Getting motivated to exercise is easier to do some days more than others. Need tips for walking motivation? Massachusetts-based Mark Fenton, host of the popular PBS Series, “America’s Walking," shares some suggestions for overcoming common roadblocks.
I can’t get started: Start small, says Fenton. Head out the door and down the street for just five minutes. The return trip makes it a 10-minute walk. Work those walks into your schedule – get ready 10 minutes early and take a stroll before you get in your car to go to the store or the office – and you’re on your way.
Not today: Once you’re in the habit of walking more, Fenton says, it’s time to build it into a routine. If you’re at work, you can walk to another floor to use the restroom, pace while talking on a cordless headset or reply to one of every 10 e-mails in person. From home, you can walk to the post office or corner, or to a co-worker’s to carpool. “You'd be amazed how many things might be within a 10 to 20 minute walk – video rental place, corner store, your kid's best friends or playing fields – that you normally, instinctively drive to,” he says.
It’s too cold/wet/hot: Nothing spoils your walking motivation faster than bad weather. Walking the climate-controlled halls of the local mall, or on a treadmill at the gym, may be an option. For those who prefer the great outdoors, Fenton says it’s all about the accessories: for wet or wintry weather, choose underwear that wicks moisture away, fleece for insulation and water-repellent outerwear, plus gloves and a hat. Those in warmer climates can plan walks at cooler times such as morning or evening, or choose a shady park or one on the water, which can lower the temperature by 10 degrees or more. With a bottle of water, a broad-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen, you’re set to go. And if it rains? Take your umbrella.
I’m too achy: Pick a point where the aches are on the ebb and do it anyway – but focus on the outcome. Research and anecdotal evidence alike have proven, Fenton says, that physical activity increases energy levels. “You’re guaranteed to be more energized after a 20-minute, low intensity stroll than you were before,” he says. If walking causes pain (not just soreness), stop and talk to your doctor or physical therapist.
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