Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What if you're starting at the VERY beginning? (Two tips to keep it interesting)

Stroll down the Hummingbird and
Butterfly Trail, Chihuahuan
Desert Nature Center.
Fort Davis, Texas

Some days there's nothing harder than peeling yourself off the couch, deciding to move, then putting on shoes and lacing them up, right?  So the challenge is to make it interesting.

If you're at the very beginning of a fitness practice, and even a stroll is an effort, one part of the equation is really easy.   There are LOTS of wonderful places that are very, very interesting near your home, so plan to build them into your exercise plan. 

Tip 1:  Invite a friend, your kids, your spouse to take a stroll with you.  The company will keep you going, the conversation will distract you from your effort.  Suddenly, you're not exercising, you're socializing.  (Same thing goes with running; see our recent entry about Sarah's #3MomsRunning group!)

Tip 2:  Pick a really pretty place for your walking workout...if you're just getting started, try for an outing once a week. Botanical gardens, historic sites,short trails in urban or rural parks are great places. And many are FREE. They aren't "fitness" places per se, so if you're a little bashful about getting out among more seasoned athletes or getting lapped by youngsters wearing spandex, then a local garden or historic site may be a perfect fit for you. The places pictured here have outdoor grounds (in the case of the David Davis Mansion, there's just a large yard and a small garden) or trails of less than a mile. Sure, you can walk around your neighborhood and that's GREAT, but sometimes the distraction of nature, beauty, or history is just what you need.

So, you may not yet be up to a run or even  a jog.  But the fresh air of an outdoor stroll will invigorate, and getting out in a new place (away from your daily routine) will keep it interesting.  Schedule it on your calendar so you can look forward to it.  And pat yourself on the back for taking your new fitness practice seriously! 

Keystone Heritage Park
El Paso Desert Botanical Garden
El Paso, Texas
David Davis Mansion, Bloomington, Illinois
(yes, even a good place for a stroll in winter!)

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