thanks for your kind words and advice vabeachgirlNYC - good point about city life, i hadn't thought of that. of course now that you mention it i go basically everywhere by car in the country. took a nice 90 min walk today though, and naturally feeling the better for it!
i actually own a rudimentary (but adequate) bench from a few years ago when i was very active - i'll dig it out tomorrow. even as i write i realise how good this site is for motivation and new ideas. hopefully over time i can share some pearls of my own.