Thursday, December 30, 2010

SNOW TIME

Reflections from Christmas Eve, 2010.

I don't know about you, but I love to walk in the snow - so long as there's no ice under it, so long as I'm bundled up nice and warm, and so long as I don't have to look presentable at the end of my walk.

It's been snowing in St. Louis all day. All day! That seldom happens here. It began sometime before I arose this morning. By the time I had to drive to a meeting at 9 AM, there was about 3 inches on my car. By now, 12 hours later, there is twice that outside and more on the way. It's not windy, not particularly cold, and I'm tempted to put on my boots, hook up Lizzie's leash, and hit the street, but....

I can't walk out in this stuff because my sweet husband is home and he pretty much forbids it. Now, he's not one to forbid me much. Good Luck with that. Forbidding me is almost a guarantee of what psychologists now call Oppositional Defiant behavior. In this case, I do respect him enough to not want him to worry about me.

So, despite the dizzying Christmas rush at the mall, I met a friend there and we walked. She really needed a walk as her work week has been Hellish. I just needed to get my derriere in gear. There are quite a few malls in the St. Louis area. Kathy G. mentioned one that is no longer a true retail mall (Crestwood Court formerly Crestwood Mall). Most store fronts have been given over to theater companies, art studios, and, lucky for me, the dance studio (Studio 41) where I dance. The other mall where there are seldom enough shoppers to be daunting is the upscale Plaza Frontenac. This mall has the added bonus of underground, heated parking AND wooden floors.

You might ask why I don't walk at Plaza Frontenac more often. It's location is not perfect for my friends and it's small enough to become totally boring by the time we've walked the first half hour. Feels like I imagine that hamster in a cage on that Ferris Wheel type thing. I hate hamsters and those Ferris Wheel things look really boring to me. Plus, the window shopping is limited to designer garments, expensive jewelry, and other posh home furnishings and accessories. Not my style.

But, walking at the mall beats not walking at all. Steph and I walked and talked for an hour. We both finished the walk in a better state mentally than we began it - as is usually the case. Take care of yourself and find a safe place to walk. It's an investment in yourself - and YOU'RE WORTH IT !



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I JUST CAN'T FOLLOW THE GAME

I've tried learning those dance steps on Sweating to the Oldies. I've tried to learn the routines in Zumba. I've tried remembering the dance steps in Dance Aerobics. I'm hopeless.

Okay, I linedance. You know that because I've written it here. So, you might ask, what's the difference. At my linedance class, I have a teacher. A very patient teacher. He cheerfully goes over the dance steps 287 times til I get them right. Then he turns on the music. Fortunately, it's not just ME who needs all those rehearsals.

So, why do I put the Sweating to the Oldies in my VCR (my ancient VCR) anyway? Well, just because Richard Simmons moves right doesn't mean I can't move left. He can't see me! No one sees me - unless you count the dog who is still trying to figure this out.

The beat is there. The encouragement is coming from Richard's mouth. I can groove to the beat, swing my arms, push my tush, step right and left, do knee lifts and side steps all I want even if the folks on the screen are gracefully following Richard to a T.

I still get the workout. I still get to sweat. I still feel great when I finish the workout. You can too. Don't worry about getting it right. Just do it the best you can. Do it for 20 minutes if you can. If not, just do what you can. You'll feel better, too.



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WHEN YOU REALLY CAN'T

There are just some days when getting in a walk just isn't possible. Whatever the reason, there's no time, and you just want to collapse after a day at the office, or chasing after kids, or cleaning house, or running errands, or just cuz.

Plan ahead a bit on such days. Try to speed up your walk from car to grocery store. Walk faster down that hall at work. Climb the stairs rather than take the elevator. Offer to run an errand for the boss or push the wheelchair for a patient. Help a kid pick up the twenty things you want picked up before the timer goes off. Set a 9 minute timer rather than a 10 minute one to motivate you to scrub the shower.

You get the idea. Whatever physical activity you have to do, push a little. Do it a little faster, a little harder, a little more energetically.

Such effort adds up. AND, don't forget. After you've collapsed for the day, you still have to get up to get a drink or hit the bathroom. So, stay upright and walk around your house the entire time the commercials are on. Time it if you don't believe me. There are at least 20 minutes of commercials in most 60 minute TV programs. If you walk for ONLY that 20 minutes, you've given yourself a healthy edge.

Then, sit, read your book, pet the dog, have a snack. You've gotten a bit of a workout in - and some days, that's good enough.


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A CHRISTMAS STROLL

Christmas and New Year's are upon us. Weather may be rotten where you are. Schedules may be busy. The to-do list may increase exponentially. The cooking and cleaning may overwhelm you. Expectations will NEVER be met 100%. Just not a possibility.

What's a person to do?

Go for a stroll. Not a walk. Just a stroll. After your large holiday meal, grab the hand of the kid closest to you and ask him/her to go for a stroll with you. The dishes will wait. Remember, no one will do your work while you're gone. Have no fear. It'll all still be there when you get back to it. So, do something relaxing as a treat. Stroll.

Taking an easy stroll after a large meal is good for you. It makes room for dessert more quickly, after all. And who doesn't want that?! It's also a time to bond. Maybe with your husband. Maybe with your grandchild. Maybe with that sister in law you don't really like very much. There is not much that can't be improved by taking a stroll.

Make it at dusk or just after. Marvel at all the pretty lights. Breathe in the crisp, cold air. Be grateful that you are alive and able to walk. Think of all the things to be grateful for. Most of us could easily rattle off ten things we're grateful for. So, bypass that list (which includes the good health of your family members and the roof over your head) - not because you shouldn't be grateful for them, but because we're ALL grateful for such gifts and we need to be grateful for them EVERY day. But, on this holiday - whatever holiday you celebrate or whenever your family gathers - find TEN MORE things to be grateful for. Think about them on your stroll. Tell your SIL that you're grateful for her presence. It won't hurt anything if it's not the absolute truth and you'll probably shock her (in a good way).

Later, once the house is quiet and the dirty dishes have been tended to, WRITE down your gratitude list. Write down TEN THINGS you're grateful for TODAY. Write down those ten and stash your list somewhere you can get to it in a couple of days, weeks, or months. You'll need it more then than now.

What are you grateful for now? Here are some that come to my mind (after the health of my family, etc):
that I can walk despite my hip pain
that I have a job to go to and work that's important
that my dog is such a great walking companion
that my husband likes the very imperfect hat I crocheted for him
that I found enough bags and crepe paper to handle all my presents
that my house looks great with its new siding and gutters
that my mom and MIL are still alive and healthy (okay, they're 88 so I can double dip here)
that my younger son has found his 'calling' in law school
that I can afford a mani-pedi if I really want one
that it wasn't me who fell yesterday and broke an ankle (altho' it was a friend and I'm sorry for him and you call me self-centered if you want)
that no winter storm has deprived my house of electricity (thus warmth and hot water)
that I have enough matching dishes to feed the whole clan
that I was introduced to the idea of a Gratitude List 13 years ago
and, finally, just for me - THIS HOLIDAY IS OVER!! (call me a Scrooge. I admit it!)

What's on your list?

When you're having a bad day. Pull out the list you made this holiday and read it. Guaranteed to improve your mood. Gratitude is right up there with walking for making any day better.





***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A MALL HAZARD

One might think, based on my previous articles about mall walking, that I find shopping to be a potential hazard. I'm really NOT a shopper, so that's not often a problem for me.

What is a hazard at the mall? Those darn food courts, Cinnabon's permeating aroma, and the See's sample basket in the weeks before Christmas. Those things can derail the best laid diet plans!

Not that I follow a diet. I do not. This ain't about dieting. If I talk about a diet, it's typically referring to money. I go on money diets all the time. Probably 3 - 4 times a year, I feel the need to realign the budget and go on a money diet. That's a whole different blog.

But, I doubt there is anyone who is not tempted by those freshly baked cinnamon rolls, the sizzle of the wok in the food court, or the insidious call of chocolate when the See's salesperson holds out the sample basket. I'll have a mint crisp, thank you.

Here's my trick. I chew gum the whole time I'm walking. So, when I get that sample, I hold onto it until my walk is concluding. Then, I ditch the gum and have the little treat from See's. BTW, See's lollipops are great. One lollipop will last about an hour's walk. Really!

So, don't worry about being overrun by a triplet stroller or sideswiped by a Hoveround or not being able to balance the bank account at the end of the month. Worry about the smells from the food vendors and the allure of foil wrapped candy. Much more hazardous.



