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Why not?
A Companion
On Honesty
Your new life
Where We Walk


You have felt like this before: this excitement that comes when you are getting set to start a new healthy program! Eventually, though, the excitement wears off and you wear the routine into a rut. Then something happens and you quit.

What happens? Why does our excited resolve melt away into yet another puddle of guilt? There can be several reasons. Here I will discuss several of them and how we can conquer them! You will see that you are more creative, resourceful, and strong than any excuse you will encounter!

walking on the beach, photo ©2001,

Why have we quit in the past?

Why won't we quit this time?

Boredom. If we do the same thing every day, in the same way, we can get tired of it. The exercise itself becomes tedium and we find ourselves eager for the time to be up. Although, all by itself, this isn't usually the reason we quit, boredom can contribute to our lack of resolve.

You can beat boredom.
Vary your routine. Intersperse running with your walking. Now and then do a different activity: use the Nordic Track, do aerobics for 30 minutes, swim. Though I tend to be a purist and want to stick with something that will give me miles, like walking, I have worked out on the Nordic Track a few times.

A dog is always an eager walking companion. photo ©2002,
Your dog is always eager for a walk!

Walk in a different place. Walking in a mall is very different from walking in your neighborhood. Challenge yourself by walking outside in inclement weather.

Listen to music. Make plans in your head. Notice things around you. Look for photos to take.

Now and then, walk with a companion. Wave to the people in passing cars. Greet fellow mall-walkers with a cheery good morning. Watch children as they play. Study your neighbors' plantings.

Enjoy nature. Even if it is gray and raining, you can delight in the shape of the clouds and the patter of rain on your rainhat. Sunrise can be a glorious time of the day to walk, with the birds twittering and other animals active. I frequently see white-tailed deer on my early-morning walks! Pause to study an unusual flower; watch the snowflakes as they hit your sweatshirt. If you are walking outdoors, there is always something to see.

Frustration. We started exercising so that we could lose weight, build up those arms, lose the flabby butt. but now, three weeks later, we look in the mirror and don't see any difference. Why continue? You won't let it stop you.
Realize now that you will not see any visible change for two months. You WILL begin to notice more subtle things. After two weeks, you will not be huffing and puffing when you go up a couple of flights of steps. After three weeks, your stamina at work and at play will have increased noticeably.
Your stamina for work or play will have increased noticeably within three weeks., photo ©2002,
Your stamina for work or play will have increased noticeably within three weeks.

At about this same time, you will begin to notice heightened sexual feelings, your headaches will be eased, your appetite may be reduced, and your mood will be better.

So you realize now that you will not notice visible changes overnight. However, there WILL be one major change overnight. You will have transformed yourself into a person who exercises every day.

Soreness or Injury. Many people go out like a warrior when they first start an exercise program and the next day, predictably, they are sore. They want to "rest their muscles" and so they take the next day off. The following day, they are still sore. This exercise program was over before it started.

Injury can sideline us, if we let it. Again, if we let this happen, we will quit our program.

You are stronger than your soreness.
If you were getting married tomorrow, would you let sore calves keep you away from your wedding?

Adopt the same attitude towards your walking!

You need to take care of your body, of course, but soreness is part of the process. I have said that I should learn to walk on my hands, in case I break my leg.

winter sunrise in Indiana, photo ©2001,
If you walk every morning at sunrise, you
may get to see a sunrise like this one!

There are exercises that you can do with your upper body that will get your heart rate going, should you be ordered by your doctor not to walk because of an injury. If you are not hurt enough to go to a doctor, you will walk. You may walk a little slower.. or a LOT slower, but you will walk.

If you have soreness in a joint, DO ice it, upon your return. I keep an ice pack in the freezer. I understand that bags of frozen veggies work well, too. I find that walking in freezing weather actually makes ice unnecessary for me. (Look at the bright side!)

If your ankles are weak, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend shoes that offer special support.

Take it easy on your first days out. Do not go out and do five miles on day one. If you are new to walking for exercise, do just 15 or 20 minutes your first day. If you are very out of shape, walk to the corner and back your first day Add a little the next day. By the tenth day or so, have yourself built up to a mile.

