New Beginnings and Sneakers

Happy New Year ladies! I’m 2 for 2 with the gifts I’m giving myself this season and darn proud of myself. I laced my sneakers on Saturday and went for what I thought was a long walk. Sadly, the app on my phone recorded that I’d only taken half the number of steps that I’d logged while shopping with my daughter! Could shopping be better for me?

Halfway through the walk, my legs began to ache and my hip started throbbing. By the time I dragged my sorry butt home my bunion was screaming, my back hurt and my ego was sorely bruised. How did I get so out of shape? One lazy day at a time.

DSW sneakers on A Well Styled Life

Note to self…stylish sneakers may be comfy for wandering around but don’t cut it for aerobic walks on asphalt.

I hit the view from Sailor Jack's tavern

We drove to Benicia in the afternoon and sat by the water, soaking in the view. It never gets old to me. When we were chilled to the bone we stopped in Sailor Jack’s Tavern for a hot cup of tea to warm our bones.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life having tea at Sailor jack's tavern in Benicia CA
HAT similar | DENIM SHIRT similar | EARRINGS | SCARF similar

I appreciate your suggestions and encouragement on how you stay in shape and will keep you updated on my progress.

Thanks also for answering my survey. If you missed it, here it is. I’m reading through your feedback and will get back to you soon with updates.

Do you work out regularly?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!


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  1. I used to walk for almost an hour a day and try to do a yoga class a couple of times a week. That seems to have greatly declined since we moved my elderly mother-in-law from her hometown of 57 years to live near us. I am kept very busy taking her to numerous medical appointments as well as the hairdresser, eye specialist, audiologist, spectacle makers, etc. I also do most of her shopping, day to day cleaning though she has a weekly lady. She is very lonely and quite depressed so she often wants me to stay and talk and I now find it hard to fit in the exercise, do my job, run my house and do my commitment to Rotary. I am making a huge effort to get a walk in during the long evenings as the intense sun goes down and it gets a bit cooler but to really get me going, I have booked to walk the Camino from St Jean Pied du Port to Santiago this September/October. It will be 7 weeks of walking so I will have to be putting in lots of training in the months leading up to it. I hope that by that time she will have gained a circle of friends to keep her happier!
    Enjoy your walking. It is such a lovely way to exercise and doesn’t need you to get to a class on time, or to join an expensive gym and can be done anywhere in the World. Happy New Year.

    1. That sounds like an amazing challenge Mellisa!! Good for you. You’ve taken on a lot of extra work helping your mother in law. It’s so kind of you to help her that way but adds a lot of extra work to your day. It sounds like an evening walk will be very therapeutic for you. Caring for aging parents is rewarding but stressful. Take care of yourself, these are tough times. Happy New Year and best of luck on your walk!

  2. Anita Branin says:

    The best investment in yourself is investing in your health. Whatever it takes to get you on a good program and keep you motivated is money well spent. Nothing will make you look better (and younger) than a healthy, flexible, strong body. And it’s something that you can do at any age.

    I do Pilates twice a week and strength/ cardio/ endurance with a trainer twice a week, yoga once a week, and walking. I am a late-comer to exercise but even after three bouts of cancer I feel good( and I’m 68). I use a trainer because if I have an appointment at the gym I’ll keep it, but I find it hard to keep going otherwise. Kind of like going to an enjoyable workplace. I may not always want to go, but I always feel better when I leave.

    1. My girlfriend insists that having an appointment keeps her honest about exercising. Your regime is inspiring Anita! That’s great advice. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  3. Julie from Melbourne,Australia says:

    Great that you started with your exercise resolution.I agree that you need the right footwear but have you thought about getting your feet checked by a podiatrist,as you might need orthotics.Also,consider getting a sports chiro to check you out,especially re your hip pain.
    I walk my dogs every day but it’s more like a “stop and start” stroll! My main form of exercise is working out at the gym and I go about 5 times a week to use the machines and do my cardio training.I only started going to the gym in 2007 when I was hitting menopause and starting to put on weight around my middle.My main motivation was that I didn’t want to buy a new wardrobe of clothes!I also was motivated by vanity!I’ve had a few hiccups along the way and I changed gyms 6 month ago,which has reinvigorated me.My gym is very friendly and a 24 hour gym.The manager has gotten to know me and always helps me,as I go mostly when the gym is quiet,late morning and lunchtime.I love the way I feel after a workout and the feeling it gives me is addictive.I also I find I can eat what I want,within reason, and my weight is stable and where I want it.
    Find something to motivate you that will keep you on your chosen exercise regime.Best wishes and “no pain no gain”!Not too much pain though…..