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Monday, December 20, 2010

THE CALL OF THE MALL

Pre-Christmas is a tough time to be a mall-walker. It might be better if I was one of those early birds for whom the malls open their doors at 5 AM. But, I'm not. Ten AM is a much more pleasant time for me to walk - crowds or not.

You can learn a lot by walking at the mall. You learn what styles are in fashion by looking at all those mannequins in the windows. You find out what toys are hot. You can see how many different phones are being marketed. And, inevitably, you'll discover that there are more shoe fashions that are incompatible with life as you know it than at any time in human history.

I am a huge fan of Carlos Santana. Wish he would stick to the guitar. Jessica Simpson should keep her mind on her Daisy Dukes. Coach should figure a way to share some of their huge asking price with those folks in the sweatshops OR lower their prices. And, Steve Madden, well, he should just get some better designers.

What about cosmetics? Want to know what's 'in'? Walk the mall. High-tech devices? Learn all about them at the mall. You'll also discover that the mall is the new park on rainy days. Every SAHM has her stroller and kids at the mall. There's even a little play area for the tots at most malls. Nothing wrong with that.

But, in those weeks before Christmas, EVERYONE and her grandma is at the mall. They make it a bit difficult for us walkers. I mean, who needs their priorities realigned? What are all those nice long halls designed for? Everyone at the mall must walk (unless in a wheelchair or scooter). Shopping is just a necessary impediment to all the walking that needs to go on there.

So, I say. Stop shopping and get walking! Actually, if you don't want to ruin your budget, leave your purse, credit card, and checkbook in the trunk and just walk. I used to be tempted to pull out my credit card (in the days before debit cards) when I'd see something enticing in those mall windows. Now, I'm just a walker and do little in the way of window shopping. I know I'll be at the mall at least once a week in the very cold and the very hot seasons, so if I need something there, I can take advantage of my walking addiction and take my debit card with me for the occasion.

So, no excuses. Get walking. If you can drive, you can get to the mall. Also, note that Home Depot even allows you to bring your dog into the store with you. And, I swear, there are seventeen miles of concrete walkways in every hardware store. Way more than at the mall. I'm just saying......


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Friday, December 17, 2010

THE WALKING WOUNDED??

Months ago, I wrote that I was enjoying Zumba. I loved the rhythm, the beat, and the movements. The harder the work out the better for me. Not so for my hip. I dropped my twice weekly Zumba class with sadness. But, I continued my linedancing at the same studio.

Weeks went by and the hip got worse not better. So, off to my Favorite Orthopedist I went. I pointed to the two spots that hurt, he took a picture, looked, filled a syringe with the marvelous elixir that removes all joint pain (if you're lucky), and stuck me. He said that this fixes the problem 80% of the time. " If it's not better in a few days, come back and see me. " His actual words. He spoke those words. I heard them.

Days go by. One of the painful parts of my hip is CURED. Glory be! ONE of the sites. Not the other. It got worse. I was in denial. Continued to walk and dance and pop the Tramadol.

Finally, I went to see my Favorite Orthopedist again with my sad tale. An MRI was ordered. An MRI was read. No hip arthritis - this is a good thing! But, there is a tear in the Gluteus Minimus. The where??? Who knew we have three (count them, THREE) butt muscles that come off the hip (maximum, medialus, and minimus)? Who cares? Only someone who has a tear in one and swelling in another.

Why? I asked. How? I asked. No one ever knows. He said. It'll get better. He said. Don't worry. He said. Easy for him to say.... Then! We figured it out. Remember that little device I told you I had purchased on ebay?

This is the culprit. Know how many times I used it? Wanna know? TWICE! This inexpensive device from an earlier (low tech) era has now cost me over $600 and any amount of pain.

But, will I be defeated? NO! I'm still walking (well, read my recent post). I have taken a break from dancing for the month of December, hoping that this brief respite will aid in healing. There is a surgical repair option - but not for me unless it gets lots worse. There is also an option of another of those miraculous injections - but they don't assist in healing and could actually mask pain caused by worsening the tear.

So, I'm laying back. Sticking to walking alone. Anyone want this little device? No, I won't sell it to you or give it to you (or charity). I'm destroying the darn thing. No one needs any help getting injured. Even those of us who are not 'jocks' can get injured by exercise. In the future, I'm sticking to my walking, dancing when I can get back to it, and my stationary bike.





***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

LESLIE, RICHARD, AND ME

It's been terrifically cold in St. Louis this past week. And, the weather has been so bad that I've been 'under it'. Last Thursday night, while I was minding my own business, I was stricken by some ailment that left me on the sofa for 4 days and with no appetite for 6 days. I lost almost 10 lbs! Better now, but tomorrow will be ONE FULL week since I've gone for a walk.

What have I been doing in the meantime? Well, Leslie, Richard, and I have been hanging out. That's Leslie Sansone (Walking Off The Pounds) and Richard Simmons (well, you know who he is!). Yesterday was the first time I felt I could go for a walk of a mile or so, but the weather was just too cold once I returned home from work. So, I popped one of Leslie's tapes in my aging VCR and walked, after a fashion, for 2 miles - or 30 minutes.

Today, it's warmer but still not suitable for walking outside because of the icy patches, so I dug out a really old Sweatin' With The Oldies and worked out with Richard Simmons. I actually do not do most of his dance steps. I do most of Leslie's maneuvers while singing along with Richard and his crew. Big Girls Don't Cry - at least not this Big Gal.

I'm really hoping that the predicted ice storm tonight will clear out enough for me to meet my walking buddy at the mall for our usual Thursday morning hour long walk. I NEED it.

But, if that's not possible, I'll boogie with Leslie or Richard.



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WANT TO LIVE TO 100?

Do you want to live to 100 years of age? I'd like to if I'm healthy. Maybe that way, I'd actually live long enough to see grandchildren. I know, I know. Be careful what you wish for!

But, back to living to 100. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of October 21, 2010, there's a long article containing the sage advice of a woman who is a healthy centenarian. How did she get that way?

I glossed over most of the very long article til I got to a sub-headline stating 'A Walking Example'. Whoa! Now, there might be something good in this section - something I'd actually enjoy doing other than eating my fiber and living a 'good life'. LOL.

The woman who is the subject of this article does an hour of yoga (no, not for me. You have to get on the floor. Then you have to be able to get back up.) After yoga, she goes for a half hour walk before breakfast.

Now, a half hour may not seem like much, especially after a full hour of yoga, but I'm liking this part of the 'cure'. But, maybe that's just me. Give me an assignment that I like, and I'll do it nicely for you.

Okay, what other good things must I do to live to a healthy 100? Give up chocolate? Eat only 1,200 calories a day? Do yoga? None of these seems likely. But, I will keep walking. What about you? What would you be willing to do/not do to live to a healthy 100?


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Monday, December 6, 2010

YOU KNOW THE OLD SAYING....

Dance like nobody's looking? I love that saying, especially since I love to dance but have all the grace of a galumphing brown bear. Ask me if I care. NO!

I dance in public pretty much like nobody's looking. I try not to do any stripper type dances in public. I promise. But, I LOVE to dance, so I just go for it.

Here's a thought. Turn on some 'happy' music - salsa, disco, whatever floats your boat - and DANCE at home, all alone. Do the twist. Do that one where you pretend to be wearing a scuba mask under water. Do the 'chicken'. Do the 'Limbo' - how low can you go??

Do this when you can't get out to do anything else like if the streets are icy. Do this when you're feeling crabby. Do this when you're antsy. It's a cure for all three of these things. Really!

And, there is the plus that, well, if you're home alone, no one is watching. No critics. No embarrassment. No such thing as the wrong way to do a dance.

I have personally fallen in love with a waltz called Wonderland Waltz from the Johnny Depp movie version of Alice in Wonderland. It's by the Plain White Tees and is an energetic waltz. It's not what I'd call a 'happy' song - but it's a fantastic dance and I'd do it 27 times a day if someone would play the music for me. As it is, I have to wait for my twice weekly dance lessons and bug the teacher (who also loves this particular dance) to play it more than once. While one might not think of the waltz as being a strenuous dance - not like the Forbidden Lambada - it's quite a workout.

And, I don't care who's watching. I'm gonna dance that dance anywhere, anytime I hear it!

Note: Refer to this article for more on this dance:
http://ewalkandtalk.blogspot.com/2010/11/dancing-with-johnny-depp.html



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

HOW CAN I GO TO WORK AND EXERCISE?

