|The Morning Walk, by John Singer Sargent, 1888|
One of my goals for this year is to walk more. I love taking walks, but I don't always feel motivated to go outside when the weather is freezing, windy, or raining--which is the standard weather for the New Jersey shore November through mid-April. And because schoolwork, my online business, and blogging are all sedentary activities, I tend to spend a lot of my days sitting during late fall, winter, and early spring.
To help give me motivation and structure, I've started one of those "couch to 5k" programs that are so popular in fitness circles these days. Mine is a walking-only plan from Prevention, because I love walking and have no interest in taking up running. I've also tweaked the plan slightly by repeating every week twice, to stretch it from six weeks to twelve. I like doing things slowly and since I'm not actually training for a 5k, I wanted a longer plan to follow.
I chose January 6th as my start date since it's after the traditional twelve days of Christmas have ended so life gets more or less back to normal in my house. The plan only calls for 15-minute walks three day a week to begin with, and since I've walked as much as an hour at a time on warm summer nights I bragged that it was a little below my level when I told my mother about my new exercise regimen. But after I completed the second day of the plan I was glad to have two rest days in front of me, as pathetic as that sounds--while I've managed much longer walks in the past, I did those after I had eased back into walking over the course of the spring and summer. I hadn't quite realized how little movement I get naturally in the cold months, and that realization made me even more determined to complete the plan.
So, I'm much closer to the couch (or, in my case, the computer desk) than I perhaps thought, but I'm excited to be starting my first formal exercise plan and am pretty confident that I'll meet all the time increases as they come. I'm also looking forward to getting outdoors more in March, the final month of my twelve-week plan--for now I've been rambling around the house since the walks are fairly short to start and it's been bitterly cold lately, but as the walks get longer and the days a little milder I think I'll enjoy getting the fresh air!