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Getting around our excuses

Ok.. you have your own excuses, I know, but I will assume that yours are at least close to the ones that I amassed myself in 30 or so years of rationalizing. What I will do here is to discuss each reason and offer some strategies to get around it. I will use "walk" here, though your own exercise may be different.

No road has all green lights, but you don't turn around and go home if the light is red.

jjDetour Ahead

Weather Detours

It is too hot.

On days when it is going to be dangerously hot, (90°F or more) walk at sunrise. Bring a water bottle when it is hot.

It is too cold.

On days when it is dangerously cold (below 20°F), walk at the mall or indoors. If it is 20°F or higher, walk outside.

It is lightning.

Walk indoors or wait till the storm has abated. Do not walk outdoors in lightning.

It is too windy. I'll get an earache.

Wear a headband or a hat that covers your ears.

It is too sunny. I'll need sunscreen.

Either go first thing in the morning, after your evening meal, or wear sunscreen. If it is hot, bring a water bottle. Wear a hat.

It is raining.

Get yourself a raincoat, rain pants and a rain hat. It is actually kind of pleasant to walk in the rain. It keeps you cool, and the looks you get from the neighbors are comical.

Or walk indoors.

The weather is too perfect to spend the day exercising. Huh? What better time to help your body to stay fit than on a beautiful day? Get out there! Take your camera and shoot some photos of butterflies!

Time Detours

It is too early.

Never too early.

It is too late.

Never too late! If you are just starting this today, you don't want to walk after dark, and it is dark now, vow to walk first thing tomorrow morning. Go now and lay out the clothes that you will wear!

I have an appointment soon.

Either take your walking shoes along and walk after your appointment (for some different terrain), or plan to walk upon your return home.

I have already taken my shower.

Then you will be clean for your walk. If you feel like taking another shower then, go ahead! I promise you will not melt away.

Kids will be home soon.

Then go out NOW and walk. You can walk up and down in front of your own house for 30 minutes. This way you will not be more than a few minutes from home at any time.

Carry your cellphone and instruct your kids to call when they get home. If they are mature enough to stay home alone for a few minutes, then finish your walk. If you can't leave them for even a moment, when you see them arrive home, go and meet them and have them finish your walk with you.

If you have to stop your walk when your kids get home, and you cannot bring them along, walk earlier tomorrow.

Just ate.

Go on and walk. You will not want to exercise strenuously after a large meal, but take a 30-minute stroll. If you find yourself cramping, try holding your tummy muscles as tight as you can as you walk. This helps me. Walk earlier tomorrow.

About to eat.

Either go on and eat and then see above, or put the food on "warm," enlist your husband/wife to look after the kids, and take your walk. Your food won't get brawny in 30 minutes.

I don't have time between schlepping kids here and there.

Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. Take your walking shoes along and go for a walk outside of your kids' school while they are finishing up their band practice. (If you walk AWAY from the school, your kids will be grateful. <g>)

Health Detours

I am on my period.

Do you think that none of the Olympics athletes are on their period during the games? Get OUT there! You will see that, once you actually get out there and you start exercising, your cramps will ease.

I am about to start my period.

So what? Exercise is good for every part of your body. Your brain will be fed more of the serotonin that it needs to keep you happy during this often PMS'y time of the month.

I'm bloated.

Yes... and? Put on your walking shoes and get going. As you move around more, you will find you get bloated less!

I'm tired.

Everyone is. Courage and fortitude are what you need now. Visualize yourself getting out of your chair. Visualize yourself getting dressed to walk. Visualize yourself walking out the door. Then DO IT.

I have a headache.

Walking will increase your circulation, your serotonin levels, and your built-in pain-relieving endorphins! So go walk NOW!

I have a cold.

And... your point is...? Get GOING! You will feel better when you are finished. Sometimes breathing some fresh air is all you need to take the edge off your cold. Don't forget to bring a few tissues and a water bottle along!

My stomach hurts.

See "I have a headache" above. For a tummy ache, sometimes you will feel better if you hold your tummy muscles tight.

My foot/ knee/ hip/ whatever hurts.

No one feels perfect all the time. Usually, these are just normal wear-and-tear pains of aging and you can walk through these. Exercise lets your body release its natural pain-killers, endorphins, so it may be BETTER for you to walk when you have pain.