Figuring out how to fit a walk into one's daily work schedule is a persistent problem. An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of November 18, 2010 addresses this issue nicely.

Here's what the brief but pithy article says. (I just love being able to use 'pithy' in a sentence!)

*use weights at your desk - store a small hand weight (a full can of soup works fine) and use it to do biceps curls up to 3 times a day. (If you're not familiar, check here to learn the proper way to do biceps curls. Ignore the 10 second advertisement and be patient til you get 57 seconds into the video. You can do them sitting down just fine.)

*take the stairs (do I need to explain this? UP as well as down.)

*do triceps curls while the microwave is heating coffee or lunch - back up to the table or counter, grasp it with you hands, bend elbows, and dip thighs.

*do squats. Stand at your desk every now and then, extend your arms and bend those knees. Go down only as far as you're comfortable which may be only an inch or so at first. Up and down. Hold for a count of 5, working up to a count of 20.

*(and their best hint) walk when you can - around the block, to another cubicle or department, to the printer even if you can roll your chair there.

AND - I'll add these two:

* get up from your desk as often as you can.

* stand up to do some of your work. Nothing says you can't stand while talking on the phone or thinking. You can think and stand at the same time, right??

Doing these little things regularly really adds up. Don't start quantifying it until you've been doing one or two of these activities for a few weeks. Add one new movement each week. Once you've gotten comfortable with a few of them in your routine, start taking note of how many minutes each day you're able to move your body. When you get up to 20 minutes of these activities each day - in any combination - consider this - YOUR BOSS IS PAYING YOU TO WORK OUT and you are very likely increasing your productivity.



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WALK OR NOT??

Had an MRI today (don't ask) and didn't realize how tense I was about it. It only lasted 20 minutes and I knew what to expect (some claustrophobia, lots of noise). But, when I got done with it, I was a mass of pain. I must have been tensing every muscle in my body in an attempt to remain perfectly still for the full 20 minutes while lying on a hard flat surface which is supremely unpleasant for me.

Drove home right away, feeling slightly sorry for myself. As I turned onto my street, it occurred to me that, at 4:30 PM, I had a choice. I could either shed my shoes and sack out on the sofa watching mindless TV after taking some Tylenol for the pain OR I could take advantage of the remaining 30 minutes or so of daylight, please my 4-legged child in the shortrun, and walk away my tension and pain.

I made the right choice! I rushed into the house, laced up my walking shoes, leashed the dog, layered myself for the chilly weather and hit the street 15 minutes later. We only walked for about 30 minutes, but that was enough time and exercise to release all the stress from my muscles and alleviate a lot of the pain!

Hooray for nature's pain relievers, endorphins!

Remember that you, too, have this choice each day that you're tense, in pain, or crabby. Do you go with those feelings (physical and/or emotional) or do you do what's best for your body and spirit and work those bad things out with a little walk or other physical activity? Do the right thing!


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DOING 100% OF YOUR 10%

Every day, there is only about 10% of our activities that we have 100% control over. Think about it. Meals must be served at a fixed time. Work hours are established for most of us. Traffic signals and the car(s) in front of us determine how long it'll take to get to work or run that errand. Other people's realities overlap with ours and we get side-tracked. Taxes must be paid, diapers changed, soccer games attended, walls painted, groceries purchased, etc. So many THINGS!

So, what do you do with the 10% over which you might have control? How do you spend that time? Is it all work and no play? Is it spent in front of the TV or computer? Is it devoted to the well-being or needs of others?

Take back your 10% and devote yourself to putting 100% of yourself into that 10%. That means, Take Care of Yourself! Do what's right for YOU - not the kid, the spouse, the neighbor, the boss. Read a book, get a manicure, eat an ice cream cone, AND go for a walk.

In reality, we can't give 100% to that 90% or even the 10% if we aren't willing to give 100% to taking care of ourselves. How will the car run with no gasoline? Will it run efficiently with no oil change? No!

Don't feel guilty. Don't whimp out. Don't let anyone take away your 10%. Give 100% of yourself to the 10% you get to devote to yourself!



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WALKING AND THINKING (AND GRIEVING)

I'm able to work out a lot of my emotions in my head while I walk. Today, my dog and I walked three miles, mostly around the track near my house. My heart was/is heavy. I had just recently learned of the suicide of one of my oldest child's grade school friends, a bright, cheerful kid back in the day. The young man has a brother two years younger than he who was in the same class as another dear friend's son, and a much younger sister, who was my daughter's classmate. So, the mom and I spent a lot of waiting time in the school foyer together, sharing our hopes and fears for our kids, laughing over their goofiness, and cheering each other through the kids' successes.

That private school class of 27 kids (21 boys as I recall) was an extremely academic one. At one point when they were all still in high school, I noted that 21 of them had received some sort of special honor - National Merit Scholarship, Missouri Scholar, Scholar Athlete, etc. That's an amazing percentage!

Now, the amazing percentage is a sad one. Three of those young men are dead. Such a tragedy. And, who knows why a bright, attractive kid with a loving family kills himself? I don't think even the kids' know themselves. They just can't see the light ahead.

But, back to my walking. I often compose articles to be posted here while I'm walking. I'm able to come back home and type away, putting down most of my ideas for you to read. Today, I spent my three miles composing a letter to this boy's parents. There are truly no words to console parents who have suffered such a loss. But, we all feel the need to offer some, don't we?

Usually, the things I'm able to ruminate on and work thru my brain cells are happier. Sometimes I walk with God and express my gratitude for the beautiful scenery and my very fortunate life. Sometimes I walk with the sure confidence that all is well with the world despite what the newspaper says. Sometimes, like today, I walk with tears in my eyes and a heaviness in my chest that will ease over time. I know that. For me, there is hope of a brighter day. For Jimmy's parents and siblings, I'm not so sure. I hope they will walk with his memory in their minds and his love in their hearts. I know I will never forget him.


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Friday, November 26, 2010

IT'S BEEN ALMOST THREE YEARS!!

It's been almost three years since I began this blog. Some articles I've posted have had little to do with walking. But, I hope all of them have added something to your experience of walking or other exercise.

I just went back to reread that very first post. You can read it here . I promised, but have not created, the sister site to match up walkers. Let me first ask if there's any reader(s) out there who are interested in such a site - sort of a match mates service for walkers? If there is interest, I'll get the site developed.

Also, I'd be very interested in learning from readers what advances they have made in their walking regimen. Has anything you've read here encouraged you to walk more or do other forms of exercise? Have you learned something?

Finally, I'd ask for every reader to post a question or comment about his/her personal experience with walking. Do you keep a log? Have you worked to increase the distance you walk or the amount of time you walk? Has walking improved your life, your health, your outlook?

Also, if you're a newer reader, I strongly encourage you to go back and read the first 20 or so articles in order. There's a lot of information there, some of which might be more helpful or encouraging than the more recent articles. I do not want to forget my goal - to get people off the sofa and out into the world of walking, moving the body, to feeling better and improving quality of life.

My dear mom just turned 88. She still walks every day despite the fact that she is nearly blind (from macular degeneration). Her loss of vision has impaired the speed at which she can walk, so she doesn't enjoy it as much as she formerly did. But, she still does it every day and she claims that she's the only person in her independent living apartment complex who doesn't complain about aches and pains every day. She doesn't have any! She beats me at that! But, as she says to anyone who'll listen, 'you can't sit in front of the TV all day and feel good'. I really think she's onto something.

So, I'm just carrying on a legacy of the strong women in my family. My mother's mother lived into her nineties and walked every day of her life too in addition to living a rural lifestyle which required a lot more physical work than we modern housewives and moms are used to.

Please feel free to post your successes here. We'd all like to share in the success with you!



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

OH, THOSE BIKERS

Bikers pose a special problem for walkers. Bikers of any age seem to feel that all horizontal surfaces within the public domain are for their sole use. Adult bikers apparently have no problem taking on cars whizzing by on streets with no shoulder for the biker to bail on.

Many bikers also have little respect for walkers and the sidewalks on which we walk and from which they are legally restricted. They whiz by walkers with no respect (often on the sidewalk). They often don't warn us that they coming up behind us, don't seem to understand that we have a legal and moral right to be on the sidewalk or track, and are generally dismissive of us as being non-athletes.

Right. I am a 'non-athlete'. I'll happily let any biker know that. I'll also let him/her - aw, shoot, it's always a him - know that if they collide with me, it's one thing. But, if they hurt my dog - they'll be really sorry.

