If you haven’t heard all the hype about how walking improves your health, you are likely some sort of sea urchin or micro-organism without the benefit of television, radio, internet, magazines, books, or Oprah. Being a non-urchin, I too fell prey to the hype and began walking at least 4 times a week, 30 minutes at a time. Unfortunately, I added this goal the third week of the year. When it’s cold. And windy.
I thought it would take a lot of self control to stick to this, and so I decided a reward program was in order. For every four days of walking, I would earn a CD. So, I began.
Thus far, I have been relatively successful. I have weathered the cold and the wind, and I am enjoying the occasional whiff of spring these days. But I have learned a few lessons along the way which I have graciously decided to pass on to you, Constant Reader:
#1: There are not that many good CD’s available these days. My first few purchases were great: I got an excellent Neil Young and Crazy Horse release “Live at Fillmore East”, and the new Radiohead CD “In Rainbows” among others. But problems arose when I wanted to buy the new Kula Shaker CD, and the music store did not have the band listed in their database. Similarly with a Particle CD. The end result was that I bought a Herbie Hancock album which showed promise of rocking, and…it didn’t. I then bought another album that was a waste of money, and I realized that I just don’t want a new CD every week. I guess the point is that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and you need to make your rewards a little more accommodating. It’s got to be relatively inexpensive since you’ll be buying it once a week, and not a detriment to the overall goal of losing weight (i.e. Tastykakes are not a good reward).
#2: Let yourself off the hook when confronted with precipitation. One Friday (a CD day), I emerged from my windowless cubicle and squinted at a gently falling snow in the parking lot. I decided to walk anyway, since it was not snowing much. Correction: it was not snowing much for a quick trip to the car, but for a half hour jaunt, it was snowing plenty. It took 3 hours for my pants to dry. Good thing that was the Neil Young week, or I would have been upset.
#3: Cover your ears. Yes, those headband things look silly, hoods block the vision, and many hats look ridiculous. Wear them anyway. Your ears may fall off otherwise. Seriously, it’s really painful.
#4: Bring a pair of sneakers. Again, even I know it’s unfashionable to wear sneakers with casual business attire. But I have nearly sprained an ankle on more than one occasion when I forgot to change my shoes.
#5: Wear headphones. Not only did I read that people who walked while listening to music benefited more, (I think they walked faster, or something) but there is the added benefit of not having to talk to people while you walk. I know this is uninviting to my fellow man, but honestly, most of the people who attempt to talk to me on my walks are a) offering me a ride, b) asking for directions to places directly in front of my face, but which I have never noticed before, forcing me to shrug my shoulders in ignorance, c) asking for bus change and/or cigarettes, and d) barking at me (presumably these little critters are dogs, but I have my suspicions.) So, don’t feel like you are missing much by enjoying a few tunes as you stroll.
All in all, I really enjoy my walks and I find that the walk is its own reward these days. It is a good time to get away from work and think about nothing for a while, and I usually feel refreshed. The hardest part was getting started.