Getting Into Fitness

For many years, off and on, I have walked during my lunch hour.  It has always been for fitness but, now that I am getting older, I am focusing much more on making sure I get in five workouts per week.  My usual lunchtime walk is three to four miles, depending on the weather and how ambitious I feel that day.  It is much easier to push yourself on a mild spring day than when it is just reaching 32 degrees!

Last January, I decided to get serious about my walking.  I joined the 2017 You Vs. the Year challenge (find 2018’s here) through Under Armour’s MapMyRun app.  This challenge is for runners but it allowed me to easily track my miles while walking.  The goal was to run (walk for me) 1,017 kilometers over the course of the year.  It was great motivation and I hit the goal at the end of September.  So far for 2018, I have walked 113.6 kilometers.  I really enjoy watching the kilometers add up!  Note, Under Armour also runs a Map My Walk website and app.

Going along with my off-and-on-then-again-serious walking, I have purchased a FitBit exercise tracker.  I am actually on my fourth – one was a clip-on version and the rest are worn on the wrist.  All have worked well for me; I have upgraded based on new features offered and…ahem…losing one of them at the shore.  The latest one I own is the Charge 2, it gives me my heart rate and tracks different types of exercise in addition to daily steps taken.  This new FitBit is my 2018 motivation to start doing more varied exercises – like biking and weight lifting.  I do not know if this particular brand is any better than other brands but they have all worked well for me.  Take a look at PC Magazine’s or cNet’s comparison of 2018 models to see what is out there and how they have rated them.

Pulling all of this background information together…

I had my step tracker.  I had my distance-tracking app.  I had my lunch hour.  All I needed to do was find out where to walk that was the right number of miles.  This is where Google Maps came in and their way of figuring out route distance.  Many of you may know about this feature - I did not and I was so excited when I found it!  Go to Google Maps and search for your starting point (I used the library’s address).  Right-click on the location – a menu will pop up.  Click on “measure distance.”  All you need to do then is click on the map to see the distance between points.  You can click as many times as you need to get an accurate picture of the route (like for going around curves) and the feet add up automatically.  I now have about five different ways I can alter my route to get the mileage I need.

If you are just getting into walking, the Mercer County Library System has resources to help:

Walking: A Complete Guide to the Complete Exercise by Casey Meyers
Prevention’s Complete Book of Walking: Everything You Need to Know to Walk Your Way to Better Health by Maggie Spilner
Aerobic Walking: The Weight Loss Exercise: A Complete Program to Reduce Weight, Stress and Hypertension by Mort Malkin
The Walking Diet: Walk Back to Fitness in 30 Days by Les Snowdon

And for the really hard-core: Marathoning for Mortals: A Regular Person’s Guide to Running or Walking a Half-Marathon or Marathon by John Bingham

If walking on the road is difficult for you, try a few walking DVDs and follow along with the instructor in your living room.  Leslie Sansone has a popular series for all levels of walker.

And, to keep you interested during your walk, download or stream music and audiobooks through hoopla, Freegal and eLibraryNJ.  I have enjoyed listening to many audiobooks downloaded from eLibraryNJ right onto my iPhone.  All for free!

- Andrea, Hopewell Branch    


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