My friend Stephanie routinely rides her bike to work. She's a middle aged woman who is not training to join Lance at the Tour de France. She's just minding her own business, and the rules of the road, as she makes her way to work about a mile from her home. She is frequently cursed and side swiped by guys trying to outdistance Lance that minute.

Poor Lance. He takes a lot of abuse here.

One way I have decided to address the issue of disrespectful bikers is to start training the young kids who bike around the track where I walk. I've had quite a lot of success. I begin with asking them to please let me know when they're coming up from behind so they won't scare my dog (which they do. She's a real scaredy-dog). By their second or third time around the track, lapping me each time on their training wheels or trikes, they begin to get it. I say 'thank you' EVERY time they get it right.

Maybe the way to get the Lance-wannabes in line would be to just thank them each time we survive being passed by them. What do you think?



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'M NOT AMY VANDERBILT, BUT....

There are certain rules of etiquette that concern walkers and others who use the sidewalks, trails, and streets of our world. We'll all be a lot safer and happier if we can agree on a few Rules of the Walker's Road.

1. If you're riding a bike, skating, or otherwise going faster than the prevailing foot traffic, it would be especially nice of you to let the walker in front of you know that you're coming up from behind. A simple 'on your left' will warn the walker that you're in the neighborhood. I spend a lot of time teaching this simple nicety to the children who bike around the track I walk on. It's always more pleasant to avoid a collision than suffer one.

2. If you're walking across a street, PAY ATTENTION to the cars. As a walker, you may legally have the right of way, but would you rather be right or dead? Walkers slow down traffic when we fail to remain alert to what's going on around us. This makes drivers cranky.

3. Walkers (and joggers) have neither a Constitutional nor God-Given right to listen to their Ipods in stereo. Unplug one ear whenever you're walking around others. Not only will you still be able to hear what's on your Ipod, you'll also be able to hear the nice biker coming up from behind you when s/he politely states, 'on your left'.

4. DO NOT ASSUME that because you can see a car the driver can see you. Wear light colored clothing when walking at dusk or later, use reflectors and flashlights, be aware that, if you're walking into the setting sun, you may well be approaching a 'blinded' driver. Refer to #2 above.

5. Don't 'hog' the walking/biking/skating surface. Make room for others to pass you safely.

6. Dogs walked properly will be on the walker's LEFT. Dogs walked improperly will wander into the paths of others, trip their owners or others, and generally cause confusion. If you are walking your dog, be sure that your dog follows rules #1-5 above.

7. Do yourself a favor and don't walk where there are Sweet Gum Balls. If you have no personal experience in this area, consider yourself forewarned. It's impolite, not to mention painful, to break an ankle. To that end, if you own property that allows Sweet Gum Balls to fall on the sidewalk, it is your civic duty to remove each and every one within 5 minutes after it hits ground.


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LAKE HELL - ER, HILL

I recently attended a state conference at the Grand Glaize Inn at Lake Ozark, Missouri. I hadn't been to that area in years. The Inn is ok - no great shakes. The conference was informative and time consuming. I knew that to be able to sleep in a hotel room (I have sleep issues most nights), I'd definitely have to get in a walk. The conference schedule allowed little free time, running from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM or later with one hour for lunch and two hours for supper. Had to finagle a walk somehow.

To that end, I laced up my walking shoes and went for a 30 minute walk at lunch. I walked down the road 15 minutes, looking for fast food or a convenience store with no luck, and 15 minutes back to the Inn. Grabbed a protein bar and a soda and headed back to the conference.

For supper, I drove to Hyvee (which if you're not familiar with and have access to, get yourself there!), loaded up some goodies from the salad bar and some juice, and got back to the Inn. I'm a late eater, so their supper time didn't suit me. I stashed the food in my room and headed out to the trails behind the Inn.

The Inn is directly on the Grand Glaize River part of Lake Osage. It's very pretty. Virtually every property has its own marina. The hotels and condos all perch on bluffs above the river. So, the trails are pretty much straight up and down. I took stairs down to the lakefront and began following the trails. Passed a boat aptly named 'Cirrhosis of the River'. Made me laugh.
Called my husband to tell him about the boat's name. While I was speaking with him, I started hiking up a hill. A really steep hill. I'm walking and talking and the next thing I know, I'm completely winded. This doesn't happen to me.

The afternoon was still sunny and warm. The cold breeze of the previous day had vanished and I was psyched to be outside, enjoying the scenery on my walk. Trudged up that hill. Out of breath. Finally told my husband that I had to get off the phone. By then, I had topped the hill and walked around the parking lot at the Inn. To get in my 30 minutes of walk, I had to circle the parking lot a couple times. No way was I going back down that hill!

By the time the conference meetings were over for the evening and I retired to my room for a shower and some food, I was beat. Slept well that night. Maybe that hill wasn't so bad after all.....




***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DANCING WITH JOHNNY DEPP

Well, not exactly. I find Johnny Depp to be an accomplished actor and a handsome, if boyish, lad, but way too young for me. And, I've seen very few of his movies. However, I'm completely in love with the Wonderland Waltz from Depp's "Alice in Wonderland" movie. Let me explain.

A couple weeks ago, there was a linedance workshop in Chicago - Windy City Dance Expo. My favorite dance teacher attended and came back with this great new waltz to teach us. Larry, my teacher, told us that every time he heard this song played, he HAD to dance. Unlike most dances, I learned this one very quickly and it has quickly has become my favorite! The second week we practiced it, I came into the class telling Larry that I wanted to dance this waltz SIX TIMES. I think we got to it four times - which is at least twice more than usual for a new dance we're learning.

If you're not familiar with the music, check it out. The Wonderland Waltz is performed by a newish band, The Plain White Tees. It's a waltz in a minor key - another oddity. But, that was perfect for the pre-Halloween weeks we were learning it.

Another thing about this dance is that it's looooong. It's a workout in itself! Try doing the waltz on your own, taking long strides which are required with this dance, and see how many times you can do it. At dance class this evening, we danced it twice in addition to the two new dances we learned and several others we did by request - ones we've already mastered.

So, today, instead of walking, I danced! It's so much fun. I highly recommend linedancing or couples dancing for anyone who likes to move. Great aerobic workout and fun, to boot!



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TWIST AND SHHHH, DON'T SHOUT, PLEASE!




In my unending quest to find interesting ways to keep myself active, I recalled a device that I had seen years ago but never used. Naturally, I began surfing the 'net to find one. Didn't even know what to call it. It's a device that one stood on and twisted. The idea is to take off some weight around the middle OR strengthen the abs. Might do both.

It took me some time to find such a device. I found a site that purported to sell these devices that are manufactured in China. Isn't everything? So, I placed an order for one - about $25 with free shipping. I waited, and waited, and waited. I emailed and was reassured that my order would be filled but they were back-ordered. Finally, after 4 months, I cancelled my order and was refunded my full purchase price. Good so far, but still no 'Twister'. It's not a Twister. That's the name of a game from the 1970's, I think, that results in a lot of compromising and embarrassing contortions of the body. Not for me.

Finally, I found one of the 'original' devices for sale on ebay. I ordered it (and paid about half what the 'new' one cost) and received it a few days ago. It's pretty much fun. No idea if it'll result in producing any of the benefits originally claimed. Probably not or it'd still be marketed, right? But, it's easy to do and is another small, inexpensive device to add to my slowly increasing array of gadgets to keep me moving.



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Friday, November 12, 2010

SPRING INTO FALL

Call it Global Warming, call it El Nino or La Nina, or just call it crazy. We're having Spring weather in Fall in St. Louis. I know this to be true because I typically have Fall allergies and my husband always has Spring allergies and we've switched seasons. This is conclusive proof that we're Springing into Fall this year, 2010.

What does this have to do with walking? Let's be clear. I'll walk in most any kind of weather, so long as there's no ice underfoot. But, wind slices right through me and, just like that, triggers my Fall allergies, making me sound like a cheese grater looks. No fun either. There have been years when I was hoarse for as long as three months straight.

So, in the Fall, when the winds and rain start in this part of the world, I take care to keep my throat out of the path of said wind. This means, I can walk, but I can't walk and talk. My voice is muffled under layers of fleece to prevent the wind from reaching my vocal cords.

Actually, it's fairly well documented by medical research that exercise such as walking aids greatly in preventing allergies. I have found this to be true in my own life. The more I walk, the less likely I am to get sick - whether it's from an allergy or a virus or a bacterium. Walking supports a healthy immune system.

