Deciding to take a walk can be impulsive or orchestrated; it doesn’t require an investment in a lot of gear other than comfortable walking shoes and it can be done almost anytime. On any given day in Seven Lakes West, someone is walking alongside our roadways, down its side streets and forest paths; serious walkers taking long strides at a quick pace, leisurely strollers, and a plethora of dog walkers.
Among the multitudes, there is one seemingly ubiquitous figure, like Forrest Gump; he’s everywhere. We’ve all seen him. He walks, head down, arms folded, roaming within and without the Seven Lakes West community. Neighbors frequently comment, “Hey, I see that guy everywhere,” “I just saw him yesterday over by the back gate, “I saw him clear over by Beacon Ridge.” or “Who is that guy always walking?”
His name is Allen Meadors, a resident of Seven Lakes West, and he does walk – – a lot. Allen logs about 60 – 70 miles a week and averages 4200 miles yearly. Extreme walking is a routine he’s incorporated into his lifestyle, interrupted only by some post-retirement work-related obligations.
Allen, like many, is subject to a low metabolism. When asked why he walks, he answers, “I like to eat.” For thirty years, he worked out in a gym for an hour and a half every day after work and remained active in sports but could not lose weight.In 2016, after retirement, he jogged three, four, maybe five miles a day, but entering his sixties and not wanting to risk injury, running didn’t seem the best option. So, he thought he might slow down to a walking pace but walk further. So he’s upped his game to walking ten miles daily, only missing a day here and there. In doing that, something incredible happened. He began losing weight, about 1 /2 a pound a day. From April to August, he went from 225 pounds to 165 pounds leveling off at that weight without a change in his eating habits.
If he ever doubts that the weight loss is attributable to walking, he is reminded when his walking routine is suspended. Occasionally, Allen is required to travel, and during his travels, he continues to exercise, utilizing gyms, but it doesn’t fend off weight gain. He may be gone eight weeks out of six months and will quickly put on ten pounds. But the weight melts away once he is home and back to his regular walking routine.
According to his Fitbit, he’s averaged 4200 to 4300 miles a year for the last six years, the equivalent of walking across the contiguous United States one and a half times yearly. That much walking requires a lot of shoe leather, and Allen alternates between three or four different shoe brands.
Allen greatly admires the craft of storytelling, and to pass the time, while walking, he listens to audiobooks. At his last count, he has gone through 300 audiobooks, sometimes repeating a book he has forgotten he’s already heard. So when you see him slightly hunched over, head down, he is likely rapt in a good book.