Fitness, Fun and Travel: Visit all the State Capitals "Virtually"

Posted by: Kathy Harmon on 7/29/2010
We are constantly told that exercise is good for virtually everything:  weight control, reduction or elimination of  symtoms of most illnesses, vigor, attitude, flexibility, stamina, sex drive, concentration and productivity.  We hear it, we read it so why don't we do it?  It's not because we are lazy.

Here are my excuses.  I grew up a well-fed child.  Chunky would be a gentle term for my size at age 12.  I didn't play sports.  Activities that make you sweat were never "fun".  In my house feeding you was an expression of love and everything came to the table drowning in butter.  Meals were hearty and our kitchen was always filled with a variety of desserts. 

I work 14-20 hour days.  I love it but it makes it easy to put exercise on a back burner.  Every morning I am greeted by stacks of messages, hundreds of e-mails, a full cell phone mailbox and appointment calendar.  Sound familiar? I am a graduate of every diet program known to mankind.  I've never hit the optimum weight number on the medical charts and tend to hover in the 20-30 lb over range.  I love to cook and relish feeding family and friends.  I have a weakness for dark chocolate and a really good vodka. BUT I'd love to be thinner and, although I dread the first few minutes of a vigorous walk, the endorphines are a delicious treat.

I'm a fairly typical "A" personality Boomer who regularly sets and exceeds goals, loves hard work and challenges.  So, what's my problem?  My history of diet programs tells me that food is my fall-back position for anything negative like stress, fatigue and  technical breakdowns and that food is an addiction that requires a "rehab" program and constant vigilance.  I get it but sometimes chocolate just makes me feel better.   So, if I could just balance my food intake with enough exercise to burn the calories I take in (and a few more) the problem would be solved. 

I few years ago, one of my husband's colleagues told me how he stays on track.  He set as his goal walking  to all of the state capitals. I'm pretty sure we are talking lower 48 here.     With a wrist pedometer, a baggy of stick pins he walks outside in good weather, at the gyn or on his home treadmil.  He shopped AAA and a store called Latitudes to find a good size US mapwhich now hangs on his off wall.    He then plotted distances between the capital cities using an old Atlas and started his journey.  At three to five miles a day it took  him nearly two months to walk to the capital of an adjorning state and exactly a year to reach the east coast from his home in the midwest.  Last I heard he was about a third of the way to his goal and considering adding Hawaii and Alaska.  An interesting thing happened along the way.   His goal became the journey not the weight loss.  He found that on the days when he was "almost there" he would pick up the pace and put in an extra mile or two. 

Today I came across another element that could make this program more attractive.  Internet mapping sites have begun to add visuals to directional maps that let the viewer see what they would encounter on a road trip along the plotted route.  S0, now you can  take a virtual tour.  With a computer screen in site you can plot your journey.  Or, place a reading rack on your treadmill, with an I-PAD or any device with internet access and off you go.  Here's the Kathy challenge.  I've always done better at weight loss when I had to weight in.  I'll get the map and plot the first year's journey today and would be delighted if  you would join me.  I'm fairly competitive so let's make it a race.  I'll clock our progress on the blog page every Friday.  I'll list all participants in order of distance traveled.   I doubt I'll  leave anyone in the dust but I will keep up, stay consistent and may reap those wonderful benefits that medical research promises.  Guilt has always been one of my top three motivators!
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