Karen Mordi knows firsthand how a simple lifestyle change can effect your quality of life and your health. Two years ago, this 69-year-old retired nurse from Chicago began a daily walking regimen on the suggestion of her neighbor JoEtta Galbraith, and it has vastly improved her health and stamina.
They began with one mile the first week and gradually increased to about 4 miles every day.
At first, I couldnt even walk up my driveway without stopping to catch my breath, said Mordi, who struggles with her weight and suffers from osteoarthritis of the knees. JoEtta kept me motivated by waiting at the end of my driveway every morning. There were many times when I tried talking myself out of it, but I knew it would be beneficial to my health.
Six months into her walking program, she entered the Durango Sports Club Femme 10K walk/run.
I didnt think I could do it, Mordi said.
When Galbraith stepped behind her at the finish so that she wouldnt be last, she was surprised to discover there were others still finishing.
Early this year, they decided to challenge themselves by signing up for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte, N.C., a 39.3-mile walk held over two days. Because Galbraith is a breast cancer survivor, they felt it was an excellent cause and began training and raising the $1,800 required for each participant.
We were committed and decided we could train all summer and be ready by the October 22-23, 2011, walk dates, Mordi said.
The women spent the majority of the summer walking all over Durango to prepare for the event. They walked many neighborhoods, Florida Road, the Animas River Trail and almost every day in their own neighborhood. Every weekend they added mileage to their weekly long walk, finally working up to 22 miles as the event dates approached.
I always wore a pedometer, carried water, socks, Band-Aids, ID and snacks, Mordi said. Friends and co-workers provided encouragement and suggestions throughout my training. I was truly blessed from all the support I received from everyone.
The Avon Walk is a two-day event in which participants walk a marathon (26.2 miles) the first day and follow up the second day with a half marathon (13.1 miles). Mordi and Galbraith, along with their teammates Ginger Williamson and Jacky Aebersold, collectively raised $12,000.
It is a worthy cause that supports breast cancer programs nationwide, Mordi said. It would be great to see breast cancer eradicated in my lifetime.
Mordis advice for others who want to improve their health is to find someone to walk with, set attainable goals and stick with it.
Having friends to walk with was very important, she said. ... I tried listening to music, but it wasnt as much fun as talking with friends. Committing to walking each day and starting with low mileage helped me continue with the walking.
I plan to continue walking at least four days per week throughout the winter. Walking works for me, and I have experienced good health, weight loss and a sense of pride.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com.