Walk this way

I’ve been thinking about different ways I can commit to an exercise program. They say that you stick to a workout better if it’s something you enjoy. When I’ve actually done exercise, I’ve found that to be true. But these days, let’s be honest, it can’t just be something I like. It needs to be quick and easy. I don’t mean that I won’t put in any effort. I mean more that I don’t have time (or without a babysitter the ability) to go to a gym, so it has to be something I can do either with the kid or on my own where it fits in to my schedule.

Yesterday I participated in a Weight Watchers 5K walk. What struck me was how different everyone there was. Anyone who has done a race can tell you that the participants are usually active and fit, and many times younger. The WW walk had all ages, all sizes, all fitness ranges. And everyone was doing the same thing: walking.

Walking. I know, I’m acting like it was just invented, but I swear it just hit me. I can walk at some point almost every day, and I do like it. Now, I like long slower walks better than short fast ones, but that can be a good thing. When I lived and worked in D.C., I used to regularly walk 3 miles home from work. It was a slow walk that took an hour and a half, but I loved it. OK, so things are different now. Still work in D.C. but living in the ‘burbs so that walk is not an option. I can walk in my neighborhood, but man is that boring. What I loved about walking before was walking through the city–seeing the people and cars, cutting through a different street and seeing a whole new world, the sites, the sounds, the action. I’m clearly not going to get that in my across-the-street-from-a-milk-farm neighborhood. But never fear, I have a plan.

Weekdays are the toughy because I have a long commute and go straight from work to picking up my son. By the time he goes to bed, I’m about ready to hit the sack myself. So what about a lunchtime walk around the city I love? Well, I rarely take lunch, usually eating at my desk. Also, it’s about to be summer, which in D.C. means hot, humid and stifling. But a-ha, I found a loophole. Mornings.

Now I get so little sleep as it is that I am not talking about getting up at 5. But, I do get to work at 8 (or sometimes earlier). I have started taking 20-30 minute walks as soon as I get in. It’s less than the time I would take for lunch, so I’m not cheating the office. It’s early enough that it’s not to hot and the best part is that I still get my city fix! OK, so this is only a slow walk but a slow walk is better than no walk, right?

On the weekends, I do hard exercises – maybe a DVD, Zumba, or yes, a boring walk. To that end, I think if I update my iPod, it may help keep me motivated when I see the same cookie cutter house again and again.

So what do you think? Two days of good hard exercise and another couple days of at least getting my butt out of the chair. Let’s start small. I’m committed to doing it this week and see how it goes. I did hard walks Saturday and Sunday, and a 25 minute slow walk today. It’s supposed to be a rainy week but I AM going to find a way to make this work.

In honor of my newfound dedication, here’s a throwback to the song that got me through my hump in Saturday’s exercise.

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