BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, December 30, 2021
by Ken Gooderham
Bringing another year to a close often inspires reflection and resolution. However, given what 2021 ended up providing to most of us, any reflection is more akin to a nightmare and any resolution has to begin with: “Never again….”
Often, a new year brings new resolve to change one’s life, be it by a commitment to exercise more, eat healthier foods or make some other change in your personal routine that will lead to a better you.
However, “resolve” denotes determination, a battle of wills between your better and lesser angels that too often leaves one’s good intentions shattered and tattered by the side of the road to your best (or at least better) life.
A resolution can also become an over-reach, a bar set too high to ever clear no matter how pure your purpose may be.
Rather than resolve to be better, why not just be better? Don’t promise to exercise more, just exercise more.
Make the things you strive to achieve a part of your routine, without the pressure and pitfalls of a rigorous resolution. To use a familiar phrase: Just do it.
That’s where more accessible activities such as walking and biking can come in. If you do things that are easy to incorporate into your life, you’ll find them easier to make part of your routine for the long haul.
Walking is one activity almost anyone can undertake, and its health benefits are considerable given its ease and access. Adding more steps to your day takes little effort and pays maximum rewards (and with a minimal investment, perhaps nothing more than a good pair of shoes).
You can simply start going for a daily walk, perhaps around the neighborhood in the evening or adding a stroll to your lunchtime. You can park further away and add some steps to your day that way… particularly useful now that season has filled up parking lots anyway, making the “good spots” harder to find.
You can swap those short car trips for a longer walk to run your errands, or park at the mall and walk from store to store rather than driving. And you can certainly meet up with friends to take a walk together, boosting your social health in concert with your physical health.
Will it burn as many calories as more intense efforts? No… but it’s a lot easier to stick with, meaning that the accumulation of activity over time can put walking in the lead.
If you decide to take up running and last a week, say, versus increasing your daily walking over months, you’ll obviously see more benefit from the slow-and-steady approach. You’ll also have created a habit that can stick with you (and that you will stick with), paying even more long-term benefits.
Biking takes more equipment – such as a bicycle – but is an equally accessible activity that may be an even better fit to your day. Running errands on two wheels – or even commuting to work, play and other events – can be an easy transition to make, getting you out of your car and into the saddle with only a small change of habit (that brings a big benefit overall).
With an expanding network of bike facilities, getting around by bike is easier than ever – and may let you bypass the traffic jams so prevalent this time of year. It can take a little more planning if you need to carry items, but there are many options to make hauling a happier experience (and it can help keep your purchases under control if you won’t buy what you can’t carry).
The biggest benefit (as with walking) is the ease with which biking can be part of your day, whether as an exercise for its own benefit or as part of your general activity. Again, this helps make biking a habit that’s easy to stick with, paying long-term physical and mental benefits with a minimum of fuss and frustration.
If you’re looking for a new habit (or two) in the new year, walking and biking are good options to consider… and easier options to turn into habits over the months ahead.
So leave the resolutions to others. Put on your walking shoes or dust off that bike and just start moving. Soon, you’ll find it’s a habit that’s hard to break… and easy to live with.
FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):
- SYAL Run for the Youth 5K, Saturday, Jan. 8, downtown Fort Myers.
- Metro-McGregor Kiwanis BUG Chase 5K, Saturday, Jan. 22, Calusa Nature Center, Fort Myers.
- Strides for Education 5K, 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, Florida Southwest State College, Fort Myers.
- Edison Festival of Light Junior Fun Run (distance varies by age), noon, Sunday, Feb. 13, downtown Fort Myers.
- Edison Festival of Light 5K, Saturday, Feb. 19, 5:45 p.m., downtown Fort Myers.
- Hooters River Roots & Ruts 10 Mile Trail Run, Sunday, March 6, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva.
- Scope for Hope 5K & 2 Mile Walk, Saturday, March 26, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral.
GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):
- Naples Daily News Half Marathon, 7 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 16, downtown Naples.
- Run for the Paws 5K (dogs welcomed), Saturday, Jan. 29, Civil Air Patrol, Naples.
- Picayune 10 Miler, Saturday, Feb. 12, Sabal Palm Hiking Trail, Naples.
ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):
- Venice Half Marathon & 5K, Saturday, Feb. 19, 6:30 a.m., Maxine Barritt Park, Venice.
- Fort Myers City of Palms Half Marathon & 5K, Saturday March 5, 6:30 a.m., FGCU campus.
- Punta Gorda Half Marathon & 5K, Saturday, March 12, 6:30 a.m., Lashley Park.
- Tour de Cape 5K Run/Walk, Saturday, Jan. 22, Cape Coral (tourdecape.net)
- I Love The 80s 5K, Sunday, Feb. 6, North Collier Regional Park (active.com).
The Caloosa Riders are offering member rides, but some are open to non-members (and it wouldn’t hurt you to join the club); check their ride calendar (caloosariders.org) for a description of the distance and speed, and to see if the ride is open to all.
SW Florida Critical Mass is offering their usual slate of family-friendly rides. Check out their line-up online (www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/) for details and times (and to make sure the ride is still rolling).
- SW Florida Critical Mass ride, first Friday of the month. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Helmet and lights required, meet in the parking lot at 2180 West First Street, Fort Myers.
- Sanibel Critical Mass night ride, second Saturday of the month. Gathers at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended.
- NE Lee Critical Mass ride, third Friday of the month. Gather in the Winn Dixie parking lot on Palm Beach Blvd. about five miles east of the Interstate; gather at 7 p.m. and roll at 7:30 p.m. for a slow ride through Fort Myers Shores.
- Cape Coral Critical Mass ride, fourth Friday of the month. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape; helmets and lights required.
- Saturday Morning
Slow Roll, fourth Saturday of the month. Meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd.,
Fort Myers. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6
miles, includes group ride instruction.
Alpha Win Sarasota Triathlon, half-Ironman, Olympic and sprint
triathlon, Saturday, Jan. 9, Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (https://alpha.win/event/sarasota-fl/).
- St. Anthony’s Triathlon (St. Petersburg) has been rescheduled again, now to May 1, 2022, Olympic and sprint (https://satriathlon.com/).
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDEHave a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at email@example.com, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.