Articles : Excuses, Excuses...
We Can't, Didn't, Shouldn'tBut Promise to Start
By Rebecca Johnson
Read on for the walking version of "My dog ate it" as we shoot
down your most common excuses for not walking, with help from
Mark Fenton, author of Walking Magazine's Complete
Guide to Walking for Health and Fitness.
1. I haven't walked or exercised regularly since junior high
Well, it's about time you did, isn't it? You're one of millionsthe
one-third of all Americans who are putting their lives in serious
danger because they live sedentary lifestyles. "Overweight and
physical inactivity account for more than 300,000 premature
deaths each year in the U.S., second only to tobacco-related
deaths," warns Jeffrey P. Kaplan, director of the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The good news? Like quitting smoking, it's relatively easy to
overcome these risks. A recent study by the Cooper Institute
for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas found that even small
lifestyle changes- such as walking around a soccer field during
a child's game, or walking around the airport during a layover-
significantly improve cardiorespiratory fitness and blood pressure.
"The beauty is that these changes are simple to do and they
add up to an important health difference," noted Andrea Dunn,
project director of the study.
Chances are the shape you were in back in junior high or high
school when you were more active- is a lot better than the shape
you're in now. Even if you hated gym class, there are plenty
of other physical activities you can take up that are fun and
also beneficial. Walking is one of the easiest to do because
it allows you to accomplish several things at once. Incorporate
walking in your daily schedule to get to work, walk your kids
to school, to do errands, or to visit a friend.
2. I get bored by walking.
So make it interesting! There are plenty of ways to inject fun
into walking and keep yourself motivated.
Walking doesn't have to be a solitary event (although some people
do prefer the peace and quiet of a solo walk.) You can turn
walking into a social happening by making walking dates with
friends, or even by combining walking with another fun occasion:
walking to the movies or a concert or sports event, for example.
You might also want to join a local walking club or team full
of other companion walkers to help keep you motivated to walk.
Check with your city's parks and recreation department, hospital,
or even the sporting goods store where you purchased your walking
shoes. Or click here
to search for a club in your area.
Vary your routine. Walk at different times of day. Walk with
different friends and neighbors. Walk your dog, or a friend's
dog. Explore new walking routes. If you always walk on a trail,
try heading downtown or pick out an interesting neighborhood
to see new sights as you stroll by. Take headphones and listen
to music or a book-on-tape.
Plan a special long walk- a hike or visit to the beach. If you're
really ambitious, you might want to plan and train for an extended
walking journey: a walking tour of a foreign country or city,
a religious pilgrimage, hiking the Appalachian Trail or a national
Train for a specific
one else can MAKE you walk.
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Open our printable walking diary and use it to record your progress.