Walking Class

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Today was the last day of my walking class. I needed it to get my phys ed credit; I transferred from a school that used half credits for PE, and Gallaudet uses whole credits. So I took walking as a summer class; it met 2 hours/day, 5 days/week, for three weeks.

I picked walking because it was something I knew I could do. I’ve been walking almost my whole life, so I wouldn’t need to learn anything new for this class! I’m also really out of shape, so walking would be something I could do without overtaxing my body. Most of the time in class was spent walking, of course, but most days the teacher also told us a little bit about walking techniques and fitness. Fitness was emphasized throughout the three weeks of the course; we learned about safe exercising, what exercise can do for your body, and so forth. We also had our body composition tested – mine confirmed what I already knew: I am extremely overweight, have virtually no muscle tone, and am not flexible at all. Nothing was a big surprise, but it is kind of disappointing.

As I mentioned, we did a lot of walking for class. We walked over 30 minutes every day, and most days it was more like 45 minutes or an hour. We walked around the Gallaudet “oval” and also around MSSD, and we took field trips to the National Arboretum and the Mall downtown. We learned to use walking sticks, which I thought were pretty cool, but it’s hard to have a conversation with your partner or use your pager when you’ve got sticks in both hands.

The class was basically great, but one thing did bother me. Today, after I finished the final exam, the teacher said he wanted to talk to me. He told me he had enjoyed having me in class and he hoped I’d keep walking. Then he told me about his adult daughter, who used to be very overweight and is now very skinny; he said she took all the weight off in 8 months using diet and exercise. I smiled and nodded when he told me, but inside I was thinking “hey, you’re calling me fat!” Come on, there is not a single fat person alive who doesn’t know they’re fat and doesn’t know exactly how to fix it. Trust me, every fat person is very aware of their weight. What confused me even more, though, was that he was telling me this after he spent three weeks emphasizing fitness! Over the past year or so, I’ve been trying to accept that losing weight is nice, but being physically fit is what’s really important – looking good is awesome, but being healthy is better! So to hear about his daughter kind of turned me off a little…I know he meant well, of course, but it was just kind of odd for that to be the last thing he said.

Anyway, he says our grades will be posted by Monday. I think I’ll get an A, because I showed up for every class (the other two people missed two classes each) and I did well on the tests and my walking. But even more important than the A is that I developed my muscles such that long walks don’t hurt anymore!

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