Island Fitness: Getting to walk; all the benefits of running, none of the injuries

 COURTEsY GOOGLE MAPS Three favorite walks on the Island’s northwest coast include great views and a combination of flats and hill work.

COURTEsY GOOGLE MAPS
Three favorite walks on the Island’s northwest coast include great views and a combination of flats and hill work.

Kicking off 2017, this column is designed to bring maximum guilt to those who consider close parking spots more important than the STR debate or the national debt.

Last year’s opening column, if you don’t remember, focused on me. It was a concise personal statement of the spiritual, physical and financial benefits of regular exercise. Last year, it was the “runners high” challenge. This year, we strike a far more democratic approach. Bottom line, you can get real benefits from modest efforts — Dr. Frank is an impressive runner, but you do not have to follow his example.

To get personal, you know who you are.

You are not going to run a marathon. You are not running anything except a few quick steps to grab that last seat at the Pharmacy’s lunch counter. So face it: Walking is the only option. You can do it anywhere with no preparation and no cost. And walking is better for you across the board. As a runner since high school, I will let you in on two well-hidden truths. Runners exaggerate their times and deny their persistent, recurring injuries.

Walking makes you healthy, wealthy — just think about all those running shoes and gym fees you just saved — and wise. O.K., skeptics, give what follows a try and come back to me in 90 days.

This week (that is this week) take a walk on one of three amazing locations on our special Island. There is easy parking nearby and you decide how much time to commit. Any time is better than none. Certainly you can find 15 to 20 minutes to invest. These are my favorites:

• Sunset Beach to or from the Pridwin: easy parking, flat as pancake, great views

• Stearns Point Road from the Shelter Island House: follow as far as you wish such as a loop to the Perlman campus

• Serpentine Drive: amazing views and the packed dirt surface is best for your body

Next week we’ll check your progress — no exaggerations!

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