If You Don't Want to Exercise, Consider Detroit Man's 21-Mile Walk to Work

Next time you don't feel like doing your walk or run and need a little motivation, think about James Robertson. The devoted 56-year-old factory worker commuted 23 miles each day to get to his job, 21 of which were done on foot.

Robertson, who never missed a day of work, took a bus out of the city, then hoofed it the rest of the way to his job. Although his work hours were 2 to 10 p.m., he typically didn't arrive home until 4 a.m., just in time for a couple of hours of sleep. Then he'd restart the whole arduous process at 6 a.m. He did it since his last car, a 1988 Honda Accord, called it quits several years ago.

His devotion to his job caught the attention of Evan Leedy, a Wayne State University student who started a GoFundMe page to finance transportation for Robertson. The story went viral, and in addition to raising nearly $200,000 within two days, it spurred a Today Show appearance and offers of cars and other assistance to ensure that Robertson wouldn't have to hike nearly a marathon every day.

For most of us, that sort of physical activity is purely voluntary and often done with great reluctance, even if we don't walk or run anywhere near 21 miles in a typical exercise session. Excuses can be anything from "I'm too tired" to "I don't have enough time" to "I don't want to ruin my hairstyle."

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Association defines moderately intense exercise as walking two miles in 30 minutes, or running 1.5 miles in 10 minutes. It also points out that exercise is just as effective when done in short bursts as it is in a lengthy session. If exercise is part of your weight loss plan or overall health regime and you have trouble staying motivated, think about James Robertson. If he was able to walk 21 miles, five days a week, for years, your own fitness goals should feel much easier to achieve.