From running to walking as exercise for my body

From running to walking as exercise for my body.

From running to walking as exercise for my body

In my very early years sport or fitness weren’t very important to me but that changed when I was in my teens.

Then I played soccer, rugby league, rugby union, cricket, golf, squash and while I gained numerous accolades and things it never really achieved much for me long term. I also ran for a long time too but I found it so difficult to do and never truly enjoyed it. Now I have gone from running to walking as exercise for my body, why?

I remember when I was 14 years old in high school a teacher commenting on how fast I could run. I had never really run before this. I was all of a sudden noticed. I went from being a ‘nobody’ at school to a guy that could run fast and for a long time, a ‘somebody’. I gained extra attention and liked what that did for me.

It was like running became the answer to any problem I had. At that time in my working and personal life, I felt like I was always under pressure. Running relieved that pressure for a moment. In a life of so much pressure I was happy for the moment of relief running gave me.

As I grew older any time I had a problem I would run. I am putting on weight; run. I can’t sleep; run. I am frustrated; run. I had an argument with my girlfriend; run. I hate my life; run. It seemed like running had become the answer to many things.

The only thing was I actually didn’t enjoy running at all, not one bit. Every time I ran I had to convince myself why I was doing it. The ‘why’ always overrode the part in me that was telling me how much it actually hurt. I would push, and try, and think, or just go somewhere else in my mind whenever I ran. I did this so I didn’t have to feel my body. My body was in constant pain, my knees and back in particular. As I was growing older I knew that these things were going to catch up to me.

It became pretty obvious I was using running to literally run from my problems. I knew at some stage those problems would catch up to me, and then what would I do? I couldn’t run forever.

At first I just stopped - no running and no exercise at all. Almost like I was saying, “Well running didn’t work, so not running has to be the answer!” This went on for a couple of years and I could see and feel how my body changed.

I then reached a point where I chose to deal with my weight, frustration etc, and not run from them. I looked at my eating habits and the way I was with all things. I got the support I needed and for me this has been a gradual process; there was no quick fix.

Now, I no longer run but I walk and this has brought about a huge difference.

I walk on the treadmill at the gym. I have a few walks that I play with at the gym:

  • There is a slow walk that I do with the intention of feeling my body. I love this type of walk when I am feeling tired or sensitive.

  • There is a faster walk with a fixed goal and direction where I use time or distance as a goal to walk to when I am feeling a bit off or scattered. This walk gives me a purpose and seems to pull all the scattered or off feelings back into place.

  • There is also a more intense walk for when I am feeling great and just want to feel my body and see what it can do. This is a great walk to confirm how I am feeling and really celebrate it.

I feel so free; once I was driven by the thought “I have to exercise”, “I have to run”, but now I don’t because I can feel how exercise and walking supports me to live. I find if I get lost in my day or am feeling unsteady about what is happening around me, I can go back to this walk and feel strong again. It is like a building point that is now locked in my body that I can go back to when I need to.

I never really connected my body to exercise. Exercise was something I did for many reasons like:

  • people say you have to
  • to look better
  • to have relief from my life etc.

Since I have started connecting my body to the exercise there has been a massive difference. My body responds quicker and easier to the exercise I am doing.

It is like at times I was using my body to exercise but now I am using exercise for my body.

Going from running to walking as exercise for my body has made an enormous difference to my overall fitness. Now my walk or exercise is no longer something I do, but more it is something that gives back to me.


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  • By Ray Karam, Diploma in Policing, President Ballina Chamber of Commerce, Business Owner

    Multiple business owner and former NSW Police officer. Lives with his wife and 5 beautiful children, loves people and being in the community. President of the Ballina Chamber of Commerce.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd