Just a little
(Note: If you cannot walk, check out the end of the newsletter
for options. But read everything for the problem solving examples! If
you can walk, make sure to read the info at the end for when you want
some different kinds of workouts.)
We often hear experts say; "Walking requires no special
facilities and no special equipment." This is an oversimplification.
That's a problem. If you think a task is simple, and it is really complicated,
then you are not likely to succeed. You will probably blame yourself.
So let's get real about walking as a workout. When
you realistically look at the obstacles, you have the best chance of
When you walk: Finding
the right time in your day to take your walk is important. I find that
my clients who walk first thing in the morning are twice as likely to
continue walking as people who plan to walk in the evening. That does
not mean that you must walk in the morning to be successful. It just
means that it gives you a better chance. I have found the best thing
about a morning walk is that it starts your day off on a positive note.
You start your day FEELING yourself move through time and space. You
FEEL yourself make physical progress through your world. Also, you do
not have the stress of figuring out when you will take care of yourself
and exercise. You already did it.
If your schedule requires that you walk in the middle
or at the end or your day, you will need to give yourself specific structure
to avoid skipping workouts. The reason you need structure if you are
going to walk during your day is that 'stuff happens'. It is too easy
to say that you will walk later. Pretty soon later is the end of the
day and you have missed your workout. Plan to walk at a specific time.
Many people find that walking during the first half of
the lunch hour works well. Some people walk after work or later in the
day. I had a client who walked out the door of his workplace and just
kept walking. Every evening he just kept walking, for a half-hour to
an hour, until he found himself back at his workplace parking lot. Then
he got in his car and drove home. He said that he arrived home relaxed,
decompressed from work, and ready to appreciate his family (and his
dinner). He has been walking for years now. With the money he saves
by not joining a gym, he and his wife go on a tropical vacation every
For your well being, I recommend working out on most days.
Of course, there are many ways to workout. You may want to check back
to the section called "A Menu for Movement" (in eNewsletter from 6/7/01).
If walking is your primary choice for exercise, you can start out walking
twice a week. That is enough to feel a difference in your fitness but
not overwhelm your schedule. Once you have started working out a few
times a week, you are ready to start asking yourself an important question:
Did I workout yesterday?
If not, then you WILL workout TODAY.
If you did workout yesterday, you can choose whether or
not you want to workout today. By asking yourself this question, and
working out today if you did not workout yesterday, you will not drop
the ball and accidentally miss several day's exercise. Gradually, as
you get your life adjusted, you can increase your walking from a few
days a week to most days of the week. If you are mixing walking with
other exercises, you can gradually increase until you are doing some
exercise on most days.
How you feel when you walk: What
matters most is HOW you feel when you walk. Where you walk is important
to your success. Many people feel comfortable walking anywhere. The
park, a neighborhood, downtown, the seashore, for some people it does
not matter. If you are one of those people, you are lucky. Enjoy your
walk on any level surface available. For others it is not so simple.
For many people who have been taunted about their body size when in
public, walking around in public places is not a comfortable experience.
Even if nobody says a word, some potential walkers might feel uncomfortable
(in our weight prejudiced culture) about what people who see them walking
might be thinking.
This is not paranoia. This is a reasonable response to
an unreasonable prejudice. The only way I know around prejudice is to
fight it. First, I will comment on fighting the prejudice found in the
culture. (Next, I will comment on getting the prejudice out of your
own head.) One way to fight negative attitudes toward large people is
to do what you want and not let those attitudes stop you. I have seen
many clients do just that. They went out and walked, regardless of what
others may have been thinking. Soon the prejudiced thoughts of others
were irrelevant and did not matter to the walker who was enjoying moving
through time and space. Often, the large walker was joined by other
people who wanted to walk but might have previously been uncomfortable.
I have a high school track at the end of my block. In the spring, I
see the track filled with lean running athletes for a while. Then, as
soon as a few average and large people start walking around the track,
there seems to be a consistent increase in plus-size walkers. You could
be the beginning of a trend at your location.
