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

 

Walk this Way ~ Six Great Tips for a Successfull Walking Program

As a gal who plans to celebrate her 65th birthday by walking 65+ miles of the Camino de Santiago, I have been a little too attached to settling my butt into a comfy chair and watching the world go by.  The last few warm weeks of 2012 sparked both hubby and I to lace up our walking shoes.  We easily put up 6-8 miles on each weekend day.  Not too shabby.  Especially for the old guy, who thought walking was that thing you did to get to the car.  We had a goal.  We were working it.  And then…winter arrived in the Pacific Northwest and our walking days appeared to be over.  My shoes stood in the closet waiting patiently, but I ignored them for days, weeks, and now a couple of months.  They say it takes 30 days to MAKE a habit, and I’m here to tell you it takes a only couple of days of cold, dark and wet to break one.

So, now that Spring is right around the corner and we can count the weeks until we leave for Spain (29 to be exact), it’s time to kick our walking program into gear or we’ll be riding the Sag Wagon of Shame across Spain. And, that’s not going to happen if I have anything to say about it.

Since a body at rest tends to stay at rest and it’s time to get this body back in motion, I went looking for a little motivation and inspiration.   I found just what I needed at  Wonders of Walking and everybodywalk.org

Here are a six great tips to help you (and me) get back the healthy walking habit:

1.  Tell others and find a walking buddy.  Telling others somehow makes me more accountable to stick with it.   Having a walking date with friends (or the hubs) will get you out the door even when you don’t feel like it.

2.  Have a weather plan.  It’s winter.  It’s dark and cold and icy and wet.  Don’t use the weather as an excuse.  Worst case, walk at the mall or on the dreaded treadmill at the gym.  Really, unless it’s pouring rain, you’ll warm up pretty quickly and enjoy being outdoors so much that it’s worth a little cold.  Gloves, hat, warm socks and good shoes are a must.  And a hankie.  Why does the cold make your nose drip?

3.  Start Slow.  If you haven’t been walking for a while (or ever), don’t go for the ten miler on your first day.  Thirty minutes a day at least five days a week can make a huge difference in your health.  Your can do the 30 minutes in 10 minute increments if you need to.  Do what you can and work up from there.

4.  Keep a log.  Buy a pedometer and wear it.  Shoot for 10,000 steps a day and then keep going.   Or, try one of the phone apps like everybodywalk.  I just got mine.  It looks great.  I’ll let you know how it works.  It’s motivating to watch your steps and miles add up.

5.  Sign up for a charity walk.   These walks are fun, festive, and you are doing a good thing for others while you are doing good for yourself.  Win/Win.  Plus, there is nothing like walking across a finish line.  You feel a sense of accomplishment – no matter how long it took you.

6.  Join a walking group.   Whether its a group of friends that meets three mornings a week or one of the local AVA groups, walking with others creates social opportunities of being with others who share similar goals and interests.  I’ve been curious about Volkswalking for a few years now.  I think this is the perfect time to join up.  What a great way to meet new people, explore walking routes all over the country.

What are your favorite walking tips?