Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ho-ho-ho? Then go-go-go!

BWL Column
The News-Press, 12/21/2017
by Ken Gooderham

Image: Corporation Park Supporters group
The holidays are here… time for family and friends, food and drink, and (for some) a big dollop of stress on the side.

All the more reason to go for a walk, run or ride.

Sure, time can be tight over the next two weeks, with plenty to do, people to see and preparations to make. But there’s always time for a break to get outside and go for a walk, a run or a ride.

Why are holidays the right time to exercise?
  • Calories. For many, holidays are based on meals – and those meals are based on a lot of food. Thanks to that, some experts say you could easily gain 5-7 pounds during this period – not necessarily a good plan for an already obese nation. However, including a regular walk, run or ride in your holiday plans not only helps you burn some calories, it also may lessen your appetite… or at least give you some time not in the vicinity to food. And if you can’t see it, you can’t eat it.
  • Camaraderie. Getting outside for a walk is a great family activity, a chance to both move around and focus on each other a little more, perhaps to catch up with people who you haven’t seen for a while or have a little quiet for a serious talk. Finding activities you can share is also a great icebreaker if you’re getting together with people you don’t know that well… or a good “time out” if you’re spending a little too much time with people you know a little too well.
  • Calm. Walking, running or riding also can get you a little “me” time, often in short supply during the hectic holidays. It can settle your thoughts and boost your spirits, helping you shake either the cobwebs or the crazies at a time of year fraught with both.
If you’re in the habit to regularly walk, run or ride, be sure you stay on track during the holiday break… maybe not as often as you usually do, but at least on a regular basis. And if you have not gotten that habit, this could be a good time to start… and to avoid being part of that post-holiday hike in exercise efforts by already being on board.

It just might be the best gift you give yourself this holiday season.

Speaking of gifts, if you’re looking for a last-minute idea for a walker, runner or cyclist… really! Have you looked at the calendar? Didn’t you realize Christmas is next Monday?

Actually, having a real (and really short) deadline focuses the mind – and takes a lot of choices off the table (unless you’re willing to fork over for express shipping). But you’re not out of luck… yet.

Get yourself to a bike shop, running store or sporting goods big-box, and take a look around or ask one of the experts on hand. Think of the things your runner/walker/cyclist uses (and replaces) regularly or something for which they could always use a spare. If they’re new to the activity, ask someone what a novice would really appreciate (or really needs even if they don’t know it).

When in doubt, there always are gift cards to let the recipient select their own gift – generic, true, but often a good approach if your runner or cyclist has strong preferences in gear or is working to purchase something pricey toward which a gift card could be applied.

If all else fails, give them the gift of your time – either to join them in their favorite activity, or to do something for them that will free up some time for them to go walk, run or ride. No one ever says “no” to having more time for fun.

Seniors, take a survey!

Carol Kachadoorian, a transportation planner with Toole Design Group, is doing research on seniors who cycle. She has launched a survey is for cyclists 50 years and older, which includes an option to complete an online journal of two cycling trips.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.  It will remain open for several months in order to get the greatest number of responses. Go to to take the survey.

 Ready to ride or run?

Run? Not much on the schedule for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. There’s a 5-mile Hill Run at Marco Island this Saturday and a 5K coupled with a “polar plunge” Jan. 1 in Naples. Details for both at Enjoy the rest, because the running schedule fills fast once we get into January.

Ride? You can ride out the old year with the Critical Mass Cape Coral ride Dec. 29, followed the next day with the Saturday morning Slow Roll in downtown Fort Myers. For night rides lights are required, helmets recommended, and details and sign-up info is online at

Both?  You’ll have tris of every size Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 6-7, when the HITS Triathlon Naples races come back to town. Distances range from open, sprint, Olympic, half-Ironman and Ironman. Half and full Ironman Saturday, the rest on Sunday, starting from Vanderbilt Beach in Naples. Details at


Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

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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 


Ho-ho-ho? Then go-go-go!

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