    1. My hip problems are likely from when I fell 2 years ago and cracked me femur in two places, flattened the back of my femur top and tore my hip labrum. I was told I would need a hip replacement and I’ve been dodging that bullet ever since. I should have begun exercising then but kept making excuses. I hope to find a commitment to exercise like you have. Happy New Year Julie!!

      1. Julie from Melbourne,Australia says:

        Cheers Jennifer and thanks for replying.

  4. They say the best way to stick with an exercise program is to have a buddy. I have two that help me stick to a walking routine. Lily & Dolly take 4 x as many steps as I do per walk and I often have a hard time keeping up. Lucky they are tethered to me or I would never be able to keep up. ( L & D are my fur friends & exercise buddys)

    1. I agree Lesley. My Lucy doesn’t like to walk very far anymore so I take 2 walks. One slow, short one with her and a long one alone. A girlfriend would be great to walk with too. Happy New Year!

  5. Hi. Wish I could have purchased the Denim Shirt! Love it, Jen. Said it was not available. Let me know if you find another, similar. So, I have worked out regularly in the past. I have gained the same 30 lbs twice now. I’m 5’6 and usually way 130. I am 168 today! Ugh! I loved the blog today because I already had planned to move my body, starting now! My favorite exercise is to walk – A LOT! I love to walk outdoors anywhere and I do have a treadmill and use that, also. My plan is to walk a minimum of 30 Min a day and work into an hour. I am also going to check out Yoga this year and Zumba to see which one might work for me. My goal this year is all about “movement “. Mind, Body, Spirit!

    1. That’s a fabulous plan Lee! We’ll do it together. Happy New Year!!

  6. Kathleen O'Brien says:

    Oh, gosh! I love Benicia! Used to live there and still go regularly to visit with dear friends. Always a fun place to walk around and see the sights, Please get that foot looked at – when your feet hurt, it affects your whole body. I’m with you, one of the things I’ve already started doing is just moving (especially walking) more. Easy, inexpensive way to feel better and get some exercise.
    Happy New Year – let’s make it more stylish ladies!

    1. It’s an adorable little town full of character and charm. My feet have been giving me problems for many years. It’s so awful when they hurt. I think working excercise like walking into my habits will make the biggest difference. Like taking the stairs and parking furthest from the store. Happy New Year Kathleen!

  7. Sorry for the typo- I meant to say…there are folks who can find the right shoe…

  8. Consider being fitted by a professional for the correct exercise shoes. There are shoe stores who have folks who really can dins the right shoe and fit for you. A running shoe for walking may not be your best option.

    1. That’s just occurred to me Liz. I need a walking shoe. These are really comfy though so I’ll get use out of them. Happy New Year!

      1. Barbara S says:

        Try Forward Motion Sports; they’ve helped me (and years ago, my son who ran cross country) find the correct shoes for whatever activity you are doing. They take care of many local runners, but also help everyone with their unique foot issues. Good luck!

      2. That’s the store near me!! I’m goimg for a fitting. Thanks Barbara

  9. I walk our dogs for around 30 minutes per day, and have started walking to the local market instead of driving when I only need to pick up a few things. Am determined to do something for flexibility and strength this year! Happy New Year!

    1. I can get to my Market too. I need to do the same. Happy New Year Susan!!

  10. Sandy Andry says:

    I am 62 years old and I do work out. Twice a week I go to a yoga class and twice a week I do a weight lifting routine. (Each of these activities last approximately an hour.) Then I do an interval walk/run program for 40 minutes once a week. I also do 2 additional hours of cardio which is walking for me at a pace of 3.6 miles per hour. The weight routine was designed for me by a trainer, but I work out at home. I meet with the trainer every 4 months to chart my progress and measure body fat. For reference – I am 5′ tall and weigh 117 lbs.

