Home > Blog

Helen has an exercise revelation

Wednesday 3 November, 2010 by Helen

So exercise. Probably up there with quitting smoking as the trickiest of the Magnificent Seven ways to cut your cancer risk.  I was compelled to put pen to blog to share some revelatory news about exercise that I found out last week which has cured my perpetual ‘plan to do exercise - fail to do exercise - experience self-loathing' problem.

I want to point out so I don't look lazy that this isn't a year-round problem. Just when the hockey season is over.

So in lieu of hockey training, I try to think of good ways of exercising and every Sunday night I sit down and allocate one exercise activity to each day in the week.

I start with lofty thoughts of tennis (too expensive as a regular exercise fetish), rock climbing (too dependent on finding a climbing partner free on the same day as you who you trust not to drop you) and finding a netball team (requires short skirt and sometimes matching hair ribbons).

So it usually comes down to running (cheap and quick but hateful), cycling (good but I cycle to work every day and it hasn't made me thin) and swimming (good once you're in the pool but sometimes I just don't feel like getting wet, you know?).

So get to the revelation I hear you cry. Ok here it is:

Walking for 5km burns pretty much the same calories as running for 5km!

Amazing! Maybe I should have worked this out before and maybe you did already but hey. I found it amazing.

Obviously it depends a bit on how much you weigh, and your walking pace being around half your running pace but broadly this is pretty much the case.

So now instead of thinking ‘yes I'm going running, yes I'm going running' all day then getting home and saying ‘I really can't be bothered and anyway I hate running' then hating myself, I just go for a long walk on the beach. Or at least I've done that twice.

Yes, it takes half an hour longer than running the same distance, but personally I'd rather an hour of painless and mentally relaxing walking listening to my iPod than half an hour thinking ‘oh god my knees hurt, this is awful, I still have 4k to go'.

Another tip for free: when you go out in the morning, put your exercise clothes by the front door and when you get in put it on right there and don't walk any further. ‘Just sitting down for a moment' is the biggest killer of exercise-related intentions.

While I'm on the topic of running, I'd like to recommend this book:


As a fiction reader I can't say I was over-keen to read it but a three-week Outback trip without books forced me into it.

Man! It was fascinating! It gives me hope that one day I'll be a runner, even though when I tried running in bare feet and on the balls of my feet instead of the heels (as per the book's main recommendation) I got chronic calf strain.

But anyhow. The moral of this post?

Maintaining a healthy weight via exercise (and therefore cutting your cancer risk) isn't always about a sweaty, panting hour on the squash court - a lovely brisk walk can do just as much good for reducing your waistline and cutting your cancer risk, you just need to have a bit of time on your hands.

Let me know any tips you have that help you overcome exercise skipping behaviour!


Generally as a late riser if I organise and have my exercise gear ready to go (clothes, shoes, towel & ipod) the night before and lay it out at the end of my bed or prepack it into my backpack I'm much more likely to head out to the planned exercise activity the next day. Doing it with a friend adds an extra kick since your friend will then be relying on you & you couldn't possibly let them down. Lastly swapping it up every second day is good - there are heaps of dance class vouchers all over the internet at the moment (Scoopon/Zoupon/Ouffer). Take some salsa classes like me it could cost you less than $2 a lesson and be tonnes of fun!

From: Suzanna, 15/04/2013

Thanks Helen, you're blog inspired me to walk to work this morning (it helps that the sun was shining!) and I feel smug in the knowledge I may have burnt just as many calories as a dutiful trot around Albert Park. Go me!

From: Sam, 15/04/2013

My tips: If I label it 'exercise', I'm much more likely to avoid it than if I label it 'getting to work' or 'catching up with friends'. I figure, I'm usually late to work anyway, so it doesn't make that much difference to walk it (25 mins) rather than ride it (10 mins). Even better if colleague(s) walk with me and go the long way around (aka via the coffee shop). And going to 2 hours of dance class with friends sounds like fun, rather than exercise, and ticks my other box for appealing physical activity by being located in a pub rather than a gym. Signing up to do a performance is an excellent way to make me actually turn up to class. Even if I did end up falling over in front of several hundred people due to over-enthusiastic charlestoning...

From: Jen, 15/04/2013

Well done Helen!!! Like the recommendation about the book - I will try and check it out. I am one of those that "loves" running...however some ITBS and hips problems over the last few years has meant I have had to broaden my exercise interests. I have started reading "50 Marathons in 50 Days" by Dean Karnasas. I am not suggesting that any of us even consider this feat but it is an easy read with some interesting stories and is even quite amusing at times!! Okay, he is a pretty amazing dude!

From: Marnie, 15/04/2013

Leave a comment

Read our blog participation guidelines and join the discussion. (Please note: Your first name will appear with your comment, but your surname and email address will not be shown.)

Security Code   Change Image
Write the characters in the image above