Get To Steppin!

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Every morning my dog Marty and I hit the pavement and walk for 30 minutes. Not only does it help me wake up in the morning and make Marty extra happy, but it keeps us healthy. With high cholesterol running in my family, I need to pay extra attention to myself! This means taking care of my body and a good start to achieving that is by walking. Walking has been highly recommended from all around, such as friends, magazines, the internet, moms, pretty much everywhere. Below is an article I grabbed from that seemed to have pretty sound advice for those who are looking to get into a healthier lifestyle and even those who are already committed to an active lifestyle.

The popularity of walking as a fitness activity has grown by leaps and bounds. Low-risk and easy to start, walking has proven its health benefits in numerous studies. An eight-year study of 13,000 people found that those who walked 30 minutes a day had a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised. In addition, research has shown that regular walking can decrease total and intra-abdominal fat and reduce your risk of developing diabetes or breast cancer.

A regular walking program can also:

  • Improve your cholesterol profile
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase your energy and stamina
  • Boost “couch potato” bone strength
  • Prevent weight gain

Experts at the CDC and National Institute of Health recommend that every American adult engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity just about every day of the week. One way to meet this standard is to walk 2 miles briskly (about 4 miles/hr). If this is too fast,choose a more comfortable pace.

Get Ready

A walking program is simple to start. All you need are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body’s temperature. Shoes specifically designed for walking or running are best. Make sure you have a little wiggle room between your longest toe (1/2″) and the end of the shoe. Avoid cotton socks since they retain moisture and can promote blisters. To warm up, walk at an easy tempo for the first several minutes.Then gradually adopt a more purposeful pace.

Get Moving

  • Begin with short distances. Start with a strollthat feels comfortable to you (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance each week by 10-20% (add just a few minutes or blocks). If it’s easier on your joints and your schedule to take a couple shorter walks (10-20 minutes) instead of one long walk (30-40 minutes) each day, do it!
  • Focus on posture. Keep your head lifted, tummy pulled in and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying hand weights since these put excessive stress on the elbows and shoulders. Don’t overstride. Select a comfortable, natural step length. If you want to move faster, pull your back leg through more quickly.
  • Breathe deeply. If you can’t converse or catch your breath while walking, slow down. Initially, forget about walking speed. Just get out there on a regular basis and establish a habit of activity.

Listen to Your Body

If you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor to find out the cause. You may need special exercises or better shoes. If you have osteoarthritis and experience increased joint pain lasting an hour or two after walking, consider an alternate activity like stationery cycling or water exercise. Don’t stop exercising altogether!

Get Fit!

When you can walk 30-40 minutes easily, incorporate some brisk intervals into your walk. For example, walk one block fast, two blocks slow and repeat several times. Gradually add more fast intervals with shorter recovery periods. Concentrate on increasing your speed while maintaining good posture. Walking hills is a great way to tone the legs. The use of Nordic walking poles can boost the calorie-burning value of your walk while promoting good posture and overall muscle endurance. Treadmill walking, while not as scenic, can be a convenient option during inclement weather.

The end of your walk is an ideal time to stretch since your body is warmed up. Stretch your hamstrings and calves (important walking muscles) as well as your chest, shoulders and back. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Listening to lively music while you walk is a great way to energize your workout. But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear. Find a pleasant place to walk: a beautiful park, neighborhood or shopping mall (without your wallet!). Get a friend, co-worker or family member to join you and get in shape together.

Track your progress. Although experts recommend that you walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day, there are no hard and fast rules. If walking is part of your weight loss plan, more is better. Walking 60 minutes/day and brisk intervals will help you burn more calories. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean three 10-minute walks over the course of a day. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!

Happy Trails!

Things To Do Thursday: Kind Kudos!

This Thursday Polka Dot Tango asks you to give a complete stranger a compliment! This is something that is so simple, but can make a huge positive impact on someone’s life. Giving a compliment should come from one’s heart in order for it to be genuine to the person who is receiving it.

Why would a compliment matter to a stranger? Most of the time, a courteous expression will mean a lot to a stranger as much as it does to someone you know…if not more so at times. The recipient will be surprised that someone took notice of something that most will pass as something not so extraordinary. Friends always give compliments to each other, but when it’s from someone unexpected, they feel there is more of a truth to what they are saying.

Here is a list of why compliments are AWESOME!!!

• It could brighten someone’s day
• It could raise their confidence
• You could possibly make a new friend
• There is a chance that you will learn something
• It is face to face time, rather than face to screen time
• There could be a wonderful story that is told as a result of the compliment
• They may pass along a compliment to another stranger, and the cycle may continue
• It’s just a nice thing to do 🙂

Have fun today and we know you will do amazing!

Things to do Thursday: Write A Letter!

It seems that human contact is becoming something of the past with all of this technology we have going on. Instead of walking by and sharing smiles with each other, you may be sharing a wireless connection with them instead. There are emails, text messages, instant messages, facebook messages, tweets, and skype, but nothing is better than receiving a letter in the mail from someone you admire. You get an automatic smile on your face when you find that one envelope addressed personally to you amidst the bills and junk mail. Next, your mind starts racing wondering who it is from, what is it about, and why did I deserve something so personal to come my way?! Writing letters can be fun and here are some ideas on how to get going!

First off…who can I send a letter to:

A family member
A love
A friend
Find a pen pal
An old co-worker
A business that you are happy to do business with

Second…make your envelope exciting:

Write their name in fancy letters
Bring out the crayons, markers, colored pencils, or highlighters
Decorate the inside flap with an image or pattern
Make your own envelope out of fun paper

Third…let’s make this letter look magical:

Bring out your best penmanship
Tell them something that will make them feel good
Dot your i’s with hearts, stars, swirls, whatever
Use a pen that is not blue or black ink
Sign your name like you’re a Hollywood star
Come up with your own closing, instead of Sincerely, how about: Written from the ends of the sea and the top of a tree, your friend, ……

So, this Thursday Polka Dot Tango wants you to write a letter to someone. If you still don’t know who I heard Santa is accepting letters at this time.