By Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, EatingWell Editors, The EatingWell Diet (2007)
Keep a pair of walking shoes and socks at work and by the door at home, so an impromptu stroll is easy.
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.
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 books on CD. 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.
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.
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.