by Ken Gooderham
So don’t fall for that trap this time. Set goals within your grasp, some that keep you moving forward toward a healthier (or at least happier) lifestyle.
- Go for a walk every day. The distance is up to you, but the real goal is a consistent daily effort. Making time for this simplest of physical activities benefits your body (whatever kind of body you have), your mind (a proven antidote to depression and anxiety) and your neighborhood (being out there allows you to see and be seen). If time is an issue, start small – a walk around the block, say, or park further away from work and make that your walk. Once you get the daily part down, try adding some distance or time – particularly now, when the weather is on your side.
- Identify, and then tackle, the biggest obstacle to you walking, running or biking. Don’t have a bike? Get one, either bought or borrowed. Find walking too boring? Walk with a friend, or get some diversions (music, books, news, etc.) to get you out the door. Don’t have the time? Look at your schedule more critically, or sneak in some walking in the course of doing something else. Whatever the excuse, excise it to get some exercise.
- Do at least one chore a week on bike rather than in your car. Need to run down to the supermarket for some forgotten food? Ride your bike and leave the car in the driveway. Need to drop something off at a nearby friend’s house? Bike it there. Have to run to the bank, the mailbox or something else nearby? Wouldn’t you rather ride there?
- Find a new route to ride, run or walk. In a rut? Change up that routine with some new scenery. Look at nearby neighborhood options, or check out the county bike/ped maps online – at bikewalklee.com, leegov.com/parks or capecoral.net, among others – to see what facilities might be nearby.
- Do just a little bit more. Whatever your current regimen of walking, running or biking, add one more to it… one more mile, one more circuit, one more day, even one more activity (so you’re not doing the same thing all the time, a sure path to both boredom and injury). If you’re not doing anything, then do something… and if you’re already doing something, do a little more. Sometimes sneaking up on a more active lifestyle is the best approach, so you don’t notice you’re there until it’s already become a habit.
Looking for a little motivation to get moving? Join the Million Mile Movement, a local effort by Healthy Lee to get Lee County moving. Between Jan. 9 and March 31, participants can log their daily exercise – walking, biking, running, swimming and more – with a goal of reaching a community-wide total of a million miles by the end of March. Find out more at healthylee.com/news-events/million-mile-movement… and start moving more next Monday!
Southwest Florida is a great place to be outdoors, particularly this time of year. And if we keep pushing for (and using) the growing number of bike/ped facilities in our area, we can keep growing a safer bike/walk network to make walking, running and biking accessible to all (or at least more).
That’s a resolution that’s good for you – and for us all.
Dress for success?
This underscores the desire for proper attire that inspires many local runners or riders.
If the day starts foggy, visibility is crucial – particularly if you’re sharing the road or lane with other vehicles. High-visibility, bright colors make you more easily seen, while something that can cope with the extra humidity without overheating you once the fog burns off is wise.
If the temperatures are lower, it’s time to layer – with something light to wick away moisture first, then an insulating layer, topped by something that can resist a cool breeze. As temperatures rise, you can adjust your layers accordingly to keep your cool.
Finally, you can also remind yourself that the runners and riders up north are facing far more difficult dress codes… all the more reason to be happy you’re in Southwest Florida right now.
Ready to ride or run?
Ride? Tomorrow (Jan. 6) brings the original Critical Mass ride in downtown Fort Myers, followed by the NE Lee (Jan. 13) and Sanibel (Jan. 14) rides. Check http://www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events for start times... and since the rides are at night, bring your lights (helmets, too). On Jan. 15, try the Hamster Wheel 200 with the Peace River Riders, offering rides of 32 miles, a metric century, a century or a double century (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com)
# # #
Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County - streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org.