Walking Exercise

WalkingWALKING EXERCISE

Scientists are still debating exactly when, where, how, and why the species that became us stopped scampering around on all fours, and began to walk erect.
But, with gradual anatomical changes over six or so million years,
we’ve gotten used to it, and at this point it, it feels quite natural. We can walk erect all day now and get from place to place, as people in many regions of the world do daily.

Although our current anatomy made it harder for us to climb trees, walking erect has spawned other things we’ve come to enjoy, like baseball, basketball, tennis, stand-up paddle-boarding, track and field, soccer, ice hockey, roller derby, walks in the park, hiking mountain trails, carrying a colicky baby around the room for hours. Okay, scratch that last one. How about dancing?

For better and worse, nowadays, most of us only have to walk from the car to the elevator, and walking has been relegated to recreation, or simply, exercise.
This brings me to the fact that walking is good for you. We all know that. But, just as a reminder, here’s a partial list of the health benefits of walking from Mayo Clinic

Some people think walking is so good for you they almost never sit. People work at standing desks and wear pedometers to count their steps. 10,000 is a common daily goal.

Others can’t stand to just stand. They’ve built desks onto treadmills and take meetings, type emails, and do their office work while walking. I’ve heard numbers like 10 miles a day in a treadmill while at work. Some believe treadmill desks boost productivity.

I’m a walking advocate and a walking enthusiast. However, as you may know, I believe in the ease in, start with a little, stay in your comfort zone, set attainable short term goals, build up to your ultimate goal over time, method of exercise.

Studies show that vigorous exercise has the most positive effect on the list of health benefits. The same studies also show that moderate exercise shows measurable benefits.

And, I know from personal experience that it’s more sustainable when it’s fun.

This, as you may have guessed, brings me to my pleasure principal. If I like something I do it because I like it. If it’s good for my health, so much the better.

It’s easy to like walking if it’s easy. Start with a pleasant gentle stroll, and if you build up at your own pace over time, it stays easy, even when you eventually build up to vigorous.

I think pedometers and heart rate monitor watches are good tools if you keep them fun. The prices have come down and they give you some valuable information.
But some of the fittest people I can think of, the people who walk everywhere every day because walking is their only mode of transportation, don’t use them. So you don’t absolutely need them.

Shoes are good, walking, running, cross training, or hiking shoes, if you can afford them. But I’ve been to countries where some of the fittest people can’t afford them. Some of the people I’m thinking of don’t have shoes at all. But, I do suggest activity appropriate shoes if you can afford them. Otherwise, just shoes will have to do. You can get plenty fit in just plain shoes if they’re comfortable to walk in.

Good posture is essential for walking. Stand and walk with your head over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips, and the whole body line-up centered over the base of the feet. Don’t slouch forward or lean back. Try to keep your abs pulled in when you think of it. If you’re used to less the good posture, it may feel awkward at first. But, once you get used to it, I don’t think you’ll want to stand or walk any other way.

Music is the plane that flies you to your destination. So if you like music, plug in your ear buds and walk to your favorites. Try to pick music that helps you walk at a comfortable pace, not too fast or too slow. Stay in your comfort zone.

Do walk. Please make time in your day for it. Whether it’s outside, in a mall, on a treadmill, or in place. It’s in your nature. And, I think you’ll thank yourself for the effort.

Last but not least walking is an adventure. Here’s a video of something that actually happened to me while out walking. The camera just happened to be there.

Andiamo!

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Healthy Life!

Healthy LifeHealthy Life!

What do we want for the second half of our lives? Health and mobility are at the top of my list. It boils down to a healthy life!
Keeping all my marbles into my old age is right up there too. Financial security is nice but without those other three, it’s a distant fourth. So how do we do it, maximize our chances of health into our old age?

We all know how. Eat healthy, exercise, get regular checkups, reduce stress. It’s a simple formula. So why is it so hard to do?

You know, I don’t think it’s hard to do, but I do think not doing it is a lot easier. The path of least resistance is paved with delicious processed foods, wines and spirits that hit the spot at the end of a day, lounge chairs that give you a massage and play your favorite tunes, remotes and DVRs that offer sedentary adventure with the push of a button, games that appeal to your inner super hero. It’s a long list and it’s become our way of life. Who wants to eat healthy, exercise, yada yada yada when you’ve got all that?

Well, if you want a healthy life, or maybe a second half at all, I suspect you do.

So, I’d like to offer a method that may take some of the sting out of making the necessary lifestyle changes.

Healthy Life Changes

· Start by adding one good thing. Don’t take away anything just yet. Just add one good healthy thing and try to make it something important enough to keep it going for a lifetime.
Make your own list of good things. But may I suggest starting with exercise as the first good thing. It worked for me and I’ve found getting moving, and eventually fit, helps my clients feel motivated to make all the other changes on their list.

Here’s a short video that will give you the beginner’s fitness formula I use with my clients for a Healthy Life.

Healthy Life Steps

· Ease in to adding that new good thing.
Too much of a good thing tends to be short lived. Pamper yourself a bit. Stay in your comfort zone while moving gently but steadily forward

· Add a second.
Once the first healthy thing is solidly a part of your life, add another. It can be anything good like eating more fruit or stopping for a slow count to 10 and a few deep breaths when you feel stressed.

· Cut one bad.
Once you’ve got two going try cutting out an unhealthy or less healthy thing. See where I’m going here. Gradually add two good, cut out one bad. Substitute old favorite foods for new healthier favorite foods. Add taking a walk; get rid of sitting around watching as much TV.

· Easy does it.
There’s no need to go to extremes. Keeping it up is the key. Little by little you’ll be substituting a healthy lifestyle for a less healthy lifestyle. It’s a constant journey. You’ll never arrive because your destination keeps changing. The more you do the more you’ll want to do. You set a goal and achieving it puts you in sight of a new goal.

· Expect speed bumps
Lifestyle changes are not an exact science and one size does not fit all. You’ll need to experiment and find the methods that work best for you. Attitude is key. If you can stay relaxed enjoy ever little victory and shrug off every little setback, the road should feel smoother.
It may be hard to see your progress except in retrospect. Looking back at where you started after a year, you may marvel at the changes you’ve made. Feel free to congratulate yourself.

*Physical Fitness and All-cause Mortality Blair et Al Jama 11/3/89

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2795824

Mortality trends in the general population: the importance of cardiorespiratory fitness
J Psychopharmacol. 2010 Nov; 24(4_supplement): 27-35.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951585

Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence: CMAJ. 2006 Mar 14; 174(6): 801-809.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402378

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