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Dear Doctor: I used to do daily walks every morning. Lately, however, I’ve lost the will to get up at 5:30 in the morning and walk. The weight and the inches have creeped up on me again. I wake up with a heavy feeling in the morning and can’t get enough sleep at night. I really would like to find the willpower to restart my walking program even for three times a week.

Dear Reader: First, I need to tell you that chronic fatigue could be the sign of a physical problem. Your body may be trying to tell you something. Always consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise program. Exercise can help relieve stress and combat many of the signs of depression. Physical activity improves one’s sense of well-being and improves efficiency at home and work. Thoughtful exercise is “good medicine.” If you feel you may have a medical problem, consult a professional. Assuming that you have already done so, here are several suggestions to keep you moving. 1.Get a buddy. This step alone will help your program immensely. Both in motivation and encouragement, a buddy helps keep you focused and can push you through those times when you want to duck out. 2.Challenge yourself. Pick an upcoming race or marathon. The length doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t even matter if you run or walk. The main goal is to finish and reach that sense of accomplishment. Challenge a co-worker or friend to a wager. The competition alone will spark your interest. 3.Try something new. If you get into a rut, change the scenery. 5:30 am may not be the best time for you to attempt a workout. Find out what time is best for you by trying a different time of day or trying a new route, anything to break up the monotony. 4.Vary your workout. Even with a walking only program, there are ways to vary your workout. Walk slowly at first then faster, then slower again and then finish with a bang! Of course, you should always “cool down”, but the variation in intensity is great for your mind as well as your body. 5.Use a pedometer. For some, a pedometer can increase the sense of accomplishment. Look at your workout in number of steps instead of miles and see the time fly! 6.Wear good shoes. What’s most important is how the shoes feel on your feet. Don’t necessarily pay attention to brand names or pricing to determine your choice. When you find a pair that works, stick with it, but replace them every 6 months to be sure you are getting the most out of your money. 7.Set small goals and REWARD yourself. Start small; don’t reach for the moon right away. Setting lofty goals can set you up for failure. You don’t always have to use losing pounds as your goal. Count steps, miles, inches, laps, anything that will allow you to actually see the results.
8.Report your success. Tell your significant other about your achievements. This will work two fold. You will hear yourself state your accomplishments out loud, which really makes them “real”, and you will receive praise and encouragement from loved ones, a true reward in itself. 9.Breathe deeply. Pay attention to your breathing. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Remain calm and focus on your breathing. 10.Listen to music. If your buddy is on vacation, bring along your walkman radio. But remember; stay aware of your environment. Maybe keep your volume low enough to hear someone talking to you or a horn blowing. Be safe! According to, if the more than 88 million inactive Americans started taking a daily walk, we’d save more than $76 billion per year in medical costs. How does that sound? Sounds like a program worth sticking to; don’t you think? If you would like any more information on this or other health related topics, call the McCollough Institute for Appearance and Health at 251-967-7600, email or visit our website If you would like to ask Dr. McCollough a question, please Contact Us.

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