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Support your walking buddy

What you can do to motivate her

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What do you do when your motivation needs motivation? Halifax-based personal trainer Cia Tweel offers five surefire ways to keep your walking buddy moving – so she can keep you moving, too.

Pencil it in
Schedule a regular walking date with a friend and put in your calender – for example, Wednesdays at lunch – and make it a consistent part of your weekly routine. “You’ll be more likely to go because you won’t want to disappoint your buddy,” says Tweel, who owns Cia’s Body Works in Halifax. Call your buddy on workout days to remind her. If she tries to bail, tell her that you need her support. “It’s rare for both of you to be demotivated or lazy on the same day,” says Tweel, “and accountability helps to motivate.”

Keep a beat
“It’s no secret that when people hear music, they start moving,” says Tweel. Create and share playlists with your walking buddy. It can be as simple as trading iPods and hearing some fresh tunes to swing your arms to. Of course your music shouldn’t be so loud as to discourage gossip exchange, which is an important part of any walking partnership.

Make it fun
“Wear a pedometer,” suggests Tweel. “Play a game with each other to see how many steps you can do and increase the amount gradually every day.” Tweel learned this trick during a contest: The group that could walk the most steps would win money for their chosen charity. “It’s amazing how the competitive spirit came out when you put that pedometer on,” she says. “You start asking your partner, ‘How many steps did you do today?’ And you try to outdo each other.” With Tweel as a motivator (and competitior), her group covered over three million steps in three months and won the contest.

Shake it up
“Shake up your route weekly,” she says, “You don’t want to get bored. A change is as good as a rest, and variety is motivating.” Alternate between your buddy’s neighbouhood and yours. Try new roads, check out dead-end streets and explore the far corners of parks. “It’s a great way to discover and enjoy your neighbourhood.”

Baby steps
Start small together and increase the length, speed and intensity as time goes on. “You start small so it’s doable,” Tweel says. “Realistic goals keep you motivate.” Make walking work for you: If you only have five minutes, go for a five-minute walk. “Just that short walk will make you feel better and clear your head. That, in turn, will help you look forward to the next one.” A great way for you and a buddy to set a concrete goal is to walk and train for a charity event, such as the Relay for Life or CIBC’s Run for the Cure – there’s plenty to choose from. With that event in mind, your walks take on a bigger purpose. Even better, a charity event offers thousands of walking buddies: It’s hard to be lazy when you’re surrounded by that much energy.