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Walk all Winter

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Walk all WinterWalking is fundamental to our existence. Before humans built cities or developed written languages, we were already walking long distances to find food. Today, though, many of us have lost touch with that, relying on cars for everything. Is it any wonder so many of us are out of shape?

My advice: WALK MORE. Walking can be the easiest exercise you do, fitting so seamlessly with the rest of your day that it doesn't even look like exercise. Or you can make it into a tough workout. Do it your way, but do it!

9 Steps to Get Yourself Walking This Winter

You can take advantage of the great exercise of walking, even as the weather turns colder, if you'll just prepare for it and work it into your routine. Here are nine suggestions to get you started:

  1. Get off the couch. At some level, doing anything new is about making up your mind to do it and then following through. Life is too short to waste it being lazy about your fitness. Take action!
  2. Dress for it. Don't go out when conditions are dangerous. But if it's normally 20 degrees Fahrenheit with lots of snow on the ground where you live . . . well, wear mukluks and a down jacket and walk anyway. Wear snowshoes, if that's what it takes.
  3. Walk to the corner store. How many errands near your house are actually in walking distance, if you'll allow enough time for them? Walking is a great way to get to know your neighborhood, and it lets you burn calories while you're also knocking things off your to-do list.
  4. Walk across the parking lot. When you do drive to the store, the movies, or wherever, park at the back of the lot and walk in. There's usually no competition for parking spots out there, and you can stretch your legs after being in the car.
  5. Walk in the park. Find the best trails in the parks where you live and start walking them year-round. You'll get to know the landscape in a very different way at the same time you get away from the hubbub of traffic.
  6. Walk at the mall. A friend of mine lives in Minnesota and sometimes walks at the Mall of America during the depths of winter, even when she doesn't need to do any shopping. Your local mall could provide a similar refuge on cold, wet days.
  7. Walk the stairs. I almost never take elevators unless I have to go up several floors in a hotel or office building. You probably have access to a building where you could take the stairs just for exercise.
  8. Wear a pedometer. I've known people who slowly -- but permanently -- changed their shapes by wearing a pedometer all the time. They would set a goal like 10,000 steps per day, then work their way toward it by walking to work, parking at the back of the lot, walking a lap or two around the building during a coffee break, and so on.
  9. Get a treadmill. This is the only suggestion here that requires a substantial budget. I know a businesswoman who works out of her home who shelled out for a good treadmill and now swears by it, because it lets her get in a walk anytime she wants, even if she's on the phone or watching television. If you want to be fit, a treadmill certainly beats a couch!

Use any of these steps -- and your own bright ideas -- to help make walking a regular habit. It will stay with you for life.

How will YOU work in more walking this winter?

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Tim Walker CareOne Debt Relief Services Life Balance BloggerTim Walker

Tim is a writer, marketer, and social media pro living in Austin. He joined CareOne's blogging team as a contributing writer for the Life Balance blog in 2009. As a blogger who has personally overcome debt challenges, he draws from his own experience to provide tips on living a balanced life and keeping fit. You can read more of his thoughts (on fitness and everything else) at his personal blog, What I've Learned So Far. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Tim on Twitter; @Twalk or follow us by clicking here!

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