Where To Exercise: Walking, Running And Activity Location Ideas

You don't need a private gym or workout room to burn calories. Use one or more of these accessible locations to get in shape.

Today people are more health-conscious than ever before. From teens to 90-somethings, folks concerned about their weight and well-being are finding new and exciting ways to get moving.

While a private gym or weekend spa would be nice, most of us can't go that route. Instead, we must rely on convenient locales to support our efforts to get in shape. If you're not sure where to base your workout routine, here are a few ideas:

1. Give it a try at home. Get a stationary bicycle or treadmill for your private workout area at home. Park it in the bedroom, the family room, the guest room, or the basement and jump on whenever you have a few minutes. If you're concerned about the toddlers climbing on it or guests' comments, drape a sheet or blanket over your exercise equipment when others are around. Nothing is more convenient than a piece of equipment located inside your house or apartment. Even if you can't afford the equipment, you can get a step-counter and keep walking all over the house or up and down steps for thirty minutes or so each day. No one will see you and you can do it whenever you like.

2. Take to the streets. If you have a sizable lawn, measure out a distance around the perimeter of about an eighth or a quarter of a mile. Then cover your path as many rounds as you can each day. You may want to do this when the neighbors are at work, although they probably won't even notice. Take care, too, that frequent usage may wear a path in your grass. Depending on where you live, you may want to race-walk around your neighborhood; get a neighbor friend to walk with you as an exercise buddy.

3. Visit the park. Go only with a partner and if it's truly safe; check with a park ranger to be sure. Your walking buddy and you also can stroll the zoo, a museum, or a school's athletic field as exercise as well as an entertainment diversion. Use your imagination to find safe local places to walk to or around for your daily constitutional. If you plan to use the zoo, get a season pass to offset the admittance fee.

4. Check the local gym or fitness center. Find out if discount passes are available. Some offer walking- or jogging-only memberships for a reduced fee. That way you can walk on a path that is especially designed to support your feet and provide a safe and supportive environment as well. YMCA's and other community or civic organizations sometimes sponsor fitness facilities or events.

5. Walk the mall. If you have a shopping center relatively close, see if there is a walking program available first thing each morning. While stores don't open until 9 or 10 a.m., the mall's doors may be open earlier, with security available for those who want to slip in for a few rounds of fast walking. Many older folks or moms with babies in strollers take advantage of this option and enjoy a fast food coffee break afterward before heading home again.

You also may be able to walk around your workplace; some provide walking tracks for this purpose. Or you can stroll at lunchtime if you don't mind working up a slight sweat. Look around wherever you live or work, and you are sure to find various sites for your daily workout. Even 20 minutes can make a difference in your overall health and well-being, so get started today!

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