Thursday, December 29, 2011

HOW CRAZY AM I?

In today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch there was an article (a weekly feature) about a walking trail. Accompanying this article was information about a New Year's Eve walk at Columbia Bottoms, a state park on the Mississippi River near its confluence with the Missouri and Illinois Rivers. I've been there during the daytime, but never at night. This would be an escorted tour of the park.

I want to go. However, I think my husband might have other ideas. He's not quite the walking enthusiast that I am, preferring to jog on the treadmill at the gym. I hope I can talk him into taking this walk. I must call to make a reservation although it's free.

If the weather isn't awful, I might be able to convince him that this is a good way to end one year and bring in the next. He can barely stay up til midnight anyway, so maybe, if I play my cards right and tell him that after the walk (about 9:30 PM) he can go home and go to bed without seeing the ball drop.

The next parts of the equation might be more important depending on the weather. It's a long drive to that part of the St. Louis area - and - what exactly will we be looking for or at in the dark on New Year's Eve? If I'm gonna lobby for this way to spend New Year's Eve, I better get do my homework, huh?



***************************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 28, 2011

WALKING MAGAZINE

No, the magazine doesn't walk! But, it's about walking. Who knew? Why didn't I know there was such a magazine. I've looked online for any related topic but never found any. In a thrift store, I found a copy of this magazine - but it was published in 2005, so I'm not sure it's even still in publication. I'll check on that and get back to you.

In this particular issue, featuring Suzanne Sommers on the cover, there is an article entitled, "Beat Stress", that is about a 25 minute stress busting walk. No problem with that. Except that the article includes far more than walking. There is the Hara Twist, Mindful Walking, Rag Doll roll, and more. Nothing that can't be accomplished by most people whether or not they're wearing comfortable walking shoes.

Accompanying the article is an inset box with these tips for stress busting:
Get a hobby - any hobby (hmmm. Does eating count?);
Walk outside on nature trails;
Journal so you can write down your feelings (always a good idea);
Keep your mind sharp by working the crossword puzzle in the newspaper everyday (well, that WAS 2005 when there were newspapers in print);
Do good to feel good (service work).

There are no secrets in these tips, but they are all good reminders that it is fairly simple to keep ourselves calm and motivated by taking care of ourselves and offering service to others. Charity (which I define as doing something beneficial anonymously with no expectation of return) has been known forever as being good for the human spirit.

While you're walking this week, think of a couple of things you can do for your neighbors, in your community, for your spouse, for the local nursing home that will put a smile on someone's face. Then, go do it! You'll feel delightful when you're done.

Here are a few simple ideas:
Take a bunch of bananas or a stack of old magazines to the nursing home;
Leave a wonderful paperback on a table at a restaurant with a note on it saying 'Free for the Reading';
Bake a loaf of bread, put it in a pretty bag, and leave it hanging on your neighbor's door;
Pick up the litter along your walk;
Leave a love note for your spouse taped to the bathroom mirror;
Find 10 things in your house you no longer use and drop them off at a thrift store or shelter.

Okay. Now, doesn't that feel better? PLEASE do me the honor of suggesting other Pay It Forward ideas here to motivate all of us.


***************************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 26, 2011

PLANNING ON TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF FOR THE NEW YEAR?

I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions. If they work for you, great! I find that the expectations I might put on myself by making a resolution are unreasonable and unlikely to be fulfilled, possibly leading to a hit on my self esteem. Not worth it to me.

New Year's Day is just another day on the calendar. I feel much more like making a fresh start in Spring when the promise of warmer weather and sunshine boost my mood and motivate me to get outside and move more.

So, if it works for you, make a resolution to create positive change in your life. If making resolutions works no better for you than for me, stick to your slow and steady plan of walking a bit more every day til you reach 20 minutes at least 4 days a week. The pay-off is tremendous!

Read the guarantee that accompanies each post of mine. I guarantee that if you do not move your body at least those 20 minutes most days of the week, you will continue to feel achy and miserable, you'll tend to slack on the couch, and stand a very good chance of letting your life pass you by. Why do that when there is this very easy, natural, and free way to improve most things in your life. Just walk it off!



***************************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 24, 2011

MY GROWN UP CHRISTMAS LIST FOR YOU!

Cheery Christmas! Chappy Chanukkah! Keen Kwanzaa!

My Grown Up Christmas List for all of you is this:

Good Health
Great Walking Shoes
Happy Trails

May all the gifts of this Season be bestowed on you with Love and Grace. May you give more than you receive.

After you have your large holiday feast, go for a walk!





