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Book Review: Walking for Health

I’ve had The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walking for Health by Erika Peters on my shelf for two years and just opened it this week. I’m an avid walker and did not think I needed to read a book on the topic. My bad. After just a quick dip into the book, I learned at least five new ideas that will improve my walking routine.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walking for Health is packed full of information on every topic you can think of related to walking: how to get started, walking to lose weight, what to wear, taking care of your feet, and taking it to the next level. The book’s basic facts are a good reminder for even the most seasoned walkers. Peters teaches readers how to use heart rate as a measure for training effectively. She provides charts to help readers understand and improve their cardiovascular fitness. In addition, Peters has included photos of stretches that will keep the walker fit and injury free. For more experienced walkers, Peters offers challenges: walk faster, add intervals, or take a walking vacation.

As a writer, I spend much of my day sitting down, staring at a screen. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, scientists have connected prolonged sitting to all sorts of health troubles, even if the sitter exercises daily. Yikes. Since reading that report again, I’ve made an effort to get out of my chair at least once an hour and do something physical: put away laundry, walk around the block, or stretch. Unfortunately, I often get so involved in my work that I forget to take breaks and move.

This morning while I lifted weights, I listened to Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility by Ellen Langer. She cited several studies about priming. When we are exposed to positive health-related information, we make healthier choices. It occurred to me that I need to keep books like this one at my breakfast table—so I can prime myself to move more every day.  That’s my advice for you. Put your healthy living book in places where you will flip through them every single day. No doubt you will be walking more, eating better, and feeling good.

Remember readers, you can win a copy of this book by commenting on the blog this week. I’d like to hear how walking has affected your writing.

3 Responses

  1. Sarah L.

    This exactly the kind of resource I’ve been looking for recently. I want to start an intentional walking program and haven’t found the kind of all purpose resource to guide me. I know walking will help my physical and emotional health, as well as my creative energy. Thanks for this, Rochelle.

  2. Beth Hoffmann

    I expect I too would benefit from reading this book. Until I seize an opportunity to be enlightened by another writer’s tips, I’ll share experiences of more mundane walking.
    Sometimes I try to be effective by walking each stray thing from a place it doesn’t belong to the place I will look for it the next time I want it. That gives me more exercise than trying to be efficient by gathering several items that belong in the same general area (because that’s where I’ll look when I want to use them) and walking just once to put away all of them.
    As I walk from my workspace to the lunch space, I often pick up litter, and sometimes as I get that extra bending exercise, I find coins. I use the device a friend taught me, “If it’s in my left pocket, it’s not mine.” When I return to my workspace, I transfer the coin from my left pocket into a ceramic object that was a gift. The gift’s shape calls to mind Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” When collections for good causes come through the workplace, my day is brighter because I have something to contribute, even if the event is halfway between paydays and I have no earned income from which to share.
    Collecting for charities in the neighborhood gives me walking and writing opportunities. Instead of mailing solicitations, I walk up one side of the street and down the other, visiting each home and inviting people on the block to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. The organization usually includes a list of the addresses, so I can type a small gift of a few address labels as a thank you for each neighbor.
    Can you recall my definition of “put away,” replicate my borrowed means of protecting reserved funds, or rebuke the possible villain behind fundraising requests enclosing unsolicited return address labels?

  3. Pingback : Is Writing Making You Fat? | Write Now Coach! Blog

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