Everybody Walk ~

Regular walking helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as boosts self-esteem and improves sleep. 30 minutes a day spent walking can lead to benefits like reduced body fat, lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, increase energy, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

I know this.  You know this.  But that doesn’t mean either of us is doing it.  At least not every day. I’m a pretty regular walker but, short dark days and inclement weather can really foil my walking plan.  Some days its easier to Just Say No to walking and Just Do It to tea, a cookie, and a good book.

Its pouring in Portland today and so I decided a break from the office and a couple of laps around the mall would be just the spark I needed.  Turns out it was and in more ways than I knew.   I was making the turn on lap number two, walking by a new and quite lovely kiosk set up by the good folks at Kaiser Permanente to snag seniors into their Medicare insurance web when a tiny sign caught my eye.  I whipped out my cell phone and emailed myself the web address so I could look it up when I got home.

When I looked it up, what I discovered was an outstanding resource all about walking for health.  Information, inspiration, education and encouraging ideas, this site has it all and then some.   Check it out –  www.everybodywalk.org  

If you aren’t a walker, or even if you are, I highly recommend watching their outstanding 30 minute documentary.

Remember when you were a kid and walked to school?  Me too.  Uphill both ways, rain or snow.  Turns out that was good for us.   The video points out how we have engineered walking out of our lives and that in not good for us.

You might want to spend some time browsing through their online resources (love the walking App) and then sign up to Take the Pledge.  I just did.  I’m always better when I make myself accountable.

Not too shabby for a 30 minute walk at the mall.   Now I’m ready to get out there again after dinner.  This time I’ll hit the treadmill at the gym.   Summer cannot come soon enough.

Walk on!

Nancy

 

 

 

 

Fitness ~ Setting a Really Big Goal!

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I have traveled all over the fitness map.  Sometimes there’s a plan.  Other days, not so much.  But, I have learned from experience that setting a long term goal that is a real stretch (pun intended) is often the motivation I need to keep up my exercise or walking practice.  It works for me.  Every time.

HonoluluMarathon

That’s me #12168 with the white visor coming into the finish lanes.

Way back when I was a young 49 year old mostly-couch-potato, I read an article about Team in Training and marathon walking.  Intrigued, I explored this opportunity to train with a group and walk or run in marathons all over the world while raising money for a great cause.  Sometimes I tend to jump without worrying about the details like “How far is 26.2 miles anyway”?  In I jumped!  I set a goal to walk the Honolulu Marathon for my 50th birthday.  I was committed.  I walked every day starting with two miles that first week and ending my last training walk with a 22 miler from my front door in Lake Oswego to my sister’s house in Hillsboro, Oregon.  Two weeks later, I was on a plane ready to take on the full 26.2 in Honolulu.   And I did it.  And I never walked another marathon again.

But I did keep on walking.   Usually by myself.  Until recently, this was the typical evening conversation at our house.  Me:  “Honey, want to go for a walk with me?”  Hubby:  “Umm, No thanks.”

But that all changed exactly one year ago when I began hatching my plan to do something memorable for my 65th birthday at the end of August.  I wanted to walk the last 65 miles of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James) in Spain.  I discovered a walking tour company, Marly Tours, who provide support for those of use who do not want the full Pilgrim experience (carrying everything on your back, sleeping on the ground and/or sleeping in hostels with 300 others in bunk beds).  I was so excited about this idea that my enthusiasm spilled over onto my husband.  Suddenly, he wanted to join me on walks.  Perfect!  Last Fall, we began planning our weekends around walking or hiking.  We have explored most of the City of Portland Oregon on foot and we’ve recently branched out to local hikes like the The Ten Falls Hike.   We’re up to 8 to 10 miles on Saturday and then another 6 or 8 on Sunday.  Always with a stop for lunch.  We call it jogging for doughnuts.

Not too bad for a couple of almost senior citizens.  On the Camino, we’ll be walking our 100km over 5 days.  We don’t know the terrain, but I’m told to expect everything from country lanes to farmers fields to hill climbs to city streets.   We walk 13 miles the first day!  Then we get up and do it again the next day, whether we’re ready or not.  Whether we’re tired or not.  Whether our feet hurt or not.

I can’t wait to get started!

Setting this long term and very large goal, has changed our lives.  We walk every day.  Hubs joined the gym.  We walk for entertainment.  We enjoy our time together.  We’re active people again and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.   In fact, we’re already thinking about walking through England or Italy next.

See you on the trail!

Nancy

 

Portland City Walks ~ Walk There!

walktherebookuse Last year I bought a pocket sized book titled Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver.  Best book I ever bought – and not just because it was essentially free as we made the purchase with credits from selling previously enjoyed books back to the fine people at Powells Books.

Walking has now become one of our favorite weekend activities and with this trusty little book in hand we have seen more interesting places in and around Portland, discovered new shops, and hidden gem eating establishments than we ever thought possible when we set out on our first walking adventure early last September.   It was a gorgeous Fall day and we decided to start with the “Hillsdale to the River” walk on Page 181.  Distance 4 miles.  Level of difficulty – 5 bars (out of 5!)   Our trek began in the parking lot Wilson High School in Southwest Portland and wound slightly downhill on lovely neighborhood streets, through the woods, over bridges, and under tunnels all leading down to the river.

And then you walk back up, and up, and up.

View from the top.

View from the top.

Along the Willamette River

Along the Willamette River

According to our trusty guide book “This hilly walk in Portland’s Southwest Hills combines several city staircases, forest paths and a river walk with great views and significant elevation gain.  Somehow, when I selected this walk, I must have glazed over the “significant elevation gain”.

Just one of the many staircases on the walk back up the hill.

Just one of the many staircases on the walk back up the hill.

Portland is a very walkable city.  A comfortable pair of walking shoes, some sunscreen, a bottle of water, a few bucks in your pocket and the handy little (it fits right in hubby’s back pocket) Walk There! book, and you are ready to go.

Need more reasons to get out there?  Here are a few straight from the book:

1.  Walking is good for your wallet!  We couldn’t agree more.  It is cheap entertainment.

2.  Walking is one of the safest activities you can do.  It’s good for your bones, good for your heart and really good for your spirit.  This we know for sure.

3.  Walking is good for the environment.  Any time you leave the car in the garage, it’s good for the environment.

What are you waiting for?

See you on the trail!

Nancy