Obviously, there are times when one shouldn't exert. The doctor's rubric is that if you're sick from the head up, you can exercise. If you're sick from the neck down, it's time to take rest, take fluids, and baby yourself. I pretty much agree with this. So, let's all go walking and build up our immune systems to fend off the flu and such that assault us each winter.



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PUZZLING NEW PLANT

I spend a lot of time admiring the well manicured lawns of the houses I walk by on the streets near my house. So many people invest lots of time and money to make their lawns attractive. Me? I typically take the path of least resistance. I appreciate the beauty of these lawns but refuse to invest either the time or money into creating such an oasis in my own yard.

I also 'collect' interesting plants I see along the way. I don't steal them. I just find ones that attract me and try to learn more about them, usually by calling my green-thumbed mom. Yesterday, I found a real beauty! And, cannot identify it. Maybe a reader can help.

It's a bush on the southeast side of a southeast facing house. It's low to the ground with slim limbs that bow, arcing from the center out. The leaves are the shape of a human eye with the pointed end facing farthest from the limb. The leaves are bright, almost chartreuse. BUT, the coolest thing is the fruit/nut/whatever on the limbs at the leaf intersections. They are the size of a sweetgum ball, are a deep orchid color (I'm very color impaired, so I can tell you that they're not red, not pink, not maroon, not mahogany, not purple - but a sort of reddish purple that I call orchid). The neatest thing about the fruit/nut is that each one is round but consists of smooth, little bumps, making it look somewhat like the inside of a pomegranate.

Not a very good explanation. I have no idea what to google. I've never seen any signs of life at this house, but I plan to knock on the front door next time and ask. In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas of names of plants that I can google to find the right one, please let me know.




***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Monday, November 8, 2010

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY

Today was unseasonably warm and sunny, so I skipped out of work a bit early (as it gets dark by 5 PM since the loss of DST) so my pup and I could walk a bit. I got home, changed into my walking shoes, watched Jeopardy with my daughter, then put the leash on Lizzie (my 4 legged child) and headed for the park.

I was amazed at how few people were at the park. There were two or three kids at the playground but only 2 joggers on the track! So, Lizzie and I were unhampered in our walk. One child on her teeny bike was on a collision course with us, but, at the last minute she changed course so we all survived unscathed.

Later this year, I'll be able to walk at the park closer to dusk. There's one corner of the track where the trees are especially dense. The track is sort of a plateau, the high point in the neighborhood, surrounded on three sides by schools and homes but on the third, there's a nice stand of dense woods. At dusk, if we're quiet, we can see the deer sticking their noses out of the leaves to see if the coast is clear for their turn on the track.

However, as soon as the deer see the dog, they hide back in the woods. Apparently dogs and deer don't go well together. We've actually had deer in our backyard. Our house is in a subdivision where most of the houses are on about half-acre lots. Most yards have a nice line of trees at the back of the lot. My back yard, due to years of benign neglect, has a nice patch of trees with dense undergrowth at the back property line. Fences keep the deer from meandering through the neighborhood, but they do find their way to our yard and to those of our neighbors.

It's really exciting to see a group of deer when I'm on a walk. There are several patches of dense woods in the neighborhood where they can hang out without fear of being bothered. They're a real pain for drivers - a true road hazard. But, I enjoy seeing them on my walks. One more thing to add to the list of things that one can enjoy better on a walk than any other way.



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

RECONNECTING

Had an afternoon off last Friday and took my mom to the mall to get some of her favorite Panda Chicken egg rolls. While there, we ran into my friend Kathy G (a reader here) whom I hadn't spoken to or walked with in quite a while. Since we both had the rest of the afternoon off, we planned a walk together.

I dropped mom off at her apartment and drove home, called Kathy, and laced up my walking shoes. Kathy and I met and got to walk and catch up on news of family and friends for about an hour. By then, I was zapped. Kathy's walking pace is a tad quicker than mine, so I try to keep up. She wasn't aware of that - and I purposely didn't make her aware til I finally, inadvertently, said something about it near the end of that walk. She was surprised!!

Well, she's about 10 years younger, about 40 pounds lighter, and a real go-getter and she's surprised that her pace is quicker than mine!! Guess I'm flattered. But, main thing is, I enjoy walking and talking with her.


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

MAKING NEW FRIENDS

At the park by my house, there's a nice, blacktop 1/3 mile track, mostly flat, that traverses around soccer/baseball fields, next to other fields and a playground. This is my 'default' walking location - when I have little time to walk, when I walk with my husband as with 2 adults and 1 dog we're wider than the sidewalk, where I walk when there's too much traffic or it's too close to dark to be safe on the street.

Recently, every time I'd walk at the park, I'd see the same woman walking. Finally, being the shrinking violet that I'm NOT, I introduced myself to her and asked if she'd care for us to walk together. Her name is P (we'll just call her by her first initial), and, of course, our lives have had many previous intersections but we'd never met before. We ended up walking 3 times together over the next few days, then my schedule got busier and I haven't seen her in a week or so. But, I'm sure our paths will cross again. One lap around, we picked up E (her first initial), a very pleasant lady known t P from the track. Nice conversation and I walked lots farther than I had planned.

Turns out that P hasn't been walking that long, but she walks for 90 minutes every day! She walks for an hour on the relatively flat track then walks the last 30 minutes on the adjacent trails that include some brief but steep hills. Good for her!

Can't wait to run into P and E again! Almost always more fun for me to walk and talk than to walk alone.




***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

RECENT WALKS

While walking recently, I've planned blog articles in my head, but haven't followed through with actually writing them! Sorry 'bout that. Here's what's been going on lately:

Made two new friends at the track in the park near my house.

Reconnected with Kathy G. for a walk.

Found a really neat plant in someone's side yard that I'm trying to identify.

Enjoyed the 'Spring' weather in the Fall. Where have all the allergies gone??? (probably shouldn't say that aloud!)

Twist and Shout

More dance news.

So, here come the articles about these topics. Hope you'll enjoy some of the reading and will be inspired to get/keep moving. Keep reading.....



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

WALKING AND DANCING

I dance most Sunday evenings. There's a great DJ, Larry, who, with his wife, Tracey, host a social dance at their studio most Sunday's from 6 -10:30 PM. Larry also teaches a lot if the dances and is the only teacher at the Wednesday night 'Beginnner' class that my friend Debbie and I attend most weeks. We're not any good at dance, but we're not beginners. We just enjoy it and don't mind going over some of the 'oldies' when a newcomer joins us (which is not often enough!).

The group that gathers to dance on Sunday is diverse - but mostly women. In addition to Larry, there are only two other men who are regulars. But, the women span ages from (I'm guessing here) 36 to 86. That's quite an age span. Plus, we have varying skill levels. Many of the women have been dancing for years and some are even teachers of their own groups on other days. Most of them are far more accomplished at dance than I am, but few of them have more stamina than I have. And, they let me know!

I'm always rarin' to go when we get there. I lace up my dance shoes (slick soled for turning) and dance every tune I know the steps to. Now, that's AFTER I've walked my three miles earlier in the days. After only a few dances, many of the women are complaining about being hot, being tired, hurting feet or knees. Well, yes, my feet hurt too. But, it's time to dance! Who cares if their feet hurt? And, who can be tired when a calypso beat comes up or my absolute favorite Wonderland Waltz.

That waltz usually does it for most people. It's a longer dance than most - and quite energetic, requiring longer strides than most dances too. It simply tires out most of the dancers. Not me! I wanna do it again!

It occurred to me today - while I'm taking a day off work to cook and clean in anticipation of the holidays - that my walks actually give me energy. That wasn't the case from Day 1. I had to work up to it. When I first started walking, I didn't walk 3 miles - closer to 1 mile. And, I was tired when I was done. Now, 3 miles is my norm. Some Thursdays, I'll walk 5 miles in two sessions - 3 in the morning then 2 more when I get home if the weather is nice.

Now, a walk doesn't fatigue me. It actually gives me energy. I need all the help I can get with that! Don't you?



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Monday, October 4, 2010

YES, I HAVE BEEN WALKING

and not writing - again. The weather has been wonderful, for the most part. Also, on September 11, I participated in an all day (and all evening) dance workshop at Crestwood Court. There were linedance teachers from all over the US and at least one from Canada. It was so much fun!! I highly recommend a good linedance as an alternative to walking - and to mix it up a bit.

My friend Debbie and I are having fun with the linedancing. We even taught a group of women (and two guys and a bunch of kids) two linedances for a talent contest at Debbie's church. Well, not sure how much talent we demonstrated, but the women there are interested in continuing to linedance, so we're trying to find a place and time to get together once a week so I can teach them the linedances I know.

