Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Do you think that your life leaves little time for exercise?

Having little time to fit exercise into your schedule cannot be used as an excuse to not keep fit when there are lots creative ways to do so. Here we look at some of the small but significant ways to add more exercise time into your life.

Finding time to exercise can be a challenge when you seem to work all of the time, not just at your job but at home as well! The good thing is that there are lots of ways to include physical activity into your day that do not involve going to the gym. If you think exercise can only take place if you make time for the gym then you need to go back to your fitness basics and relearn a few things!

What to Do:

Take your children for a walk in the park or around the neighborhood. If you prefer get out the bicycles and go for a bike ride instead (or do both!). If you have young children then take a walk with the stroller or pull them around in a wagon. In the winter months when there is snow on the ground a toboggan can replace the wagon.

Doing chores around the house will provide you with exercise and will burn calories and help to increase your metabolism. Do your dusting, mopping, sweeping and vacuuming and do not be afraid to be vigorous about it! If finding the motivation to perform housekeeping duties is not always in you then put on some music to add some enjoyment to the tasks. Before long you may find yourself dancing as you go about your otherwise mundane household chores!

Doing outdoor work can also provide you with the exercise you require. When you garden, mow and rake the lawn, clean out the garage and wash the car you expend energy doing this. For that reason you should roll your sleeves up and keep doing it. Perhaps your garden could use some weeding or your shed needs some cleaning.

Do some stretching exercises or even some light yoga moves when you are cooking supper or talking on the telephone. When you are watching television use the commercial breaks to your advantage. Instead of groaning because you hate commercials do some sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, abdominal crunches, lunges, leg lifts or jog on the spot. This will really get your blood pumping and you will be fit before you know it!

Now no more excuses! Get to work… er … exercise!


Read Full Post »

This is the second part of my series on stress, you can read Ways to Reduce Stress in Your Life – Part I here.

Eliminating all forms of stress from your life is not possible but what is possible is finding ways to relax and calm yourself. To fortify yourself against the stressors that come your way and to keep tension at a manageable level you need to find effective ways to cope. In part one we offered some help in this area and now in part two we offer more tips.

If you like to take walks for exercise then you are already doing a world of good for your mental health as well. Walking is an excellent stress buster because it quiets and calms the mind. If you are not a walker but yet you seem to have stress invading your life constantly then adding a 20 to 30 minute walk to your daily life can help you out tremendously when it comes to reducing anxiety and stress.

Walking in general is good even if it is done on an indoor or outdoor track but walking outdoors such as in a local park is even better. According to a recent study done in Japan walking outside, especially in a forest setting can be an excellent way to cope with chronic stress. There is something about nature, trees and streams that can benefit those who are consumed by stressful thoughts.

Having an animal for a companion or a few of them can help to relieve stress. In fact it is one of the many benefits of having a pet.

Whether you have a dog, cat, guinea pig, rabbit or bird he or she can help to reduce the stress you are feeling. Studies have connected owning a pet to having lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. One study had subjects watch 10 to 15 minutes of cute films about animals. Following the viewing the volunteers were found to have lower heart rates and blood pressure and found to be much less anxious.

Having a room with a view can help to turn stress upside down. Studies have shown that students who have seats near windows recover quicker from performing stressful tasks than do those who sit facing blank walls or even those looking at a  screen or picture of a nature scene. Next time you feel overcome with stress step away from your computer or take yourself away from the problem at hand and spend a little time glancing out the window.

This can also help to clear your mind, relax your body and bring your heart rate down to where it should be. If you do not have a window view from wherever you do most of your work then try to do something to change that. If you cannot then at least do some window gazing during your breaks.

Music is good for the soul. It can also lift your spirits and make your troubles seem thousands of miles away. When stress seems to be winning in your life listen to some relaxing music of your choosing. Everyone has different tastes in music. Listening to tunes that are mellow in nature can slow down your breathing and your heart rate and make you feel so much better. Find what suits your musical style and then listen to it to your heart’s content when stress is building in your life.

Let the music soothe your senses.


Read Full Post »

Figuring out how to keep motivated to walk on a regular basis is not easy – here are tips to keep the skip in your steps.

