I had no intention of transforming this blog into a health and fitness blog, but those are my particular obsessions at the moment, and health and fitness (particularly healthy food, and exercise) are what provide me with enough motivation to write regularly.
As part of my plan to bring my blood pressure and LDL ("bad" cholesterol) down into a more suitable range, I've begun going on a long walk every day.
At one time running and cycling were my exercises of choice, and were built into my routine. I would cycle commute (which guaranteed me at least eight miles of brisk cycling) and had the habit of running either in the morning before work, or during my lunch break (depending on the weather). I work from home now, and running has been increasingly hard on my aging knees.
Consequently I've begun a daily program of walking. I haven't excluded cycling and running altogether, but walking has a number of advantages over both of them. It isn't as rough on the joints as running, and it isn't as gear and equipment intensive as cycling. It's also something I can schedule at the spur of the moment, wherever I am, as long as I have a decent pair of shoes.
So I bought a cheap pedometer, and set it to measure number of paces. My target is a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. So far that's been easy to meet. I've been walking the length and back of Heritage Park trail in Mableton (which parallels the Silver Comet Trail on one side, and Nickajack Creek on the other). Walking its length and back is approximately 6,100 of my paces. That leaves me only 3,900 steps to go, which I've been able to meet just by the rest of my routine activities during the day.
I've timed my walk a few times, and I'm averaging about 4.2 miles per hour, which I've seen defined as "brisk".
I've always loved to walk, so in addition to the other advantages it's fun. The modest amount of gear also appeals the part of me which tries to keep everything in my life as simple as possible. If I'm stuck somewhere without walking shoes, I can walk in dress shoes, as long as they fit properly, and the pedometer is optional.
For those of you who plan and fantasize about starting an exercise program, but never really seem to get started, walking may be your best choice. Just make sure your shoes fit, pick a route you find appealing, start with a distance appropriate to your current physical state, and walk.