If you have pain that is consistent, you may consider seeing your doctor for it. It could be that it is not ok for you to walk for 30 minutes a day. If your doctor tells you this, you will want to obtain his/her advice on activities you CAN pursue. Perhaps bicycling on a stationary bike or swimming or low-impact aerobics would better suit you.

Exercise gives me migraines.

See your doctor to ascertain that you don't have something serious going on. If it is "all in your head," <g> then get on out there and do your walk. Exercise will help to ease your pain.

I'm worried about my heart.

If you are NOT exercising, you should worry more about it. If you are truly worried about your heart, then you must see your doctor. Chances are that you are fine and that your exercise program will be much better for you than sitting around.

I'll get asthma.

Most asthmatics can handle an exercise program. If you have doubts, you should see your doctor for advice. I have asthma and, though it is well-controlled, I always carry a "rescue" inhaler with me. If i'm feeling "wheezable," I will walk in five minute loops (close to home, or not get far from my car.)

I will be eaten up by bugs/stung by bees.

If you have an allergy to bee stings, you can get a bee-sting kit from your doctor or pharmacist. If you are allergic to bee stings, you should have one of these anyway. Carry it in your pocket when you walk.

There are lots fewer bugs out very first thing in the morning, right at sun-up.

Also, if you are going to be outside, don't use floral shampoos, soaps, or lotions. I've heard that "dressing like a flower" in bright colors will attract bees, but I don't know about that.

Safety Detours

I'm worried about being mugged.

I urge you to not obsess about such concerns. Of course you want to be careful, but staying inside because you worry about being a crime victim, victimizes you, all the same!

If it is legal in your state, you might wish to consider carrying along a mace spray. This can be handy against dogs too.

There is a rapist on the loose.

See "being mugged" above.

I might get hit by a car.

This is a very real concern, as walkers, joggers, and cyclists are hit by cars with frightful regularity in some areas.

If you are walking, use the sidewalk if there is one. If there is not, walk FACING the traffic. This means, in the USA, walking on the LEFT side of the road. As you approach the crest of a hill, be extra-wary and, if you cannot hear or see oncoming traffic, you might be well-advised to walk off of the road for a short distance.

Wear fluorescent, reflective clothing if you are walking in the dark, dawn, dusk, if there is any precipitation falling, or if visibility is at all limited. I have a bright reflective vest that I wear.

If the road is just too dangerous or if you find that you are frightened to walk it, find a stretch with which you are comfortable.

I used to walk from one end to the other of Cave Road. This road has several blind hills, no sidewalks, and reckless drivers. In the early morning, though, there is not much traffic here, and the traffic there is is not too scary. Children are out waiting for the bus and so people are more careful. If i find that i don't want to walk first thing in the morning (like this winter when it warms up during the day), then I alter my route, avoiding the hilly parts and most traveled parts of Cave Road.

Some of the people around here are not naturally kind to walkers, to put it politely. I have found that people are nicer to me when I go out of my way to be nice to them. For every car that goes past me, in either direction, I offer a bright smile and a friendly wave. This seems to slow them down a bit, and i can't help but think that it makes my neighbors a little happier, too. Sometimes they wave or smile back.

Someone may break into my house while I'm out.

This is something that can happen if you go to work, to the grocery, or anywhere. Lock your door. Take your key. And don't worry.
I don't have anywhere safe to walk. I really doubt that your options are more dangerous than mine. (See "I might get hit by a car.") But if you cannot adapt your neighborhood to be a reasonably safe place, then you will need to find a safe place, whether another neighborhood, a walking trail, a park, a mall, or a gym.

If you will not be able to walk in your neighborhood, no matter what, then it might be a good idea for you to invest in a treadmill or exerciser to use in your home for such times that you cannot drive or do not have time to go somewhere, walk, and then come home.

Vanity Detours

I don't have the right clothes.

<chuckle> Ok! Then you will be considered the "eccentric walker with no fashion sense!"

Seriously, all you need is loose-fitting pants, like sweats, a temperature appropriate shirt or shirt combination, a reflective vest, gloves and headgear if it is cold, and... this is the biggie... the right shoes.

I don't have the right shoes.

Then get some. Go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes, because you want to have a good selection, and you want to be talking to someone who can at least pretend to know what s/he is talking about. If you are over 20 years old, you will feel silly in the sporting goods store. Just get used to that fact. Everyone working there is 18 or so, the music is obnoxious, and the array of choices is dizzying.