***************************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 21, 2011

USE YOUTUBE

I have found a couple of uses for youtube.com that might appeal to you, especially as winter makes it difficult for some of us to get out of doors.

First, there are lots of Leslie Sansone videos on youtube. They aren't the full length videos like you'd buy in DVD form, but they'll give you an idea of what's on the DVD's and they just might get you moving if nothing else will.

Second, linedancing. I was using the music I had downloaded to my Ipod to strut around my family room when I couldn't get outside. Better yet, and for free, I can pull up a particular linedance on youtube - cuz they're all there - and wiggle along with it. One day last week when it was rainy, cold, windy, and miserable outside, I pulled up 5 different dances and moved along with those folks on the little screen. There is a way I can view them on my big screen TV, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Maybe over the holidays when I have my sons and bonus kids here - all of whom are far more technically gifted than I am - someone will get me up to speed with that technology.

This second use for youtube has a distinct advantage for me. It's homework! When I've been taught a new dance on Tuesday or Thursday, I get to practice it at home with the help of youtube.

And, music is uplifting! Walking or dancing, the music really helps. Try it and see if it works for 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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'M STILL HERE...

and still walking most days. Between work, weather, and my newest 'love', linedancing, I walk only 5 to 6 days each week. I dance at least twice, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and most Thursday mornings, I also walk with a friend for about three miles. I only work a half day that day of the week, but I am realllllly tired at the end of that day!

I have a new-ish walking buddy, Kiersten, with whom I walk most Sunday mornings. She lives nearby and is flexible enough to accommodate my often very busy Sunday schedule. We have a couple really good place to walk, the highschool track and a paved trail along the Meramec River. Lizzie, our four-legged walking buddy, loves the river trail.

I've got some more posts coming soon, so please stay tuned.


***************************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 1, 2011

BIGGEST LOSER?? Not.

Just a couple of moments ago, the latest person boosted from The Greatest Loser TV show was on the Today Show. I've never seen The Greatest Loser, but I've seen the promos for it, so I kinda know how it works. This woman had continued to lose but was still voted off.

She has lost a lot of weight, but the key, she said, was the changes in her lifestyle. One thing she said struck a cord with me. "I make myself important" by making exercise a priority. She works out at the gym and walks.

Yep! She makes herself important.

How many of us do not do this? Many I think. Other things always crop up to get between us and the things we should do for ourselves.

Putting on my walking shoes is not the first step in making myself important. It's an early step, but not the first. The first step is giving myself permission to put other things on hold so I can make myself important.

This is how the Twelve Steps work in my life. I have to make this selfish program a priority in my life - not working it for anyone else. I attended my first meetings because of others in my life. But 14 years later, I return again and again - usually twice a week - for myself. It's not about them.

When I first began walking - really making it a habit where everyone around me knew it was going to happen every day - it was because of some external cues. My weight, my arthritis, my inability to continue playing racquetball. Those were all things about me - but my motivation was to 'cure' things.

Walking won't cure arthritis, won't make me lose weight by itself, didn't take away my longing for racquetball. But, it did force me to become my own 'Life Coach'. I no longer had the structure in my life of having to be at the racquet club by 9:30 most mornings. For a disorganized person like me, that structure was helpful.

The very day I determined that my daily walk was more important than the laundry, or my kid's lost book, or bills to pay was the day I made myself important. Wish I could recall the actual date. I would celebrate it every year as a sort of birthday. It was the birth of my self-awareness that if I don't take care of me:
a) no one else will
b) i won't have the physical or emotional resources to take care of those around me.

Every step is a tiny part of keeping me important. Are you important?


***************************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, October 15, 2011

DAMN SWEET GUM BALLS

I HATE sweet gum balls. I had a beautiful tree full of them growing in my front yard and I had the tree cut down - a healthy tree at that. That was hard for me to do. I love trees (even as I hate raking their ever-falling leaves). I love trees but those balls they drop.

Last week, when I was about as far away from home on a walk in the neighborhood as I can get, in broad daylight, I stepped on one of the darn things and twisted my ankle. I gingerly stepped forward and everything seemed alright. Thought I had gotten lucky. Walked on home - a little over a mile - without difficulty.

The next morning, I discovered I had not been so lucky. The first step out of bed proved extremely painful. What I think is the Medial Collateral Ligament hurts like crazy. This is the same area that hurt for about a year after my knee replacement. At that time, I figured it was because the knee prosthesis had been implanted a bit off the alignment originally given me by nature. I had always toed-in. Now, I toe-out a slight bit. So, it took a year for that ligament to stop protesting. Now, it's protesting like crazy.