What about the bad feelings in your own head that are
triggered when you walk? If you have internalized some of our cultures
fat prejudice, you can start to get rid of it. If you notice yourself
thinking negative things about your fat body, disagree with those negative
thoughts. Disagree in full sentences in full paragraphs. Your mind cannot
think two thoughts at the same moment. While you are disagreeing with
the prejudice that you learned, you are getting some distance from the
hurtful thought. See the section in my book called "Flipping the Coin:
Sometimes, when walking is more difficult than it used
to be, there is a tendency to criticize yourself. If you notice yourself
thinking body critical thoughts, you can change your mind. You can,
with effort, focus your mind on appreciating your present effort.
You can appreciate what your body CAN do, instead of criticizing for
what you can not do.
dress when you walk: Another way to reduce negative
feelings about yourself is to take care of and take pride in your body.
Let's start with how you dress yourself. If you are plus-size you probably
have flesh that jiggles. (At the right time, and in the right place,
I hope you learn to appreciate and enjoy your jiggling self. There is
nothing wrong with flesh that moves! Actually, it can be quite delightful.
Jiggling flesh can be like a wave of life, laughter, moving, and being,
that stirs through your whole body.) However, when you walk, jiggling
can cause discomfort or chaffing.
Let's talk about your thighs. Both men and women have
thighs that rub together when walking. You can tell if this applies
to you by looking at your pants. If your pants wear out in the inner
thighs, then you need this next bit of advice. When walking, wear shorts
or tights that are slippery and supportive. For guys, these are sometimes
called biker shorts or biker pants. For women they are called shorts,
capris, or leggings. There are many fabrics that are slippery, elastic,
and supportive. A familiar fabric is nylon spandex. There are others
like Cool Max, Quick Wick, and others. The important thing is that the
fabric helps support soft flesh, prevent rubbing / chaffing, and is
comfortable. (You can find these kind of fitness clothes at http://www.junonia.com
If you are a woman, wear a supportive sports bra. If you
cannot find a bra that stops you from bouncing, wear two bras. I'm not
kidding. You may feel a little claustrophobic at first, but when you
are walking, it feels great to walk without bouncing. (You can take
the bras off as soon as you are done.) Whether you are a guy or gal,
you can have problems with jiggling chest and belly. For guys try a
fitted nylon spandex undershirt for support under your T-shirt or sweats.
When you tuck your spandex undershirt into your bike shorts or pants
you will get double support for your belly. For women, wearing a leotard
can add extra support to both belly and breasts. When you add a leotard
to your supportive tights or leggings, you get double support for your
belly. Over your support layer of choice, you can wear any T-shirt,
sweatshirt, or pants you want. You can choose baggy or fitted. There
are no rules except your comfort. You can cover-up or uncover. It is
up to you.
With your chest, belly, and legs supported, finally I
want to comment on shoes. Even if you are just walking a short distance,
it is necessary to have shoes that support your arches, stabilize your
feet, and absorb shock. It is time to get new shoes when your heels
start to wear on the outside or your foot slides to the outside of the
shoe. Wearing quality shoes that are not worn out may prevent an injury.
Your feet are the foundation for your whole body when you stand or walk.
You need good shoes. Occasionally, I work with a client who is very
large and who has stopped wearing shoes because it is too difficult
to find shoes that fit. Especially if you are large or very large, you
need the support of shoes that fit your feet when you walk. If you stop
wearing shoes, you will probably soon stop walking. Especially if you
find it difficult to wear shoes, you need good shoes to keep your mobility.
Even if you never leave the house, you need good shoes.
Many pages ago I started commenting
on the 'simple' exercise of walking. It ain't
really simple at all! That is important. If you think a task
is simple, and it is really complicated, you will probably get stuck
somewhere and not finish the task. When you realize the steps involved
and take them one at a time, you have set yourself up for success.
There are more things to talk about when it comes to walking.
I will get back to this topic in future newsletters. Please email me with your questions and suggestions.
If you cannot walk, you can get creative and move your body in ways
that do work for you.
Please feel free to call me so that we can do a problem solving session
and come up with ideas.
Some possibilities include:
- sitting workouts
and ALL the videos listed below it on the page.
- (if you use a wheelchair) "wheeling" around a mall or
other accessible location.
- swimming or water exercise ... on your own or in a class
- weight training where you sit and use the weights
- dancing in your chair
ALL bodies function better and heal faster when we move. So get moving
and take care of your body today... it is the only body you will ever
TEN different videos are available to meet individual
(click link below for more information)
When people get more active, the body heals faster
and functions better.
Fill out this questionnaire to see Which
Workout for YOU, or CALL me! I will be glad to help.