Just walk. Two simple little words. Sounds easy, right? Television exercise gurus want you to think that it is the simplest thing in the world to do. Compared to some other types of exercise programs, I guess it is. But how do you fit extra walking into an already over-crowded schedule? You know what I mean. Getting the kids ready for school. Getting yourself ready for work. Keeping the pantry stocked. Socializing with family and friends. You are just plain busy. The truth is, however, all you have to do is start. After that, you prioritize what feels good. And regular walking DOES feel good.
How do I know this? All of my life I have battled my weight and have tried to find an exercise routine that worked and worked for me. I tried all of the diet plans and various types of exercise. I just couldn’t stick with any of them long-term. Sure, the weight usually came off but I almost always became a diet statistic and reverted back to my old eating and exercise habits. (Over 90% of dieters eventually go off of their diets and gain the weight back. Most even gain additional pounds back. Not very encouraging!) The problem was, I was doing all of the work for the wrong reasons. It was very restrictive and I was miserable. Then I discovered a secret. An exercise (and eating) plan has to feel good to become a way of life. It also has to fit into your daily schedule. Walking does just that. It also has so many other benefits. It clears your mind and improves your health. It can help wake you up (amazing for this night owl) or give you the energy to accomplish more. It can also help open your eyes to what is around you. And it is free! You don’t have to purchase expensive exercise equipment either. There are even alternative places available indoors to walk during the winter months. (Think the large chain stores and or school gymnasiums.)
But how do you get started? One step at a time. Start with walking 10 minutes several times a day. Health experts say that exercising for just 30 minutes a day can greatly improve one’s health. The saving grace is that it doesn’t have to be all at once. You can space the exercise out over the course of the day and the benefits will be the same. Motivation techniques vary from person to person. Find what works for you. I, personally, have found that once I start walking, I want to keep going. But on those days when it is difficult to begin, I remind myself of how lucky I am to be able to walk. And I think about all of the people who would give anything to be able to do so. Finding a support system also helps. It could be a walking partner or group, or just someone else with whom you can share your goals. It also helps if you give up the idea of perfection. Do the best you can and enjoy yourself. Remember that nobody is perfect. For those of you who enjoy on-line support, feel free to share your tried and true tips below and I will post them on The Simple Heart of Life. Together, we can accomplish great things! And believe it or not, walking truly is one of life’s simple pleasures.