Yuma, Arizona: My Dad and Mary have returned from their Hawaiian Holiday, so we drove to Yuma and have spent with weekend visiting and looking at photos and videos of their trip. Every island!

But today I need to talk to you about a challenge I am putting-out to everyone in March – to get moving!

Nearly every time I am out for a jog around a RV park, a fellow camper will call out to me with something like, “I should be doing that”. I always smile and say: JUST DO IT. (Seriously, Phil, where is my endorsement contract?) I want to challenge all My Readers to lace up their NIKEs and take up a pledge to walk at least 30 minutes, five or six days per week, in March 2013. If you already are a walker/jogger, I encourage you to increase your mileage in March. They say it takes 30 days of tackling something new until it will become habit, so I urge you to try walking (or jogging) for a month and see how different you feel after 31 days. If you participate in another sport – step it up in March. Swim a few more laps. Ride your bike an extra mile or two. Getting into the routine of exercising, Dear Reader, is the hardest thing to accomplish. Thus this challenge, where we can all share the pleasure of exercise together!

Of course, you need to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. Please do, so your doctor can jump for joy and hug you, as my doctor did to me, and as she does every year as she sees my weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and a wholebuncha other stuff go down. 

One great thing about starting a walking/jogging program is there is no club to join, no fees and no special equipment required, save a good pair of shoes (that you probably already own). And this challenge will require a calendar. Write your weight on March 1st, write your mileage/time walked every day you exercise. On March 31st, add up your mileage/time and write down your weight. I am pledging a dollar to my local food bank for every mile I cover in the month of March – maybe you can walk for your favorite charity for more incentive? Or maybe your incentive will be that new handbag or fly rod you have been yearning for… or a shiny new pair of running shoes??? How about a new pair of jeans – one size smaller? Walking for thirty minutes, even if the most casual stroller will cover around two miles!

No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.

Safety: Unless you walk/jog on a treadmill at home or in a gym, you will be out in a RV park, or neighborhood on sidewalks or roads. You need to be aware of what is around you – cars, dogs, silent hybrid cars, runners, bicycles – all go buzzing by while you are walking. If you listen to music while exercising, only use one earbud – leave one ear free to hear oncoming traffic, bicycles, etc. Use sunscreen. If out after dark, wear light-colored/reflective clothing and carry a flashlight. Bring your cell phone if you have a pocket, bring ID or consider ordering a ID wrist band from RoadID – mine shows Dave’s cell number and that I am traveling in a motorhome.

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.”
– William Faulkner

Rules of the Road: If on a trail or sidewalk, walk on the right. On a road, walk/run against traffic. If you pass someone from behind, make enough noise that they hear you – so you don’t frighten them. (Though giving this advice, I have never passed anyone.)

A few tricks: (…or advise from an old, fat slow-moving jogger.) Warm up by walking at a normal pace for a minute or so, then step it up to a brisker pace. If you want to jog for a bit, then walk for a bit – go ahead. Don’t be embarrassed. No one is watching. Walk a block, then jog a block. Walk a minute, then jog a minute. Alternate walking/jogging between telephone poles, street lamps, fire hydrants, driveways or songs on your iPod – whichever mind-trick that inspires you. Your dog is going to love the extra mileage and an exercised dog is a happy dog! When you return from your workout, don’t forget to rehydrate!
 

“Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Toys: I have worn a pedometer for years, with a goal of 10,000 steps a day. This goal is easy to accomplish with a three mile walk or run, plus the usual steps a person takes in a day. Pedometers are available at any big-box retailer, starting at around $7. I use the ACCUSPLIT AE170XLG Pedometer (left). If you want to take it up a notch, try the Fitbit One. The One (right) is a finger-sized digital pedometer with the added benefit of tracking your sleep patterns – which may be of interest to women of a certain age who have trouble sleeping. With the included USB connector, the Fitbit One automatically uploads your daily exercise and sleep to your computer. If you choose, the Fitbit One also allows you to track everything you eat and calculates calories you take in and calories you burn. Another fun tool is the iPod Nano, made my Apple (I have the ancient teeny square nano). This little iPod holds music, books on tape or podcasts, and it also has a FM radio and pedometer… and a little voice can tell you how many minutes or miles you have covered as you exercise! Once you begin using a pedometer, you will be surprised at how many steps you take during a trip to Costco or the mall, and you may find yourself parking at the far end of the lot, to sneak-in a few more steps. Just keep moving!

“Someone busier than you is running right now.”

But you don’t need a pedometer or an iPod to accept this challenge. You only need to go outside and go for a walk. Let’s Move in March! Just do it.

Who’s with me?

Until my next update, I remain, your motivational correspondent.

RV PARK: Yuma Palms RV Resort

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