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WALKING: The All-Season, All-Weather Fibromyalgia Fitness Solution

  [ 15 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Sue Ingebretson • • September 24, 2013

After the hectic busyness of summer activities, your fitness routine may be the last thing on your mind. After all, it’s time to slow down and pace yourself, right?

Yes, your instincts are spot on. There’s nothing the matter with wanting to slow down a bit – as long as the operative word is slow. Grinding to a halt – or stopping – is where we get into trouble.

That’s why creating a healthy paced routine now is the best way to assure your fitness success through the seasons ahead.

After my fibromyalgia diagnosis, I did a bunch of research on what fitness programs interested me. Here’s the truth: none of them did. All I could see is why I couldn’t do any of them.

Running or jogging? Not likely.
Wearing spandex to a gym? Not gonna happen.
Working out in my jammies at home? Well… it’s hard to object to that.

Getting Started

I’ve written about how I began my own fitness programs before and you may wish to revisit this Motivation Article to review. As I detailed in that article, I started by doing simple stretching exercises on the floor and moved on to trying some fitness DVDs I checked out at the library. I also had another reason to develop my own fitness routine. I wanted to make good use of the money I’d spent on a fitness machine I picked up at an after Christmas sale. It was large, awkward, plastic, and never worked very well, but it did get me going. In fact, I did it for so long, that I actually wore the plastic tracks right off of it.

I have no idea how many miles I put on that silly contraption, but I do know the result of my efforts. My fitness routines had become a healthy habit.

I was a changed woman and I’ve never looked back.

Later, I incorporated walking – both outside and in – to my routine. I found it easy, doable, and flexible to fit my time and budget. When the weather wasn’t as cooperative, I walked to DVDs at home. Later as I memorized the routines, I found myself doing the steps while I watched any program.

You can’t argue with the convenience of walking. It can be done anywhere, any time, and with no special equipment. It can be done very gently and slowly to start, and it’s easy to build up your own stamina for longer walks. Unlike dance classes, there’s no coordination or special skills required. Quality walking shoes are a good idea; jammies are optional.

My favorite walking DVDs are by Leslie Sansone, the walking fitness queen (that’s my definition and probably not hers). Her DVDs are inexpensive and readily available both online and at discount stores such as Target. The other great benefit is that there’s such a wide variety of options from which to choose.

Are you looking to begin a fitness program but not sure where to start? I’d suggest a review of the helpful resources found in Leslie Sansone’s book, Walk Away the Pounds. While this isn’t a new release, the guidance provided within is timeless. The reason why the book is a great addition to your fitness library is the step by step accountability it provides. It walks you through (pun intended) six weeks of suggestions, training, support, encouragement, and tracking assistance to make sure that your walking experience is fun, enjoyable, and practical. A fundamental walking DVD is included.

By the time you’ve completed the initial six weeks, you’re sure to have created a routine for life. This means the habit of fitness will be deeply ingrained and you’ll be able to adjust your activity choices and levels to suit your needs. Walking is just one of the many options to try. The habits generated after this six-week program will assist you in translating the habit to multiple other activities. Remember that variety is the spice that keeps things fresh.

The Secret to Creating a Healthy Habit

It may surprise you to learn that creating a healthy habit takes more than just the initiative to try it. Understanding your motivation for change goes a long way toward making it a regular routine.

Here are a few questions you may wish to write down and explore in your journal or diary:

  1. Why do I want to be healthier tomorrow than I am today?

  2. Who can I enlist to support me and my health goals?

  3. How can I arrange my day to make my fitness plans a priority?

  4. How can I support and reward myself for my fitness success?

  5. How can I easily and simply track my progress?

For more supportive information on question #5, you may wish to revisit this article on Fitness Tracking for Success.

As you can see, creating your personalized fitness program is simply one part of a life long journey. It grows and changes as you become stronger and healthier. It’s about so much more than just the fitness routines. In my own personal health transformation, I discovered that becoming healthier enabled me to have stronger, more supportive relationships. It helped me to handle and deal with stress in healthier ways. It helped me to make better decisions and choices about food, work, and my surroundings.

The bottom line is that getting healthy and fit has a profound effect on every aspect of your life. It’s my wish that you receive the transformational benefits that I did once I implemented a regular fitness routine into my day.

And, to make your steps a bit lighter, here’s a walking chant I was delighted to find in Leslie’s Sansome’s book:

Happily may I walk.
May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.

                 – Navaho Night Chant



Sue Ingebretson ( is an author, speaker, certified holistic health care practitioner and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. She is also a Patient Advocate/Fibromyalgia Expert for the Alliance Health website and a Fibromyalgia editor for the ProHealth website community.

Her #1 Amazon best-selling chronic illness book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. She is also the creator of the FibroFrog™- a therapeutic stress-relieving tool which provides powerful healing benefits with fun and whimsy.

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