By Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., and Joyce Hendley, EatingWell
You probably know why you should exercise more. Weight management and stress relief are just two advantages of the many advantages of staying active. But finding the time and motivation to stay in shape can be tricky.
Here’s the good news: You don’t need to buy a gym membership to reap the benefits of daily exercise. Try lacing up your walking shoes instead. These five tips can help you get out the door and moving:
1. Always be ready. Keep a pair of walking shoes and socks at work and by the door at home, so an impromptu stroll is easy.
2. Dress right. Choose loose, comfortable clothing that gives you plenty of room to move your arms and legs. A good pair of walking or running shoes, with socks, is also a must. They don’t have to be expensive–but don’t skimp on comfort to save a few pennies, either. (Just think of walking shoes as your cheapest form of health insurance.) Replace your shoes when they become worn down.
3. Enrich the experience. Listen to your favorite music while you work out–research suggests it will help you stick with your regimen longer. Or try talk radio, podcasts or audiobooks. You can also make your walks a destination in themselves, by trying a new course every once in a while–perhaps a local park, lake path or arboretum instead of your usual neighborhood walk.
4. Mall-walk. Indoor walking eliminates the “bad-weather” excuse and it’s a great place to meet a friend and socialize as you move. To avoid temptations to buy at the stores (not to mention the fiendishly aromatic cinnamon buns at the food court), leave your wallet and credit cards behind.
5. Find a walking partner. Besides having someone to talk to and make the walk more interesting, a partner helps make you more accountable. You’ll be less likely to skip a walk if you know someone’s waiting for you. If you feel unsafe or self-conscious walking alone, a partner can make all the difference. Need help finding a partner? Check your local mall or neighborhood recreation center for walking-club information.
(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.)