I didn't dance Thursday as I usually do. I had walked that morning, so I had my exercise for the day. And, the Cardinals were playing in town, so the traffic flow was especially heavy in the direction I would have been traveling. Instead, I sat and iced my knee.

This afternoon, I walked a bit, but it hurt. So, I headed home. It got worse as I walked the half mile or so home. By the time I arrived home, my knee was squealing! So, more ice. It's calmed down a bit, but the first two to three steps every time I get up are killers.

Will try again tomorrow. But, first, I'll bust out a new pair of shoes. The ones I'm wearing have a bunch of miles on them so I'll see if a new pair offers any relief. Usually, I know when to replace my shoes because an old pair of shoes will result in low back pain for me. Switching to a new pair of shoes eliminates that. Since I know that my New Balance shoes are the right size and style and require no 'breaking in', I should be able to tell if they'll help my knee.

BTW - never buy a pair of shoes that requires 'breaking in'. They are not the right shoes for you if they need to be stretched or loosened. The right shoes will feel right from the very first step.



***************************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, October 12, 2011

I LIKE THIS ARTICLE

I just ran across this article.

Good read.

Check it out!

http://optimisticpsychologist.com/walking/



***************************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 10, 2011

MORE GOOD NEWS!







I read a couple articles recently that reinforce how good walking is for us.

First was a study of exercise, especially walking, in patients with osteoarthritis and obesity. Obesity is defined in different ways by different people, but we all know who we are. We're not talking about those people who continue to struggle to lose that 'last 5 pounds'. Typically, an obese person is defined as anyone who is 20 or more pounds above his/her ideal weight. That's most of us, especially if we suffer from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the 'wear and tear' variety without the positive Rheumatoid Factor. We're fortunate to not suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Wear and tear arthritis is what most people over the age of 40 suffer from. For those people, men and women, moderate exercise actually lessens joint pain!

Have you been reading my blog for a while? If you have, you already know my stance on this. Yep! It hasn't changed. Walking will make you feel better - in every case, all the time, no matter what your diagnosis is. Now, we have more scientific proof that this is true. So there! Keep walking - or START walking if you haven't been. Start slow, go steady, increase as you can.

The second article discussed the role of exercise in increasing wellness. Duh! Read the above paragraphs and get moving!

No, really. This is not to dismiss those with serious medical conditions, people in wheelchairs, those so debilitated by physical or mental conditions that they are unable to walk. Those people will improve their physical and mental wellbeing by other forms of physical exercise - chair aerobics, swimming, passive physical therapy, or other activities prescribed by their medical professionals.

For the rest of us, when we're not feeling 100%, when we have a 'blue' day, when we know what we have and that it's not likely to improve over time (like arthritis, for instance), walking and other forms of non- or low-impact exercise will improve things. Every time, all the time, in every case. Check my guarantee below. Remember, it's gonna hurt anyway, right? So, ignore the immediate pain (or take Tylenol or whatever pain meds are prescribed for you) and get your walk on!




Case in point: I've been suffering from migrating facial pain. Sinuses? Dental infection? Migraine? I've had the teeth checked out. No infection, cavities, or other dental issues. That leaves sinuses and migraines - unless we want to think about scarier things. Since I've suffered from migraines since age 9, it's the opinion of two physicians and one dentist that this is likely a migraine variant. There are medications for this sort of thing - and I've taken them in the past for more debilitating episodes. I'd like to avoid that now.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that I hadn't had my usual amount of liquids at work. My face hurt. So, when I got home from work, I chugged 16 ounces of water, put on my walking shoes, and hit the trail. Not a magic bullet - but my pain lessened greatly and I was able to continue with my normal activities without taking migraine meds. Remember - its' gonna hurt anyway. Today, pretty much the same. I'm taking care of myself in the way that works best for me.

I'll see how long this condition continues and how I tolerate the pain. So far, I'm treating myself with Tylenol, water, and walking and getting by.

Note: A headache is the FIRST sign of dehydration. While I'm not a physician and can't (and won't) offer medical advice, I strongly suggest that, if you have a headache, increase your fluid intake (with water or another uncaffeinated beverage) before you reach for another treatment.




***************************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, October 8, 2011

KATHY'S GOOD IDEA

Check this out! My friend and walking buddy, Kathy, has written a nice article about a recent walk she took. An idea I probably wouldn't have come up with.

http://kathys-second-half.blogspot.com/2011/09/mall-walking-with-twist.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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

LONG VIEW FARM

I've decided that Long Meadow Farm is my new favorite place to walk. It takes me just under an hour to walk the exterior trail (sidewalk along the streets that border the park) and the interior trail (a beautiful paved trail through beautiful trees that funnel to a lovely pool).