If you know me personally, this won't surprise you - that I'd be teaching linedancing. I'm not any good at it, I'm sure I'm not graceful and not much fun to watch doing it, but I LOVE it. At least, I can teach the specific steps AND pass along my enthusiasm for the activity. LOL.

But, I won't be giving up my walking. I'll be doing that every day, including most days that I dance for 1-3 hours. The only thing that gets in the way of these activities are those irksome things like work and housekeeping. And, if you know me, you know the housekeeping activities will just have to wait.....


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

WHAT I SAID...

I don't have a PhD or an MD or any D - just my brain, my observations, and my experiences. I've written about those here - at least insofar as they relate to my walking. But, if you'd rather have the word of an 'expert', then this is a good article:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/small-steps-can-lead-to-a-big-lifestyle-change.html

The whole idea in the article (as I've written) is small changes, focus on health rather than on weight, no judgment, just moving forward the best you can. Please let me know how you feel about the article.


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RESORT WEATHER

I finally had enough time to walk the dog (Lizzie) this afternoon. Just ran away from work despite the amount left to do because it's finally not 100 degrees! And, it's overcast. We walked for about an hour in the streets around my neighborhood. This dog just LOVES to walk. I feel bad when I can't take her with me - but she's not well socialized to other dogs and requires too much attention for me to walk with her and another human (and I have the broken wrist to prove it).

When I walk, I often get ideas of things to write about here - but lose the thread of that by the time I return home. I'm still dancing twice a week, too, Also, I've ordered one of those old discs that you stand on to twist. Do you remember those? I was talking about the device to my husband the other day and decided to look online to see if such a thing is still being made. Found one and ordered it - less than $25 with free shipping. I'll let you know if it's a good addition to my exercise regimen. I think it'll work fine because, like my stationary bike, I can do it in front of the TV and be done without thinking about it much.

More to follow.


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WALK YOUR A%$ OFF??

My britches have been fitting funny. Not too big really, but wrong somehow. I hadn't been paying much attention. In the warm weather, I tend to wear walking shorts (Burmuda) or capris (just a few inches below the knee). I stay active, even at the office, and remain hot most of the time, so short sleeves and shorter hems suit me well. So, what's going wrong?

I put on a pair of white capris I purchased just last year. They look good on me head on. Then, I turned to get a side view and see that the pants are riding forward from the bottom to the hem behind my knees. Wow! Where'd my buns go? I've walked them off - literally.

There's that new 'reality' show on TV, something like Dance Your A** Off. I know that's an 'expression'. At least, that's what I thought. I didn't dance it off, but it appears that I did walk it off. Oh, yeah, that IS the name of this blog, isn't it.

So, there's hope for all of us. Heaven knows I had a generously (to be kind) endowed derriere. Now, I've got almost none. A case could be made that maybe I should look at myself in the mirror a bit more. Not likely to happen. I'm usually on the run and feel 'pulled together' if everything is clean and matches.

If this isn't a good endorsement for walking, then I don't know what is. What have YOU walked off (thighs, derriere, pounds, depression, worries)??



***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A WALKING BLOG? NOT!!

This is pretty funny. From time to time, I google 'walking blog' to see if I can find anyone else blogging about walking. The reason I started this blog is because I found most other blogs to focus on weight loss or other exercises more than on walking. It might be difficult to make writing about walking INTERESTING - but I do try to be encouraging and informative - to share my passion for walking in hopes of motivating others to discover what I've discovered about feeling better by walking.

So, I googled and found this:
http://blog.youwalkaway.com/

Click on it at your own risk. It's not pornography or anything. But it's equally obnoxious in some ways. It's about walking away from your home mortgage.

Not what I had in mind when I started a walking blog. Does that sound misleading to you??


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'M STILL WALKING. ARE YOU?

Lately, it's either been storming or HOT! Kinda hard to walk when the wind is blowing torrents of water into your face. That's what the mall is for, I guess. Same for some of the miserably hot/humid days we've had. While I'm almost always game to walk in the heat and humidity, some of my walking buddies are not, so it's off to the mall for us.

I've also been dancing. Line-dancing has become a true love of mine. Most weeks, my friend Debbie and I dance on Wednesday's and Sunday's. We're in a beginner's class (we aren't beginners, but we get more actual dance time) on Wednesday's and there's a 'social' dance on Sunday's with a nice group of people - mostly women - who don't seem to mind the unintended solo movements that compose many of my dances!

Back to walking. Have you been at it? If not, why not? Life does intrude - but remember, we have to make it a priority before others will respect our determination to move and feel better.

I recently read a magazine article (can't remember where) that emphasized how the human body is designed for walking. Did you see those 6,000 year old shoes recently discovered in a cave in Turkey? In those days, if you wanted to get ANYWHERE, it had to be on your own two feet. I don't even think humans were riding horses or burros or whatever yet.

I often think of our ancestors who walked across this country to find a better life. They walked from the relative security of the Eastern territories to places like Missouri then on further west. There are many diaries written by pioneer women who buried husbands and children along the way. They were strong people - mentally and physically - to endure the hardships they did. They walked to make it easier on the horses who were pulling wagons or were laden with other loads of household goods. They walked to ford streams, cross mountains, and blaze trails. And, they didn't have fancy Nike's or New Balance shoes either.

I DO NOT think I would have survived such a trek. They averaged 20 miles a day! I'm exhausted after 3 miles and I'm not carrying a baby or worrying about being attacked by a bear! Every time I think of our Westward Expansion, I think of the women (and men) who endured. Could I? Would I?

Could YOU? Would you?

So, that little bit of walking we're doing now, to keep moving and to feel good, seems like not much of an accomplishment compared to our ancestors. More reason to keep moving forward. We honor those who blazed those trails. We keep ourselves healthy so that we can feel better. Not a thing wrong with that!


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Monday, May 24, 2010

IT'S HOT!

Whoa! In St. Louis, we just went from autumn to summer! A few days ago, it was about 40 degrees. It's rained every day for EVER (it seems). Then, yesterday, it got up to 88 degrees! I walked but not aggressively. My 4 legged walking companion just came back home from a 10 day absence (and confinement) and she's really not up to the heat. I took her for a walk this afternoon. It didn't seem that hot to me - well, it was plenty hot - but doggie was definitely dragging. I cut short the walk at about 2 miles. We'll have to work her up to the three mile mark. She's done nothing since 5 PM (it's now almost 10 PM) but drink and lay on the A/C vent when it blows on her! Wish I could do the same thing!

But, she loves to walk, and so do I, so we'll be back on the trail soon. Hope others are getting out there too.

In a day or two, I'll have a review here of another book I found soon. A good one!


***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WHEN TO WALK? and a rant

The actual answer of when to walk is.........anytime! I've been walking a lot more lately than I've been writing. Did you miss me? I hope you were out walking too.

My husband and I are book collectors. We went to a book sale recently and came home with a few additions. One is a book entitled, "Walk Don't Die' by Fred Stutman, M.D. The title was intriguing. So, I plunked down my 25 cents and took it home.

This author is crazier about walking than I am! The first 3/4 of this book is a RANT against jogging! Stutman believes that joggers run themselves to death. As a former jogger, I am familiar with the joy that joggers gain from running - the so-called 'jogger's high'. I enjoyed that too for several years. Then age and reality (and quite a bit of weight) brought me back to reality.

Most of the points that Stutman makes about walking are completely accurate because most of the supposed advantages of jogging vs walking are myths. Walking is a far less hazardous activity that has benefits equal to those offered by jogging. In fact, the only advantage that I have found to jogging is that you (you, not me - a very slow runner) can cover more ground thus get the workout completed in less time. That's not much of an advantage when weighed against other factors - like more wear and tear on joints and the frequent need for more costly shoes for joggers rather than walkers, among others.

So, don't waste your money on this book even tho' he's a strong advocate of walking. Go for a walk instead!

***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I KNOW IT'S NOT SPRING BUT.....

the sun is shining, the few clouds look fluffy, and the breeze is not a gust, so I played hooky and went for a walk this afternoon. Even took the dog. She's trying to behave better. I have discovered that I'm pretty safe walking her if I'm not also walking with a human so I can pay full attention to her. If she sees another dog or something else of interest, she'll bolt away and pull me down (remember the broken wrist a couple years ago??).

