Heidi S. Berenson,


WHAT I DO Never take a cab to a meeting, lunch or appointment downtown. Colleagues, friends and associates roll their eyes, but I am resolute. It is heresy not to walk from my office located mere blocks from the D.C. Convention Center to anyplace downtown. I eschew high heels in favor of more comfortable shoes, so I can mobilize on short notice.

WHY For someone as committed to fitness as I am, weight control and health, walking everywhere I can is a "win-win" proposition. I hit the gym almost daily, but walking supplements or supplants my routine when work and travel get in the way. I don't have to feel so bad about driving to work now, either.

HOW I DO IT I calculate downtown distances in walking minutes rather than miles. I know that a destination 25 minutes away will give me a total of 50 minutes of vigorous physical activity since I swing my arms (and oftentimes ditch the purse). That walk by itself nearly meets new National Academy of Sciences recommendations that we all get 60 minutes of daily exercise.

LIKES AND DISLIKES I find that walking saves not only money but time tied up in traffic or searching and paying for a parking spot. Walking also provides a respite from the demands of business. It serves as a stimulus for new ideas; fresh air really does bring fresh perspectives. In fact, I often carry a cell phone to contact the office with revelations or reminders. The only downside is D.C.'s double whammy of heat and humidity. There has been more than one kind assistant who's proffered a blow dryer upon my less than crisp arrival.

PAYOFF Any doubts I may feel in the face of others' skepticism disappear when my massage therapist comments about how flexible and toned I am, especially my legs and feet. That's when I say, "Yes!" Way to go!"

Have you found a way to make walking a regular and enjoyable part of your life? Tell us about it and the health benefits you've realized. Please include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Sorry, we can't return or respond to submissions or publish commercial endorsements. Our address: Walk the Walk, The Washington Post, Health Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071; e-mail: walk@washpost.com. No calls, please.