This former estate was gifted to the area for use as a park. On the property is the original house which is now a museum (I haven't been inside), a play ground, a couple tennis courts, and a barn that houses up to 5 horses I believe. The horse paddock is still there and a stand for mounting the horses that can be used by special needs kids.

Last week when the crisp, clear, sunny Fall day drew me outside, I put Lizzie on her leash, jumped in the car and drove the 15 minutes to Long Meadow Farm. When I was first there, my husband was with me and he didn't want to walk the outer trail. I wondered how long it was and how long it would take me. So, off I went.

There were several other walkers and joggers about, other dogs on leashes, and quite a few kids in the playground. Still, the small parking lot was not full. Few people have discovered this fairly new park. Lizzie and I walked the exterior, 90% of which is street-side sidewalk back to the parking lot, then trudged over to the head of the interior trail. I was really looking forward to seeing the small pond again. The sound of running water (so long as it's not in my house!) is music to my ears.

This is almost a perfect spot to walk. It's not too far from home. It's shady on the hottest of days. It is not overrun with people (altho' that may well change), it's free, and it's beautiful.

I'll be walking there again soon. Find a place you love to walk and use it to motivate you on a day when you'd just as soon stay glued to the sofa. I promise you'll feel 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.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

CHECK THIS OUT!

For some higher-tech walking information, you mightLink want to check out this walking site that originates in New Zealand. New Zealand is a country of walkers. There are actually rural paths that are what we in the U.S. would call Public Access that cross private property. I believe in most countries of the U.K, this is the case. Their concept of private property is a bit different than ours. Their notion is that fields, whether agricultural or dormant, will not be harmed by having people walk across them.

I know people here who are passionately opposed to anyone walking on their front lawn! I have never understood that. I like my privacy as well as the next American, but if lawns are not for walking on and are just for appearance, someone has his/her priorities mixed up. Further, my privacy is seldom affected by the neighbor kid playing a game of tag that includes my front lawn. Now, if you've seen my front lawn, you know it's not a high priority in my life. LOL. It's pretty but it's not manicured nor will it ever be. If the stuff growing there is green, I'm happy even if it's Lamb's Quarters instead of fescue.

But, back to the site I mentioned above. There is a lot of good information there. I hope that you'll have already read most of it here over the articles I've written in the past. If you are new to this blog, please go back and read the first year's articles in order. I do have a point to make. I try to make it in every article I write. You may feel like I'm a record stuck on the same track! That's okay. My goal here is to keep you walking, to garner interest in walking and other easy and accessible physical activities, and to hear inspirational stories from my readers. And, I do. I'm so happy when people email me to let me know of a small or large success. How cool is that!?!

So, check out the other website. And, keep 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. 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, September 27, 2011

NO NAME CHANGE

A friend who reads my blog suggested I change the name of the blog to 'Your Walking Coach' or something similar. Flattering, but, alas the 'Walking Coach' title has been taken. I guess I'll stick with the current title.

I've been walking a lot these past few days. The bright, crisp, clear Fall air is very tempting now that my seasonal asthma attack has passed. It's really hard to stay in the house or in the office when I look outside and see the sun shining and clear skies, knowing the temperature is perfect for a long walk!

All around me, people are happy to see the hot, muggy days of Summer leave. Not me! Even on those hottest of days, I'm happy walking outside. Admittedly, this is not a good thing for my appearance! After only a brief walk on a muggy Summer day, I look like a dog who has been dunked in the river! It takes some time to rearrange my hair and clothing to something suitable for the office or the presence of other humans. The dog doesn't seem to mind. LOL. In fact, it was the dog who held me back this summer. Now that she's seven years old - pushing 40 in the vet's terminology - she can't walk in the heat wearing her full length black fur coat. We were limited to two miles a day unless we walked early morning.

Do you know me? There'll be no early morning walks! Early morning is good for only one thing - and that's SLEEP. My body clock just will not cooperate - no matter how happy my husband is to be up and bouncing at 5:30 AM.

So, late mornings or about 4 PM is when I typically walk. My wimpy friends who insist on mall walking (okay, me sometimes) push the walk time to 6PM or 7PM. Since I'm a night owl that's not a problem for me.

The point is - be flexible, but keep moving. Find a time that works in your life - doesn't have to be the same time every day. If you work full time and can't fit a walk in any other time, consider taking at least half of your lunch time for a walk. If you are a SAHM, don't put everything else in front of your walk. Make it a priority so that you do it. Put it on your list.