So, I took the occasion to make Lizzie's day and walk her at the park. She behaved really well til we were about a block from home on our return trip. Another dog on a leash walked toward us. The 'mom' was not reeling in the dog, so we had to stop. That gives the other 'mom' the cue that I'm not comfortable with the dogs interacting. So few people walk their dogs properly - that is on a short leash to the left of the human's body. If everyone walked their dogs like that, I'd be more comfortable taking Lizzie out more.

At any rate, there is no excuse, NO EXCUSE, for not getting off the sofa and out the door. The new NB shoes are so comfy. Guess it helps that they're the right size.....


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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Friday, March 19, 2010

IF YOU EVER NEEDED A REASON....


If you ever needed a reason to convince you to get moving, it might be the NY Times reported effect (March 2, 2010) that regular physical activity has on the ability to "prevent or delay the loss of cognitive functions " (dementia, Alzheimer's). The cited study of almost 3,500 healthy men and women aged 55 and older demonstrated that participants who where physically active three or more times a week were "LEAST LIKELY to become cognitively impaired"(emphasis is mine)!

Maybe this is why my mom, currently age 87, her sister who died several years ago at age 86, and their mother who lived to be 89 years of age did not suffer from dementia - what folks now like to call (incorrectly) Alzheimer's Disease. Dr. Alzheimer's work was with much younger people (like in their 40's) who developed the kinds of cognitive impairments we identify exclusively with the elderly demented - but which can be confirmed only on autopsy.

So, enough of the gloom and doom. The good news here - and it is GREAT news - is that our actions can have a huge amount of effect on how we age - how healthy we remain both physically and mentally.

Given these odds, I'll opt for remaining physically active. Even if/when one can't physically walk, there are activities that can increase health and well being. These include things like chair aerobics, gentle or chair yoga, swimming, and cycling with one of the inexpensive little devices pictured above (widely available. This one happens to be a Gold's Gym product.).

The final 'coup' here is the Australian study with volunteers who reported having memory problems. These volunteers were assigned a 6 month program of physical activity or health education. Eighteen months later, the physically active group showed "a modest improvement in cognition." This and other studies demonstrate the value of exercise, even when started at an advanced age, benefiting short term memory, multitasking, and other cognitive functions.

Sign me up!







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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NEW YORK TIMES a frame of mind

The March 3, 2010 issue of the NY Times Science Digest contains a couple articles that speak to those of us who walk. And, shouldn't that be everyone?

First, there's a small 'Observatory' article by Henry Fountain about the possibility of using our foot power, captured in a tiny crystal cell, to power our cell phones or music player. Wouldn't that be cool? No more batteries or charging the Ipod. Every step one took would capture enough energy to power your walking entertainment for free. Nothing wrong with that!

Right now, it's in the experimental stages, so don't run out to buy that special pair of shoes or whatever. But, stay tuned. This idea MUST attract the attention of Nike or Adidas and the next thing we know, we'll all have access to this little device.


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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I HURT

Joint pain sucks! It interferes with my sleep and bugs me during the day. I've backed off on my Zumba class because the day after a class was when I first had an escalation of joint pain. I've got osteoarthritis, so joint pain is nothing new to me. I've had two knee replacements and have carpal tunnel syndrome.

You know what makes joint pain better? Exercise! No kidding. And, not just for me. Here's why:

I've written before about the release of serotonin in the brain during exercise. That reduces pain.

But, in addition, exercise, when done properly, gets joint fluids to better lubricate the bone surfaces and cartilage. Every normal joint has what's called a 'joint space'. Normal joints have a good amount of joint space so that there is a 'cushion' when you use that joint, especially with higher impact activity. To get the lubricants moving around, you need activity, movement - that's exercise. Plus, activity warms up tendons (which are often the real cause of what people think is joint or bone pain) and muscles. Strong tendons and muscles protect joints.

Strong ligaments around the knee keep the knee from any lateral (sideways) movement. Knees are NOT designed for lateral movement. Lateral movement damages the joint - the bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. Just ask a football player.

Some people have a hereditary predisposition to the loss of joint space and osteoarthritis (see me raising my hand?) and other people have jobs or hobbies (say, racquetball - that's me raising my hand again) that add further wear and tear on the joints causing more osteoarthritis. Being overweight also adds to the wear and tear (darn, raising my hand again).

So, osteoarthritis sucks. Joints hurt. Sometimes it's worse with damp, cold weather. Sometimes it's worse just cuz.

What makes it better is simple exercises, properly performed. Kinda' hard to mess up walking, isn't it? I've never particularly found relief with stretching, but many people swear by yoga and tai chi.

Here's my best advice for pain. Take some Tylenol (or whatever pain reliever you take) about 30-60 minutes before you tie on your shoes and go for a walk. It really does help. Have I said this before? Let me know if I'm repeating myself.........



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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

OPTIONS

We all have options, even if we don't know it. We have the option to remain entrenched on the sofa with our bag of chips watching reality TV. We have the option to blame our aches and pains and failing health and widening waist line on genes, age, and metabolism. We have the option to get up on our feet and do something to make ourselves feel better.

Here's a sad story with an important message. About 10 years ago, I met a brilliant guy, married to a nice woman. The guy, I'll call 'R' weighed about 350 lbs. He used one of those scooters you see advertised on TV all the time. He refused not only to diet or exercise, he refused to walk farther than from his bed to the toilet or kitchen. He refused the advise of his physician (reluctant tho' the doc was) to go to Barnes Hospital to have bariatric (weight loss) surgery.

Over the years, he grew progressively more obese, more dependent on the scooter, and more dependent on his wife to walk (they have no car) to the grocery store to buy the enormous amount of food he must consume each day to maintain his weight. His wife had no insight. She was dependent on him for most decision making - a whole other blog somewhere on the internet.

Last week, R became bedridden because he could no longer make it to the toilet. His wife left him. She had finally figured out that she was part of the problem. Within 3 days of R's inability to get to the toilet and less than 24 hours after his wife left him, sobbing the entire day as she called me and several other friends to inform us of her departure, R was found dead in his bed.

He was 50 years old. He spent all of his adult life addicted to food and blaming doctors and others for the bad outcome of his mother's health, naming that the reason he would not seek medical or psychiatric attention for his own health issues which included legs that weeped serous fluid constantly, breathing difficulties, and finally the tremendous burden his heart had to bear to pump the blood throughout his body.

R was a very intelligent guy. He had a trade in which he was a true expert. He was a great conversationalist. He let himself die in a horrible way. His wife, siblings, nieces, and nephews mourn the loss of their beloved R who was always generous with his time and skills. He was generous with everyone except himself. He never gave himself a chance at a normal, healthy life.

At any time, at any age, at any weight, at any level of debility, we can make a single decision that will improve our quality of life - and perhaps give us back our health and wellbeing. AT ANY TIME. No one has an expiration date. No one is ever beyond the point where s/he can't make a decision, ask for help, turn the page.

I hope that anyone who reads this will take away my message. R didn't have to die at the relatively young age of 50. He didn't have cancer or even high cholestrol. His blood pressure was slightly elevated. His biggest obstacle was his inability to decide to take care of himself in the most basic way.

Step One - Admit there's a problem.
Step Two - Seek a solution.
Step Three - Put yourself into action.

No one else can do this for us. No one else can make us feel worth the effort. No one else can do the exercise for us or change our eating habits or make the decisions we need to make to improve our lives.

Take the steps. Do the work. Enjoy Life. Life is GOOD.





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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Expensive Shoes

If you've been reading my blog, you know that I wear two kinds of shoes - New Balance and Birkenstock. That's about it. I also wear the pressure relief (memory foam) insoles that NB makes. They're wonderful.

About two years ago, at the encouragement of my orthopedist, I went to the NB store for my first pair of their shoes. The doc told me they would assure me of a proper fit. I normally wear a 9.5 A or B width (pretty narrow by today's standards) and the folks at NB put me in a size 10. Fine with me. The shoes were great, but later my doc wanted me to add the metarsal relief (pressure relief memory foam) insoles. So, back I went to the NB store. The shoes and insoles combo cost just under $150.

Now, this is expensive, but not excessively so, considering I don't have to pay a gym membership, the shoes last a good long time, and they're COMFORTABLE! However, I decided to go online to find a better buy on the NB shoes. I wanted another pair to trade off so the shoes would last longer. I found some great buys at various online sources. In the past two years, I've bought 4 pairs of walking shoes and a pair of cross-trainers for Zumba.