You will see shoes for running and walking, for cross-training, for "fitness," for basketball, for tennis, for beach-running... For each sport, there will be several brand names. You will see all of the famous ones: Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Ascics, and on and on. Dizzying.

So what do you do? You PLAN to feel silly. Wear a pair of thickish socks, because that is the kind you will be wanting to walk in. Alternatively, before you try on shoes you can buy some running socks at this same store. These REALLY make a difference in how your feet feel because they don't have icky seams and they are cushy and nice on your feet. Plan to spend nearly $10 USD for a good pair of running socks.

So when you get there, first just stand there and take it all in: the lighting that is designed to make you feel athletic, the colors of the shoes, each vying for your attention, the gym-style floor, the young, trim salespeople who look like they just stepped in from the gym themselves. Then choose the most eager-looking salesperson and tell him/her that you need some shoes because you are going to start walk/running. Tell the person that you have no idea what to look for, but that you want to spend $XX and you want their advice.

Of course, this kid is going to look at you like you just dropped in from some far-away planet. When s/he regains composure, they will probably try to get you to choose a brand. Don't fall for this. Tell him/her that you want what is best for YOU and that you will want to try on several to get the right fit. Here are some links with info to help you in picking out your shoes:

Our Time: Choosing Walking Shoes

Total Fitness Network

I don't like to sweat.

Well, you are going to be sweating. If you live in a cool climate, you can walk outdoors in the winter, though, and you will not sweat then.

I am too fat.

Let's look at it like this: You are the fattest you will ever be again.... IF you will get up and walk, starting NOW. Ok, so WHAT if the neighbor kids laugh at you? Your weight is no secret. Your size is something that everyone sees.

If you are out doing something about it, making yourself healthy and strong, people will be much less likely to laugh than they will be to admire you! Some of that staring will be from their being proud of you! Obesity is a significant and pervasive problem in our society. The fact that you are doing something to help yourself will make others want to be like you.

I'm too old.

Too old for what? Walking? I think not! If you are concerned about your health, always consult your physician before you begin an exercise program, but my bet is that your doctor will say, "Go for it!"

I don't want to have to worry about my hair.

Ok, then don't worry about it! You may find that you would rather have a more carefree style now that you are going to be more active. Look at people who are active and attractive. Are they fussing about their hair? If you don't want to step out of the house with your hair as it is, you can wear a hat to walk. Sometimes I wear a baseball cap, which is pretty cute, imho.

There isn't a gym near me.

You do not need a gym to walk. Use your neighborhood, the mall, a park, or a walking trail!

Companionship Detours

I can't get my husband to go with me.

And the point is...? If you require a companion to be with you for your walks, then you are not committed on your own. If you are not committed on your own, then you are not committed, period. Go for your walk alone.

If, at some point, your husband decides that he wants to accompany you, then so much the better. Set a time that you are going to go. If he is not ready by then, then you go alone. Period.

I am having trouble coordinating my friend's schedule with mine.

See "I can't get my husband to go" above. You need to have YOUR committment. You cannot depend upon your friend to coordinate her committment with yours. That is unrealistic. You go and do your walk. I

f you can arrange with your friend to be at X location at X time, then that is fine. But be sure that she knows that you are going to leave AT THAT TIME.

None of my friends exercise.

This has nothing to do with you! You DO exercise! Get out and DO it!

If you want some cyber-companionship, there are some online support groups that can help to motivate you and keep it exciting. Here are just a few:

HealthWalkers Nice community of walkers. You can sign in and log your miles. They have friendly competition and support.

iVillage has many good articles on walking, support, diet, lifestyle, much more.

USENET newsgroup: (Clicking this link will take you to your default newsreader and subscribe you (free) if youare not subscribed already.)

Promises that are really Detours

I'll start tomorrow. No, you won't. You have been here before.
I'm going to lose some weight first. No, you won't. How much sense does this make? You are much more likely to lose some weight when you ARE exercising.

I'll start when the weather gets nicer.

No, you won't. There is no time like the present. When the weather gets nicer, you will have gardening to do, kids home from school, vacation plans to make. Go walk now.

I'm going to join a health club after the first of the year.

No, you won't. And even if you do, a large percentage of these memberships are dropped after the first month. You go walking now. Get into a routine. If you decide to join a fitness club after the first of the year, you will have demonstrated that you can stick to a routine by then.

My friend and I are going to start walking together.

No, you won't. You will develop your OWN resolve to exercise. And your resolve will follow your having gone out and started DOING it. So get going!

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