    1. That’s awesome Sandy! I’m going to need some help getting in shape. Our personal trainers are sooo expensive. I love the fact that you’re doing it at home and then just check in with the trainer. That, I could afford. I do want to include yoga too because it’s so calming. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

  11. I’m 62, semi-retired, and over the last year and a half I have lost 25 pounds and maintained the loss for about 8 months. It feels like I finally have lost the “baby weight” now that my daughters are 24 and 26!
    I started lifting weights by working with a personal trainer at the beginning of my journey, so I now have a good set of exercises that I combine with lots of walking, bike riding, doing cardio at the gym 5 or 6 days a week, and aiming to get 10,000 steps daily. I feel so much better, and stronger — and I am convinced that the increased muscle from moving heavy stuff has helped with maintaining my weight. As an earlier commenter mentioned, being active is now part of my daily routine.
    When we travel we love to walk and walk and it brings so much pleasure to be able to do so without feeling too much effects — even had some 30,000 step days!
    Keep at it — you will notice your fitness and energy increase.

    1. Wow! 30,000 step days!! Just wow. Good for you. I aim to make movement part of my lifestyle so I can get half as fit as you. Congratulations on the weight loss. That’s so fabulous! Happy New Year Lisa and bravo.

  12. Jennifer, my insurance, now that I am 65, pays for all classes at a gym five minutes from my house. There’s such a great variety that I’m never lacking for one to do! The program is called Silver Sneakers and the classes run the gamut from seated chair exercise to kettlebell burn, with free body strength analysis and machine instruction if you prefer to exercise solo. I love group classes myself. I do that between spring, summer, and fall sessions of my OLLI fitness classes. They are such a bargain and can be as intense as you wish. This group meets through the Donovan Scholars (classses for over 65) through my local University. I work out at least an hour at least three days a week. It makes all the difference in the world in how clothes fit and I eat whatever I want. There are bargains out there without joining a gym!

    1. My husband has the Silver Sneakers program through our local 24 hour fitness. I’ve got 3 1/2 years until I qualify. It’s free! Medicare pays his monthly premium! I hadn’t thought of exercise programs through a university. Great tip. Thanks and Happy New Year Susan!!

  13. Happy New Year Jennifer. I’ve exercised consistently my entire adult life, and am happy to say at 63, I’m still healthy and active. I find that changing my routines is the best way to stay motivated. It also is best for your body when you mix things up as your muscles get used to the same movements. And another tip – get fitted for a good walking/running shoes that fit your feet properly. Best of luck.

    1. I think the verdict is in 🙂 I will go get properly fitted for shoes! I wish I’d stayed active like you did but at least I’ve started again. Thanks so much and Happy New Year Yvonne.

  14. You cracked me up! I read the first part about your walk to my daughter. Lol
    You need good supportive sneakers with a wide toe like New Balance. Your feet will thank you. Ease into long distances so you don’t hurt yourself. We always set a too aggressive workout to start.
    Good for you for starting the new year off right. ????
    Happy New Year to Everyone!????

    1. I’m always guilty of over doing them hurting myself. I used to be very fit so I push too hard. Wise advice Joanna! Thanks so much and Happy New Year!!

  15. Lots of good advice here. If I may add mine: 30 minute walks are a great starting point, but to continue to improve fitness, you’ll need to do more. I recommend DVDs, and specifically Jessica Smith. Here’s why: she gives excellent pointers on form, she’s motivating, and ( here’s what I really love), has her 60+ year-old mother doing a modified version of the workout. Also they don’t require a ton of space or equipment.She’s also on YouTube, sans her mom, but often her dog Peanut makes an appearance- very cute. Highly recommended!

    1. Thanks for the tip Elaine! I love the idea of not having to go to a gym to get fit. I’ve never heard of Jessica but will google her. I’ve got room in my home office to workout:) Happy New Year!!

  16. You say you used to do tapes religiously. Perhaps that is your best way of exercising. I also have feet and hip issues. Walking on concrete and asphalt hurt. I look for softer surfaces such as a treadmill at the gym or a dirt path or track outside. I even have a 125 step route I follow in my small home. My Fitbit reminds me to get 250 steps an hour if I have been sitting too long. My home path takes me over wood, linoleum and area carpet. For some reason it delights me that I have at-home options when the gym or weather don’t suit. I also wear a weighted vest while doing housework. Hopefully that helps to address the osteopenia issue. Audio books or music also pump me up. You have a lot of women pulling for you. Add me to that group!

    1. Thank you so much Linlee and Happy New Year! Having a route inside your home is ingenious! I need the weight bearing for my bones too. You’re so inspiring!!

