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    Featured Article
    Start a Walking Program

    By Harriet Hodgson

    Starting a walking program is a personal commitment to fitness. Like many walkers, you may have started out strong and then your walking program disappeared in the hustle and bustle of life. You may be disappointed in yourself. You may play mental games with yourself as well and find all sorts of excuses for not walking: weather, job responsibilities, kids' schedules, and more. How can you get back on the fitness path? Here are 15 practical tips.

    1. Put walking on your calendar and think of it as an appointment you must keep.

    2. Set a new goal. You may add strength training to your walking program or walk additional steps.

    3. Work towards your new goal in increments. If you start to lift weights, for example, lift small ones.

    4. Check your walking shoes for wear and replace them, if necessary.

    5. Wear socks that wick moisture away from your feet. When your feet are wet walking isn't fun.

    6. Get a walking buddy. You may ask one of your best friends to walk with you, or invite a new neighbor to join you on your morning walk.

    7. Start a walking group or join one. Companionship can be the difference between walking and not walking.

    8. Bring kids and grandkids along. Your fitness model could have a huge impact on a children's lives.

    9. Cut yourself some slack. Fitness is a goal that takes time and is worth your time.

    10. Always have an alternate plan. If the forecast is rain, call your walking buddy or walking group members and agree to walk at the mall.

    11. Walk in place while you are waiting for coffee to brew, on the phone, or watching television. You will be amazed at how many steps you accrue.

    12. Make walking an event. You may go on a bird walk, historic walk, or fall walk and look at the changing leaves.

    13. Vary your time and route. Variety can add spark to an "ordinary" walk.

    14. Participate in a charity walk. Check your local newspaper and the American Heart Association for more information.

    15. Reward yourself. You started out on the fitness path and you are still on it!

    Copyright 2006 by Harriet Hodgson

    Harriet Hodgson has been a nonfiction writer for 27 years and is a member of the Assciation of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She is on a walking program and averages 10,000 steps a day. Hodgson's 24th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipatng Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. You will find another review on the American Hospice Foundation website under the "School Corner" heading.

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