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A Winter Walk in Hudson River Park, with a Plan for New Year's Diet and Exercise Resolutions

The first day of a new year typically brings with it the common resolutions to exercise more and eat less. Plans are made to stick to an exercise schedule and to cut back on calories, both designed in tandem to undo some of the damage of the holidays - the gluttony and the sloth, the multiple sins of one more cookie and another hour of sitting and watching TV on the couch. The season of penance begins.

Hudson River Park, Tribeca section, looking across the Hudson River to New Jersey.


It's a relief the holidays are over. One more week of such indulgences, and the clothes in the closet would not fit. Come January 1, many who make New Year's resolutions visualize a healthier and leaner self in the near future, some 6 to 10 weeks from now. Visualizing oneself as a movie star - ha, ha, ha - is nevertheless a good beginning.

Walking south to Battery Park City.

As many well know, it's easy to slip on these goals. The weather takes a turn for the worse, and the natural inclination is to stay home. A winter cold or flu arrives, thwarting our dreams of running through the park. A thrilling jog along the trail is sabotaged by a sudden twisted ankle. A diet of yogurt and grapefruit grows tiresome, losing out to a giant red box of Valentine's Day candy.



It's a little counter-intuitive to walk along the shore in winter, but the light is very soft and beautiful. 


Here's a different strategy I propose for New Year's exercise resolutions. What about forgetting punishing exercise for a minute and just deciding to stroll each day? Visit a new neighborhood, a place with a great view, or just a familiar place. It doesn't even need to be planned. Based on experience, a walk of around 2.5 miles is ideal, the kind of fast stroll that can be accomplished in 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the pace.

The goal of this walk was not fitness but to look at the sky and the activity along the river.


The goal, however, would be to expand one's personal experiences - for example, to see the sunset on the water, a new building nearing construction, a public art project, a boat sailing down the river, or an unfamiliar street. Take a picture of the place when you get there (or more along the way) and make a photo diary of daily walks. Do this every day, no matter what, for 10 weeks. Walk briskly with a sense of purpose. The fitness goals will be accomplished, but the main goal is to learn how to live large but without such large portions. This is how a flâneur goes on a diet.

These are some fine looking winter blues.


One caveat, also based on experience. If a bakery or patisserie happens to appear on the route, either go for it and then walk 5 miles that day to compensate or look away quickly and keep walking.

Here are some tools available on this website, relevant for New Yorkers:

From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Distance and Time in Manhattan

20 Short Walks between New York Landmarks

14 Useful Mobile Apps for Walking New York City

How to Walk Off a Pastrami Sandwich in New York City

In summary - how to walk off the holiday weight:
1. Walk to a new or unfamiliar place every day, for a round trip of at least 2.5 miles. To scope out places and distances in advance, play around with Gmaps Pedometer.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables and cut back on cupcakes.
3. Document the walk in pictures or words, or both, and make a diary. People who keep exercise journals do better with their fitness goals than those who do not. This type of strolling diary will look more like a travel journal. Go crazy with the diary or keep it simple with one good image for each walk.


The pier near Spring Street, with one of the Holland Tunnel ventilation buildings in the distance.


So, let's walk it off. Welcome to 2011.

Images of the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park and Greenwich Village from the late afternoon of January 1, 2011 by Walking Off the Big Apple. At the time of the walk, the Norwegian Gem cruise ship, appearing in a few of these pictures, had just left port on the Hudson River and was sailing off to the eastern Caribbean. Click on images to enlarge.


Posts in this series:

• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 1-7 (posted January 8, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 8-14 (posted January 15, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 15-21 (posted January 22, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 22-28 (posted January 29, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 29-35 (posted February 5, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 36-42 (posted February 12, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 43-49 (posted February 19, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 50-56 (posted February 26, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 57-63 (posted March 6, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 64-70 (posted March 12, 2011)



Mapping the walk on Google also helps define the distance.


View Winter Walk, Hudson River Park in a larger map









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