  17. Exercise has become part of my life…like brushing my teeth…and it is HARD! I find it is a mind game. I am still working outside the home and get up at 5:30 in the morning to be in the gym by 6am. Some days I am dragging my…well you know what…but when I am done by 7am it is good to know that that part of my day is DONE. But Jennifer, the health benefits are amazing. Low blood pressure, low cholesterol, good heart rate…are all results for me and I am in my mid to late 50s. I ran my first half-marathon last spring. Thought I was going to die but a friend kept with me through training and race day. My hubby starting doing classes at the gym and is on half his medication. I sleep better and have no guilt if I reach for another glass of wine. Happy New Year! I enjoy your blog and wish you all the best in your journey for fitness.

    1. Happy New Year Wendy! I’d love to need less blood pressure medication. Good for you getting it out of the way first thing in the morning!! The sense of accomplishment must be terrific. Awesome

  18. I find it is easier to get a good walk in if I have a destination and purpose. Don’t know if you are close enough to town to be able to walk to the post-office, library, drugstore, dry cleaners etc. but I find that it helps motivate me if I run an errand on foot vs. just walking for exercise. Alternatively I find if I drive to a locale I’ve not toured on foot (a walk along a section of beach, through a public garden, a local trail or an interesting neighborhood) it gives me incentive to walk. As so many have mentioned strength training (weights) is even more beneficial than just getting in your steps for the day so you might want to download some weight training videos off youtube and set yourself up to do weight training 2-3 times a week from the comfort of your own home.

    1. Happy New Year Joan! I am close enough to walk to some shops. Now that I’ve begun walking they don’t seem so far away. Great idea. And the free weights at home would be so much easier to a program on the computer. I never remember what to do with them. Thanks for the suggestion.

  19. Keep at it, it will get easier! I exercise 6 days a week – Zumba on MWF and walking 45min to 1 houron the other days. I sometimes go to Pilates but I’m not faithful (I find it bit boring) Thereful, do whatever you like to do so you’ll stick to it. I have a couple of friends that walk with me that helps tremendously. Good luck & Happy New Year.

    1. Happy New Year Cyndi! Walking with others does make the trip seem much faster. I tried Zumba once and it was fun. I’ll
      Starting slowly but at least I’ve started. I have a long way to go:)

  20. Good for you, Jennifer, for getting started! Having the right footwear is key, and now you’ve done that. Maybe you need to ease into this if 30 mins is too much. You can always add time or even break it up to 2-15 min walks as you commit to a new routine.
    Yes, I do work out regularly, I am the Pure Barre fan who responded to your ask a couple weeks ago about what we all do. My studio is closed today for the holiday so I am about to fire up the app on my iPad for my own at-home class. Four times per week, 50 minute classes has kept me a full size smaller since starting this routine 2+ years ago. I am more toned and I feel so much stronger doing it. I know that it is preparing me well for physical challenges with aging.
    Happy New Year, hang in there because it is so worth it!
    Congrats on getting started, it gets easier whatever your rout e.

    1. Happy New Year Deanne! I looked up the Pure Barre classes after you mentioned them and they look great and intense. I’m happy I’ve started something. It was all too easy to do nothing. I’m also beginning to choose stairs over elevators. I’ve waited so long to start I need to be careful. Thanks for your suggestions!!

      1. Start slow, and when that feels good, you can gradually build up your time and routine. You will feel so ch a sense of accomplishment!

  21. Happy New Year, Jennifer! Did you swing your arm that was holding the phone? Some fitness trackers don’t register your steps if you don’t! My sister and I walked all over a big shopping area the day after Christmas, and she had her hands in her pockets because it was so cold. Her tracker wasn’t keeping up. We did over 10,000 steps…not bad for someone who was in a wheelchair from August to October. I have always loved working out. My orthopaedic surgeon told me my recovery has gone so well because I was in such good shape … for a woman my age! Ouch!!

    1. Happy New Year Roxanne! I keep my phone in my back pocket. I’d love to think I’d walked more steps than it registered. Shopping does make time fly. Good for you!! That is an ouch comment from your surgeon. Also a compliment. Way to go you!

  22. Gail Schwartz says:

    I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own, except for occasional walking, so I joined a gym and signed up for training twice a week. My trainer gets this 70 year old moving! It’s only 15 minutes from my house….no more excuses.

    1. Happy New Year Gail! Good for you. If I stall out I’ll be joining a gym too. I just wish they were more affordable.

  23. Carol Cartwright says:

    Good morning from a very cold Tennessee!
    I love to walk; however, with an expected high of 25 degrees today, I’m staying inside and reading.
    As always you look great.
    Wishing you a marvelous 2018.

