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The following is an excerpt from the book The Ultimate New York Diet

by David Kirsch
Published by McGraw-Hill; October 2006;$24.95US/$29.95CAN; 0-07-147582-6
Copyright © 2006 David Kirsch

One Formal Walk and Many Informal Walks
Devote time to one major walking (or running or some other type of cardio) session at least a few times a week. Start with whatever amount of time you can physically maintain, increasing the duration each week by about five minutes. Do intervals for most of your walk. That means doing bursts of faster walking (or running, depending on your fitness) that will seriously increase your heart rate and work your muscles to the max. You can do your intervals outside or on a treadmill. Start by walking (or jogging) five minutes at your usual pace to warm up. Then alternate two minutes of faster walking or running with two minutes of recovery walking or running. Your faster pace should feel like an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 in intensity, and your easy pace should be a 4 or 5. If you prefer to cycle, row, or do some other form of cardio, go right ahead, alternating two minutes of faster-paced work with two minutes of recovery exercise.

In addition to a formal daily walk, take numerous miniwalks throughout the course of the day.

Adding Steps For . . . 
Here are some ways to add a few daily miniwalks, depending on your lifestyle.

Busy Parents with Young Babies. Nearly all infants love riding in a stroller. More often than not, the stroller will soothe your baby to sleep. As an added bonus, if you have a colicky baby, your stroller time may be your only quiet time during your day. I knew one mother whose colicky baby cried from 3:00 P.M. to midnight on most days. She often put the baby in a stroller and walked a half-mile loop around her neighborhood --  over and over again. Without fail, the screaming always stopped by the time she reached the end of the driveway, giving her the entire walk to collect her thoughts and wits before returning home. If you have more than one child, bring the older one along on your walks or walk with the baby around the playground while keeping an eye on the older one playing on the equipment.

In addition to giving yourself some needed quiet time, daily walks with your infant will help you to reduce stress and lift your mood, which can help fight off the postpartum blues that stem from shifting hormone levels. You'll also bathe yourself and your baby in sunlight, which, research shows, will help you both to sleep better at night, particularly if you take a morning walk.

In addition to burning calories by walking, you'll also tone your chest and arms as you push the stroller, especially if you take things uphill. 

Start with an infant stroller that allows you to place your baby in a car seat facing you. This provides your baby more comfort, as many newborns don't particularly like being flat on their backs. It also provides a better vantage point for you to see what your baby is doing. By around six months, when your baby can sit upright, you can progress to a jog stroller, which is lighter and easier to maneuver than the typical baby stroller.

For a little more variety, consider taking things off road by placing your infant in a front-style or backpack baby carrier, depending on his or her age. This adds weight to your body, forcing your legs to work harder. As with the stroller, your infant will probably fall asleep in the pack, giving you needed quiet time.

If you are stuck indoors on a rainy day, you can still sneak in more steps. Put your infant in a sling or baby carrier and walk up and down the steps in your home or apartment. Or, drive to an indoor mall and power walk as you window-shop.

Busy Parents with Children Age One and Older. Some parents tell me that their children at around age one just say "no" to the stroller, backpack, and bike trailer. These on-the-go children simply don't want to be contained. If that's the case, I strongly encourage you to carve out some "you" time where you can get in a longer, uninterrupted walk at a brisk pace. Perhaps you can share babysitting with another parent. One day you watch the kids so your friend can have some child-free time. On another day he or she watches them so you can walk or run.

Consider forming a walking club for other parents with young children. Meet at a nearby track or park. Everyone should bring blankets, toys, and, of course, children. During each meeting, one or two parents sit it out to supervise the kids while the other parents walk or run. Use these additional ideas to sneak in more steps:

People Who Work Lots of Hours at a Desk Job. Many of my clients spend more time at work, thinking about work, and getting ready for work than they do any other activity. Even when they're not in the office, they generally are still working either by cell phone or notebook computer -- or both. I often ask them what they do to stay active during the day, and here I've compiled some of their tricks.

People Who Travel for Business. Although you can't help but remain motionless during a certain part of the travel experience, you probably have more opportunities to sneak in steps than you think. Consider the following tactics.

People Who Are on Vacation. Although many people backslide during their vacations, I personally think your time off from work and away from home is the easiest time to sneak in fitness. Each vacation destination will offer up its unique set of touristy ways that can keep you fit on the road. If you are staying near a lake or pond, look into paddleboat, canoe, or rowboat rentals. If you are staying in snow-capped mountains, look into skiing, snowshoeing, and snow hiking. If you're at the shore, try some bodysurfing, bodyboarding, paddleball, beach football (my favorite), and beach volleyball. If you're staying at a vacation home, see if there's a horseshoe pit and start up a game. Walk on the beach. Wade through the hotel swimming pool. Consider the following options.

Copyright © 2006 David Kirsch