When I moved to Boston last May, I decided to live in Beacon Hill mostly because my daughter lives here and I wanted to be close by, but also because I wanted to be a true city-dweller and live without a car. Walking would good for my health I knew,  and  if I had a car, it would be much more difficult to convince myself to walk. I walked more last summer than I had for years. But I still found the mile to the Pru something to be avoided on most days. (Many taxi drivers benefitted from my laziness.)

When I started at HW in November, I felt very virtuous on the first day I walked there from home. It took about 30 minutes and was actually enjoyable. Bonnie (my trainer) told me that walking outside was as good (or better) than the treadmill or the elliptical, as long as I walked at a good enough clip. In an effort to get me to the gym, she even told me that if I walked there and felt very resistant to more exercise, I should just forget it and go to the spa. This was great psychology.  It got me to HW on many days when I couldn’t bear the thought of cardio; however, I never completely skipped it.

Even though I haven now gotten over my dread of cardio machines, they are still not my favorite. So a month ago a bought myself a pedometer and started walking in earnest. (I also bought long underwear, so I could walk when it was really cold). My pedometer is great. I have owned several that didn’t work well, but this is an Omron and it’s very reliable. One great feature is that in addition to recording the gross number of steps I take in a day, it breaks out the “aerobic” steps—these are the steps I take at a rate of more than 60 steps per hour.  It also gives me the number of minutes that I walked at that rate or faster, so I am able to count those minutes as legitimate exercise.

I am aiming for 10,000 steps a day, but most days I far exceed it.  The pedometer really has encouraged me to walk more and more. One remarkable Saturday a couple of weeks ago I hit 19,000!  Last week I walked from Beacon Hill to my department at BU (2.5 miles) in 70 minutes.  I’m very short (5 feet) with a very short stride, so I was really moving. I can’t wait until the weather gets nicer, so I’ll be likely to walk even more.

– Cheryl

 Do you incorporate walking outside into your exercise routine?