Protect yourself from sun and insects with a hat, long sleeves, and sunscreen. OR, better yet, walk when the sun is not high. I like dawn, myself, both for the lack of sun and the lack of insects.

If illness gets you to quit your routine for a day, then it will be harder to get going that next day. Illness can present a change in routine that will kill your resolve.
You can work through it.
You would have to be pretty sick to get an excuse from walking. Of course, if you are sick, you
can take it a little easy. But get out there.

I have walked with all manner of illnesses. The fact is, if you take it easy, doctors encourage you to walk the day after surgery (and sometimes the same day of surgery.) Even if you are tethered to an IV pole, if you can physically do it, do it.

My friend who has run every day for the past 24 YEARS without missing a day, ran the day of and the day after hernia surgery! Of course his pace was slower for a few days, but he kept his streak alive!

How's this for irony? We diet and exercise like crazy for the few weeks prior to a vacation, so that we will fit into that fabulous vacation outfit. Then we let the vacation itself end our exercise program!

I have had sooo many good intentions thwarted by vacations! You don't even think about exercise when you are on vacation! You sleep in, you drive, you traipse around ruins or visit ancient cathedrals. Very easy to put aside your exercise plan whist vacationing.

Then upon your return, you have unpacking.. and your routine has been changed to such a degree that you just don't get back into your program.

You can cope.
Decide, before you leave, that you are going to walk daily while on vacation. Take proper walking gear, including your walking shoes, jogbra, reflective vest, water bottle, and anything else that you carry when you walk at home.

Be sure to bring clothing appropriate to the weather. If you are going to walk in the morning, set an alarm or leave the curtains open so that the sun will awaken you.

If you are staying in an area where you are unfamiliar with the surroundings outside, use the hotel's fitness facilities, walk up and down your hallway, or walk early in a nearby shopping mall. At one hotel where I stayed, they had a free shuttle to the airport, so I took that and walked at the airport, before returning to my hotel for my meeting!

Other changes in your routine.
You have been used to going to the Y every day at 3 for your aerobics class. Then the class is over.

You have been walking every day after supper with your spouse. S/he goes on a business trip.

You have been used to walking every morning at 9am. You take a new 9 - 5 job.

It is VERY easy to lose momentum with a change in routine.

It will not beat you.
If you have advance notice of the change in your routine, plan in advance how you will alter your exercise. If you have been taking aerobics and the class is due to end soon, sign up for another one or for another kind of class, or plan to walk at that same time or at another time.

If your companionship dries up, go alone. I tend to think that exercising with a partner, while it can be fun, rewarding, and challenging, can also be very risky. Very easy to let his/her problems become our obstacles.

New job? Plan how you will do your daily walk. Will you get up earlier to walk before you go to work? Can you walk during your lunch hour? Perhaps you can walk when you get off work. It is best to have a couple of choices. If your boss calls an 8am meeting, you can walk at lunch. If you have to meet clients for lunch, you can walk after work and before dinner.

You get the idea. Make it happen. Don't let the change in routine change your resolve.

Why we will not quit this time.
Every Day. Powerful stuff. The sun will rise. The sun will set. And in between, we will exercise. Period.

After a week, you will realize that you have been walking daily for a week, without missing a day. With each passing day, it becomes easier to stick with it!

Once this past winter, there was some slushy icky snow out there and I had a cold and didn't want to walk. I thought about how my diary entry would read: "Today I did not want to walk in the snow. Today ended my six-month streak." Ludicrous! Of course, I walked!

"With each passing day, it becomes easier to stick with it!"

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©1999-2002 by Janee Aronoff, may not be reprinted without permission, except for your own personal use or for your friends. Printing for any commercial purposes whatsoever requires the permission of the copyright holder.

This author does not purport to be a nutritionist or expert in this field. The author has consulted with a physician who verifies this material to be medically and scientifically sound. Consider talking to your physician before beginning any sort of weight loss or exercise program. Web space for this site is paid for by the site owner and author. The author maintains this site and is not monetarily compensated in any way for this.