Imagine my utter surprise, when I searched online for another pair of insoles and found that I'VE BEEN ORDERING AND WEARING the wrong size NB shoes. I've been wearing size 9.5!
No wonder I'm having toe problems! I had scheduled a visit to the podiatrist and imagined having to order those $700 orthotics to get relief. Now, I think I'll wait til my newly purchased, PROPERLY FITTING shoes come in the mail.

Moral of the story - at least KNOW WHAT SIZE SHOE YOU WEAR! Now, you can all laugh at me at once........



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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MORE NY TIMES INFO

The March 2, 2010 NY Times Science Digest had a couple good articles in it for walkers. Here's a synopsis of the second one. If you want to read the whole thing, google that issue of the paper. The article "Even More Reasons to Get a Move On" is on Page D7, written by regular columnist Jane E. Brody.

This article speaks to the important and measurable positive effects that movement have on people as they age. Beginning exercise at ANY AGE gains improvements in health and well being for all participants. Most of the people discussed in this article are in their 80's. We'll all get there if we keep moving - but who wants to get there without quality of life? Not me.

Jane Brody writes, 'At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a new series of studies prompts me to again review the myriad benefits to body, mind and longevity of regular physical activity for people of all ages." There! It's in print, so it must be true!

Specifics are discussed (as we ALL know that just because it's in print doesn't mean it's true). Higher levels of physical activity have a beneficial effect on numerous conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteopenia and osteoporosis and bone fractures, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. More important, 'exercise produces "a significantly reduced risk of cognitive impairment..." for those who were 55 or older when the study began. This effect crosses gender and race boundaries, too. No losers here!

More specifics soon. Stay tuned. Gotta go dance!


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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

WHERE HAVE I BEEN SINCE JANUARY?

Where have I been since January when I last posted here? I've been working AND walking, dodging the bad weather we've had in St. Louis. We lost the part time person in my office, so I had to fill in. Just hired a new part time person, so, with the coming of Spring, I'll be hitting the trails as in days of old.

In the meantime, I've been walking, dancing, and riding my stationary bike - AND losing about a pound a week. This blog is NOT about dieting or weight loss - it's about getting and staying healthy. For me, that means losing the 20 or so pounds I gained with my knee replacements. To that end, I needed to do more than my exercise regime. So, I decided to cut out sugar. Not all the white foods that Atkins has you eliminate - but sweets. I've been fairly successful with that but I have NOT been obsessive about it. I have a history of disordered eating and have suffered from anorexia long ago, so I work hard at not obsessing. Being fat (moderately so) is lots healthier than being anorexic!

But, I have to tell you about my shoe issues. Tune in to the next blog article for a good laugh at my expense. And, don't give up on your walks even in the bad weather. Use the malls, big box stores, grocery stores - any place that has aisles where you can walk reasonably unobstructed. That usually means you must go there (except for the mall) in off peak hours. Most stores don't mind. Remember (or did you know) that Loew's will allow you dog inside, so you can even walk the dog - but be sure to keep things clean!


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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

MORE 'CURES'....

My son has a sore shoulder. An MRI showed that the muscle has been invaded by fat. He's in his twenties and not overweight. He's also not very fit.

His job requires sitting at a computer all day. He's too tall to comfortably sit at most computer stations, so he tends to slump a bit, aggravating the shoulder pain.

One of his coworkers is also a massage therapist. One day, she brought in some 'medicine' and rubbed it into his shoulder. Well, I'm sure rubbed is not the right word. I'll bet she has some massage techniques that might be more effective than a 'rub'! But, she used only a tiny bit of this stuff and it gave him some relief. Over the next few days, I applied tiny amounts and massaged it into his shoulder with similar results.

Here's the stuff:



http://www.heelusa.com/Traumeel/default.aspx

Just so you'll know, you don't need to be a medical professional or paraprofessional to purchase this stuff. It's homeopathic which means it's not a 'medicine'. I figure it might help some with sore muscles, especially if you're just starting an exercise regime or just becoming active. Don't let sore muscles keep you sitting down. If this cream helps, it's worth the investment in your health.



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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

....ALONG THOSE LINES....


I didn't have to go to work this morning (no car), so I turned on Martha Stewart's show. Today's (January 19, 2010) is about exercise. Most of it is stuff that is somewhat extreme or almost unavailable to me. I'm not going to find a place to pole dance and I don't have any interest in swinging a sword, for instance. Those exercises are better left to others.

But, one product intrigued me. Probably can't use it myself because of my bionic (replaced) knees, but kids and younger folks would definitely love these Kangoo Shoes.

You can learn more about them at:
http://www.skechers.com/shoes-and-clothing/brands/skechers_shape-ups_shoes/list/q/100_and_up

I'd love my niece to get a pair for herself and her son as they both need to exercise. I think you'd get more calorie burn for you walking buck than with regular walking shoes, based on the way these things would make your leg muscles and core muscles work harder to keep you stable. According to the manufacturers, no safety equipment (helmets, arm braces) is needed! Wow! What about the crutch I'd need after I fell and broke my ankle?

Let me know what you think.



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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WHAT ABOUT THESE SHOES??

I know several people who have purchased these shoes and 'swear' by them!
http://www.skechers.com/shoes-and-clothing/brands/skechers_shape-ups_shoes/list/q/100_and_up

They look interesting to me, but I'm unsure of their benefits and the price for an unknown is a bit daunting. I don't mind paying $100 for my New Balance shoes because I know they fit and are comfortable as well as perfectly suited to my daily walking and work. In fact, I rarely wear anything other than my Birkenstock and New Balance shoes - to work, to play, almost anywhere.

So, if you have tried these shoes, I'd love to know your opinion. One person told me that these shoes improve her posture by forcing her to keep her shoulders back. I could definitely use that kind of help!

Disclaimer: The link above is to a site and brand I've never personally used, so this is NOT an endorsement of the product or the site.



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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Monday, January 4, 2010

CURES AND SUCH

One day last week, I was treated to lunch by a firm that specializes in treating opiate addiction. The team that called on my office consisted of a psychologist, John Crum, and two support staff, Lisa and Teresa Taca. John's business partner is Arturo Taca, Jr. MD who is a phychiatrist. Turns out Art's dad was an intern at the hospital I worked at in the 1970's. He was a happy, talented man who had been in practice only a few years when he passed away suddenly, leaving behind his wife and five kids.

Fast forward all these years, and Arturo's son and two of his sisters are working in a field close to my heart. What does this have to do with walking, you're thinking. This team uses medications and cognitive behavior therapy as the base of their treatment program - but they also emphasize lifestyle changes including exercise.

Since they were receptive, I gave them my walking 'business' card. I hope they'll check out the blog and refer some patients here for some encouragement. My thoughts about incremental increases in physical activity - starting slow but staying steady - seem to mesh well with the work this addiction team is doing.

Besides, walking never HURT anyone! Nothing to lose and lots to gain - wellbeing, physical health, a good outlook. Can you name more?


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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I RESOLVE TO MAKE NO RESOLUTIONS...

this year or ever. Talk about a set up for disaster! That would be it for me.

Today, January 2, 2010, is cooooold in St. Louis. Sunny but cold and it's windy. I just took the dog for a walk of about 2 miles. I don't walk her often since I usually have a human walking partner and not paying full attention to the dog results in things like a broken wrist for me. But, she's been stuck inside with the bad weather, too, so I walked her up to the park where it's even windier.

While walking, my Ipod died. A recharging issue, I hope. But, since I couldn't sing along, I got to thinking about reflection. How often do we give ourselves time for reflection? Way too often, my 'reflection' is done in my head while I'm trying to get to sleep. Not really sleep inducing to go over the bad things I've done, the errors and omissions of my days, what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done.

Several world religions have built in periods of reflection. Before Lent, a lot of my friends spend some time reflecting on their lives and what they'll give up for Lent. Yom Kippur is a 24 hour period, during which one is to ask persons and God for forgiveness for prior bad acts. The Twelve Steps has a couple of steps devoted to inventory and making things right. That sort of thing. Requires a lot of reflection.....

Walking is a good time for reflection. It's also a good time to do some 'head time' to escape from some of those realities we've reflected on and found ourselves lacking - or found others lacking. Escaping from these issues can be both refreshing and helpful. The past (and that includes just a couple of minutes ago) is something that seldom deserves close observation on a daily basis. It's fine to glance at the past - but impolite to stare.

So, while you walk today, give yourself permission to do a bit of reflecting. Then, move on - both physically and mentally - to a healthier way of thinking and living. Let walking be a tool for your wellbeing.


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Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.