WHAT WE DO My husband and I pay ourselves 50 cents a mile for walking.
WHY WE DO IT My husband, Russ, is a mathematician: He likes to keep track of everything. We used to pay ourselves 50 cents per half-hour of lap swimming. Then in 1986 we went to Europe and got shinsplints walking in London. We lost a day because it was so painful. We came back realizing how important walking was for everything we wanted to do. Now we walk two to three miles daily and often twice as far on weekends.
HOW IT WORKS We keep track of our progress in a logbook. Each day my husband writes down how many miles we walked. If we did weight training -- we try to do that and deep-water aerobics twice a week -- he adds a "W." If we swim, he puts an "A." Then over in the right-hand column, he puts how much money we've earned. So far, we've accumulated $5,445. We call it our "Walking to Alaska" account. We took a magical visit there in 1984 and want to return to hike.
THE RESULTS I've had some serious health problems -- cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal surgery. I've come back from all of them by exercising, knowing how strong I'm going to get if I keep working at it. I just went to my 50th high school reunion. Nobody there was in the shape that I am. My husband's doctor marvels at his health. Our 46-year-old son said he hopes to be in that shape some day; in fact, he'd like to be in that shape now.
Two years ago, we hiked 200 miles in Tucson over two months. We're thinking about giving ourselves a raise for mountain miles.
-- Shirley A. Bauer, Glenn Dale
Have you found a way to make walking a regular and enjoyable part of your life? Tell us about it. We want to hear about the practical and the improbable, the mundane and the profound. Submissions should be no longer than 200 words and should include the health benefits you've realized. Please include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. We can't publish anonymous submissions. Photos and other supporting materials are welcome. Sorry, we can't return or respond to submissions, or publish commercial endorsements. Our address: Walk the Walk, Washington Post Health Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071; e-mail: email@example.com. No calls, please.