    1. Happy New Year Carol! I’d stay inside with those temps too:) Have fun.

  24. Happy New Year! Last February I started going to a personal trainer & she has changed my life! I’m 64 with typical aches & pains but she listens to me if an exercise feels too hard for my knees etc. Finding the right trainer is key! I’m stronger than I’ve been in 15 years & i have lost 25 lbs. Interestly enough, she uses 80% exercises that do not require machines so I can replicate most of them at home. I’m looking forward to another year of exercising & toning.

    1. Happy New Year Judy! My daughter swears by her personal trainer too. Bravo for you keeping at it and losing 25 pounds!! That’s fabulous.

  25. Rita Loehr says:

    I have been a walker and hiker for almost 40 years. I am 66. I walk between 5-7 miles most days. 5 of those days I usually am pushing 85 pounds of grandsons in a double stroller in hillyAustin Tx. That is a great work out! I also swim 3-4 times a week and work out with free weights. It is just part of my lifestyle, like brushing teeth, eating healthy etc. I am blessed with good health, but also think my lifestyle helps with the good health. I keep my 3 and 5 year old grandsons 50 hours a week and will be adding another one to the mix in March. They keep me focused and young at heart!

    1. Happy New Year Rita! That’s inspiring. Bravo! I’m sure your lifestyle has a lot to do with your health and stamina. Congrats on the new grandchild. That’s so wonderful. You’re blessed to spend so much time with them.

  26. Jennifer,
    Try a some light yoga stretches before/after your walk. I used to have back issues when I walked but doing just five minutes of simple stretches alleviated that problem.
    Keep up the great work. I really enjoy your posts.

    1. Happy New Year Dee! That’s a smart idea. I’ve been doing it after but before is just as important! Thanks for the reminder.

  27. Best of luck with your exercise programme, but perhaps see a podiatrist about your bunion. I wore useless walking shoes and ended up requiring a steroid shot in my big toe. Take it slow and steady and you will build up your stamina, hip pain notwithstanding. Get a fitbit and you will be surprised how it inspires you to do more, I try and walk 10 – 15 kms 4 to 5 days a week, but the weather is too hot now, so the walking has been replaced by a 45 minute swim in my pool most days.

    1. Happy New Year Susan! I’ve been ignoring this painful toe as long as I can. I had 2 bunion surgeries in the other foot and the results are still not good. Steroids are magical but I’m afraid to go down that road on this bunion. We’ll see. I may have to! Swimming is great exercise.

  28. Good morning and Happy New Year! I have started working out or walking or both several times and I am good at the beginning but struggle to stay motivated as life and timing always gets in the way. Today, I am trying Yoga with a tape I ordered for cold days when the gym is closed as well. The aches and pains you mention are often a challenge, as is lack of sleep for me, but this year, the sleep issue has finally been resolved (my husband is now using a C-Pap machine), so I am hoping my new feeling of being more rested will help! Here’s to a new day and a new attitude!

    1. Happy New Year Linda! Tapes are a great idea. I used them religiously in my 30’s when the kids were little. Glad your husband got that machine. Sleep apnea can be loud, I know. Here’s to a good night sleep!

  29. You are doing exactly what you should do…just move…starting small is a good thing. I cannot say enough about strength training. It has turned my bone scans around and kept me off Osteoporosis medications. I cannot say that I love it…but I have to do my class two days a week and then it makes a difference. Good for you beginning a program.

    1. You’re so good about excercising Pam, you’ve inspired me to start. Thanks my friend. Happy New Year!

    2. Pamela, I hope Jennifer doesn’t mind me using her blog to ask you a question. I am interested in knowing what strength training exercises you are doing for your osteoporosis? I have it in my lower spine and want to avoid medications.

  30. Carole Huet says:

    I do indoor cycling class, weight training classes, Zumba, and yoga. With walking you are probably getting enough cardio, but I do recommend the yoga. Just hav to find the right studio and level for yourself. Weights you could do at home. Zumba is fun, just have to find a good teacher. Good luck.

    1. I do have some free weights at home. Somewhere. Probably under the bed. I always enjoy yoga when I go so will have to try and get myself out to some classes. I don’t know why it’s such a bother to drive for exercise but it always feels that way. Happy New Year Carole!

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