Discover ways to play

Boredom may be the biggest exercise killer there is. A sense of ennui can crush the life out of your desire to go for your daily walk. I’m always looking for ways to keep my walks entertaining, so I thought I’d share my latest ideas with you!

Watch old videos

While doing some fall cleaning, I discovered about 30 old family videotapes. I hadn’t looked at them in five years. Since my sons are both in college now, these tapes suddenly seemed like buried treasure. I took them to the basement and deposited them in the VCR for the TV that sits in front of my treadmill.

Usually, I get frustrated trying to watch videos or TV movies while ‘milling, because I can’t turn the sound up high enough to hear it over the drone of my machine. But with family videos, I could care less about the sound! I’m just fascinated by seeing how everyone and everything looks. How people change in five years’ time!

It’s been a great incentive for hopping on my treadmill on days when I haven’t had a chance to walk outdoors or when it’s raining too hard!

The sound of music

Another old friend I rediscovered is music. I am a music lover, but in the day-to-day rush of life, I often forget to play any of my tapes and CDs. Recently, I dredged up my portable cassette player and took it on a walk around the newly created walking track across the street from my home.

I’d forgotten just how invigorating music is when you’re wearing headphones and totally focused on the sounds — not just using the music for background noise. I’ve gathered all my tapes together, and now what might have been a boring walk around a track is instead a delightful musical interlude in my life. I come back to the house all jazzed up and ready for a great day.

Interval training

I just discovered a new interval workout that boosts my interest in my walks and burns more fat. (Interval training, alternating a moderate pace with a fast pace, is a tried-and-true method of increasing your fitness level and burning more calories.) In Bill Phillips’s book “Body for Life,” he describes a 20-minute interval workout that can be used in biking, running, walking — whatever your favorite activity is.

It goes like this: Warm up at a relaxed pace for two minutes. Then every minute for the next five minutes, increase your pace (you’ll have to experiment with different increments to see what works for you). The sixth minute should be at a pace that has you feeling like you’re giving it everything you’ve got. Then back down to a more moderate pace for one more minute. Repeat all the steps. During the second time through, you may reach a faster peak pace. Repeat all the steps a third time. Finally, cool down by walking at a slower pace.

I find this training both mentally absorbing and physically challenging. And when I do it first thing in the morning, I feel so energized!

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