Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pedestrian lifestyle fitness in full effect on the streets of Philadelphia

I relocated a little more than a month ago from Albuquerque, NM, to Philadelphia, PA. With the move came a dramatic shift in lifestyle. I traded in my truck for a sturdy pair of shoes, a mountain bike and a transpass. I'm finally living the pedestrian life, and I couldn't be happier! I mean, what's not to be happy about? By changing from a motorized to a pedestrian lifestyle I've already lost nearly 15 pounds!

I get tons of exercise just maneuvering through my day-to-day life. I ride my bike to work at least twice a week and other days I take the subway - which means taking several brisk walks and at least six flights of stairs.

Getting around on foot - walking, taking stairs and biking - is fit fun!

Living in a city like Philadelphia, you get a lot of exercise on stairs. For example, I live on the third floor of a row-home; the kitchen is on the first floor and the laundry room is in the basement. On a regular morning I take about 8 flights of stairs (up and down) before I even get out the front door. If I do laundry before work, that adds another 9 flights. Also, I take the stairs at work and anywhere else I go - no elevators or escalators for me!

I get a lot of exercise biking, too. On my Tuesday commute, I ride seven miles round trip to one of my teaching gigs and four miles round trip to another gig. I also ride my bike to go to the grocery store - Trader Joe's is another four-mile trip. Plus, I'm riding more and more on the weekends. I started with 10-mile rides for fun, then upped that to 15. Last weekend I did a 20-mile bike ride, and this weekend I'm planning to do between 25 and 35 miles. I'm posting about my bike rides on my blog Man of Merit and plan to begin posting more about bike commuting at MyLifeInMegalopolis.

Scene from my morning bike commute - South Philly to North Philly
On top of all this "lifestyle" fitness, I go to the gym a couple of days a week for strength training. I had not lifted weights for several months and was shocked at how weak I felt on my first few workouts. But I'm getting stronger with every workout, so I'm sure I'll be back up to where I was a year ago within the next month or so.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention - I'm still hiking! This is by far my favorite activity, and I try to get out to the Wissahickon Gorge at least once every week for a hike of at least five miles. This weekend I'm planning on doing the 8.5-mile Yellow Trail. And once a month my goal is to get to a regional state parks to enjoy longer, more strenuous hikes with some moderately significant elevation gain. (I record my adventures on these and other hikes on my blog, HikeyHikey!)

Well, there you have it: I'm more active than ever before, and for the first time in my life the majority of my exercise comes from changes in my lifestyle. I love being a pedestrian in Philadelphia, and look forward to reporting to you soon about further weight loss success. Thanks as always for reading! Staying accountable to my #fitfam helps keep me in line and on track with my goals.

Check out my progress as a Philadelphia pedestrian here.

Brian Schwarz is an award-winning journalist whose career was derailed by super obesity. He fought his way back to health - losing 165 pounds in the process of his "fit-life journey". A professional communicator by trade and activator by nature, Brian's personal mission is to inspire others live their fullest lives. Follow Brian on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.