One thing that I have been very good at this last year is keeping up with exercise.  If not, I would have been much worse off physically than I am.  My main exercise strategy is walking, though I use other means in a pinch.  I like walking because it’s not too hard on my joints and because it gets me outside in the fresh air and sunshine.  That is good for my soul.  And so, here are my exercise tools that keep me plugging away.

My first motivation is Scamp, my Australian Shepherd.  Don’t let the picture fool you – he is high energy and needs walks.  Guilt is a great motivator, especially when my lack of action affects others.  Scamp needs walks, so I walk.

To enhance my walk (as if being outside in God’s beautiful creation needed any enhancing), I like to use my itouch to listen to.  I created a playlist of walking songs – songs that have a good brisk beat.  My musician/OCD tendencies won’t let me walk to music out of step to the beat, so I just made sure that I walk to “Start Me Up” rather than “Angie.”  I have a few hundred songs selected and set the itouch to Shuffle, so I get lots of nice surprises.

More bells and whistles: I use the Nike + on my itouch.  It’s fun and useful.  I have a sensor and a holder for it that I lace on my shoes since I don’t have the special Nike shoes with the slot in the sole.  I can select various workouts, such as time, or distance that I want to walk.  My choice is calories, and I set it at 400.  A four hundred calorie walk at my weight and my speed will take me just under 4 miles and just under an hour.  During the walk, Lance Armstrong speaks to me every 50 calories, to tell me where I am.  At 200 calories, he tells me I’m halfway there, and then he starts counting down.  At the end of my walk, Lance tells me how far I went, how fast, and how many calories I burned.  When I reach milestones, such as 250 miles walked so far, he tells me.  When I walk the furthest or the fastest I’ve ever walked, he tells me.  It is a great motivator for my competitive soul.  I can also plug the itouch into the computer and go to Nike + to keep track of my walks online.  The site makes a graph of my walks and allows me to set challenges for myself or even challenge others.  I keep track online, but that’s about it.

Sometimes, time or weather just don’t allow me to walk.  On those days, I choose between the exercise bike (listening to podcasts on my itouch) or doing an exercise video.  My exercise bike is a very basic Schwinn, and it does a good job.  I choose podcasts to listen to instead of music because riding a stationary bike in a basement is pretty darn boring, and the podcasts keep me going.

The exercise video I like is Jeanette Jenkins.  I tried out several videos through Netflix and settled on this one.  Some were too hard on my joints, and others were just annoying.  I like Jeanette for several reasons: her workouts are simple, they  work for my body and its challenges (bad knees, bad back), and they are effective.  Jeanette is not annoying, but she is upbeat.  Sometimes she sounds like a drill sergeant, barking out commands, but she keeps me going.

It seems like a lot of unnecessary expense, my exercise tools, but using these, I have kept to the same exercise routine for about 2 years, the last year very faithfully.  What price can you put on that?  Also, compared to a health club, I’m coming off fairly well.  If I were to offer advice, it would be to find something that you like, that is convenient enough to eliminate excuses, and then make it as enjoyable as possible.