Walking is a widely recommended way to get exercise; it doesn't require a gym, membership dues or fancy equipment. However, those who walk frequently for fitness can get into a rut, doing the same course over and over. To the rescue is "The Walking Deck: 50 Ways to Walk Yourself Healthy" (Chronicle Books, 2005). The cards encourage walkers to diversify their routine so they get more out of their workouts.
The Walking Deck: This system, the latest in a series of oversized fitness card decks (there's also the Yoga Deck, the Strength and Toning Deck and the Pilates Deck), helps walkers find new challenges. Categories include stretches, toning exercises, walking techniques, tips for monitoring your fitness and specialty walks, such as the meditation walk, which suggests mindful breathing. Each card has an illustration and detailed written instructions.
"Exercise shouldn't be medicine, it should be something you look forward to," says author Shirley Archer, a Palo Alto-based health and wellness educator for the Stanford Health Improvement Program. "But today's lifestyle is such that we have to create strategic plans to get exercise. What I did was show people all the ways they could make their walking fun and inviting."
Price: $14.95; available at bookstores and at www.chroniclebooks.com.
-- Jeannine Stein