rain or shine and now look forward to it. I haven’t kept up well with my college assignments but I have walked every day. It is the only think keeping me sane in this crazy world. I’d always heard about exercising making people feel good and I’d never understood it until now. As hard as it may be to start walking, it goes by faster than I can imagine and I feel extremely accomplished when I am finished. I hate exercising but walking has changed my life.

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