One of the best motivating factors is noticing all of the good that walking is accomplishing in your life.

What could these things be? If you suddenly have more energy and are sleeping better at night then thank your walks for that. How about the fact that you are coping better with stress lately? Or what about the fact that your favorite dress that was feeling awfully snug but now fits just right?

Let’s face it, motivation often starts out high when we begin something new but can drop off somewhat as time passes. This can be influenced by anything from your state of mind to how busy you are, to what the weather is like on any given day.

To keep motivated to walk you need to want to remain focused on the task at hand. Being comfortable makes motivation more attainable. When you walk do you wear comfortable clothing that allows your body to move freely? Do you wear clothing that is appropriate for the season? If you answered no to both of these questions then you need to rethink your walking wardrobe. No one will remain motivated to walk if they are wearing clothes that are binding, itchy, too warm or not warm enough!

Always keep this in mind- when you walk in the cooler months dress in layers but choose fabrics that breathe. In the warmer months, cooler clothes that are super comfortable are where it’s it! Motivation here you come!

In the same way, what you wear on your feet is so important. Wear appropriate shoes and socks to cushion and protect your feet.

If you walk alone then bring some tunes along to keep you motivated. Songs will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Purchase a pedometer so you can make note of your progress. This will give your motivation level a tremendous boast!

Do not always walk the exact same route. To keep motivated to walk you need to expose yourself to newness as often as possible! Mix it up a bit for added spice! This will allow motivation to remain high.


Read Full Post »

When you first begin, do not rush. Starting a walking program is not the same as running a marathon so just go easy! This is something you want to enjoy!

Start with a slow and relaxed pace. It will take time for your body to get used to walking if you are not accustomed to it. You might want to begin with a short stroll around your neighborhood. Start with a walk that takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Continue to take daily short walks for a week. The next week add an extra five minutes to your walk and the following week another five minutes. I think you see where I am going with this. Keep adding minutes until you are walking anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes a day.

Starting a walking program can benefit your health in so many ways but it is important to remember to drink water before your walk, afterwards and preferably to bring some with you. Warm up before your walk and cool down afterwards. This helps to lessen the impact on your muscles and joints.

As you walk, pay attention to the manner in which you are walking. No slouching! Your posture should be good and your head should be held high. You are proud to have joined the ranks of the walkers of the world so let it show! Keep your back straight.

Your eyes should be focused ahead of you as you walk. Make sure that your abdominal area and your buttocks are tight and your shoulders are down.

Starting a walking program can be even more enjoyable when you walk with another person. Be aware that you should be able to walk and talk at the same time. This is known as your talking pace. If you are gasping for breath then you are walking far too fast!


Read Full Post »

I don’t often get the chance to quote Hippocrates but when he said that “walking is man’s best medicine”, he couldn’t have foreseen thousand’s of years later how many people discover that truth daily.

Walking as part of a daily exercise program is encouraged by doctors to their patients after heart surgery, and by hypnotherapists to clients who quit smoking or are in a weight loss program.

Now these may be two extremes but nonetheless provide validation that walking is an exercise that can benefit the majority of us and adjusted for different fitness levels. I love to jog but in the last few years have been forced to reduce my running activity due to knee problems, and have replaced most jogging with walking.

Outside a good pair of walking shoes there is no other investment in equipment needed – just your time.

Recently I invested in a pair of MBT walking shoes because of my knee problems and recommendation by other family members. MBT walking shoes are specially designed to reduce stress on knee and hip joints and improve your posture and gait – they’re designed by Swiss Masai. Now I wear mine all the time around the house and not just when exercise walking.

If you want to invest in additional equipment then a pedometer and some cool clothing would be extras to consider, and if you walk early morning or in the evening wear a reflective product. Choose comfortable clothing and dress in layers.

Benefits of walking include:

– Easy to do and fit into any schedule
– Healthy
– Safe
– Burns calories
– Lowers blood pressure
– Reduces bad cholesterol levels
– Improves muscle tone
– Enhances stamina and energy
– Easy on your joints
– Increases aerobic capacity
– Reduces heart attack risk

Remember – walk at a speed you’re comfortable and if you experience pain or discomfort talk to your doctor.


Read Full Post »