If you're just establishing a walking routine, take it slow but keep it steady if you can. Don't do so much that you get overly fatigued or sore - but DO keep walking. Remember, no matter what shape you're in, your body is designed to walk. A good pair of shoes and a positive attitude are your best assets for establishing a walking routine and realizing the benefits of it.

My 89 year old mom who was my first inspiration for walking, recently admitted to me that she actually has a guilty conscience if she doesn't walk every day! She has outlived most of her friends ( a mixed blessing, of course) but the key is that other than her vision, she's in excellent health. She is one of the reasons that I developed this need to walk. Not only do I want to age in a healthy manner, I want the mental and emotional benefits I get from walking. It FEELS good.

Don't just take my word for it. Try it out. Work up to 20-30 minutes a day and learn for yourself the positive changes that will occur in your life. Then tell us about it here!



***************************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, September 21, 2011

MORE DANCIN'

Last evening, a friend and I checked out a dance group that was new to me. Laurie, my friend, took up tapdancing in her adulthood since she had been deprived of them as a kid. But, alas, the studio where she had danced for years went under. Now, Laurie walks and kick boxes and does Zumba. I'm responsible for introducing her to Zumba, and in so doing, lost my regular Tuesday walking partner!!

Now, she's taking a break from Zumba, so I got her to try linedancing with me. So, off we went to a 'new' place. It's in a library and the room has a carpeted floor. Bummer! I was so disappointed.......

Until we started to dance. The teacher, probably at least my age, is very spry and energetic and enthusiastic! Turned out, I knew several of the beginner dances. I was really getting into the groove. There were probably 40 people there, mostly women, mostly African-American. So many people came up to me to let me know they enjoyed my enthusiasm!

How sweet is that?! I'm not any good at it. I kinda remember the steps to a bunch of beginner dances. But, I AM enthusiastic. My motto is Dance Like Nobody Is Watching!

Several of my fellow dancers from Thursday evening were also at this dance. Now, I'm hooked! I think Laurie is too. So, I've got another evening that my poor, sweet husband will have to nuke his dinner for himself.



***************************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, September 14, 2011

KNOCK DOWN

I've been sick since Saturday with a severe case of seasonal asthma. It it's September in St Louis, I will have an asthma attack. This one has been worse than usual.

This past weekend, I had signed up for a dance workshop. Friday evening and all day Saturday. All day means from 9 AM til midnight with breaks for lunch and dinner. I couldn't pass this up although I was getting sick. So, I danced happily Friday night and went home about 10:00, early for me.

Saturday, I arrived at 10:00 for my first class and danced all day til 3:00 when I went home and took a nap. Then, I dragged myself back for the evening session where we get to perform all the dances we've learned and learn a few more very casually. Again, I left about 10:00. I was beat, hoarse, and clearly in need of medication.

Sunday, I took it easy but Monday was back to work - with no voice. I crept out early (one perk of being married to the boss) and remained horizontal the rest of the day. Cough, cough, cough. Wheeze, hack, gasp - Crap! This is not fun.

Tuesday is my mom's book club and she had promised a cake for her birthday (89 on 9/14!!!), so I bought a cake, drove her there, took myself to the mall and strolled for about 40 minutes. Just strolled. Window shopped. But, better than just sitting someplace feeling miserable.

Today, despite medication and rain (which clears the air of allergens), I'm still ailing. So, no walking today. No dancing. A 4 hour work day which was almost too much. Sofa and TV. I'm VERY TIRED of TV.

Anyway, the lesson here is that the stroll made thing better. Wish I could have done that today.



***************************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, September 1, 2011

SISTERS DO SWEAT!

I just got home from my weekly linedance class (or sliding as this group calls it) at the Memorial Methodist Church. Most of the women (and the few men) in the class are African-American of all ages - from women who look to be in their late twenties to us white hairs and grandpas. We have a blast! Chel teaches this group. She has a way of breaking down what initially look like daunting dances into 'bite-sized' piece that everyone picks up pretty quickly.

I dance with other groups too. I'm very much looking forward to the upcoming dance weekend at Studio 41 from September 9-11, 2011. The dances at Studio 41 are typically more traditional, incorporating the venerable country and western to the more recent song stylings of Adele. As an old song goes, 'You can't dance and be uptight.' That is so true.

I was pleased to see an article written in a local newspaper by the husband of one of our best Sliders, Peachaz Clark. Her husband, James Clark, is a regular columnist for the St. Louis Metro Evening Whirl and Vice President of Community Outreach for Better Family Life. But, he is NOT a linedancer. His article relates how he humored his wife by attending a local event packed with sliders. And, apparently, he was impressed with the participants and their willingness to sweat to the grooves.

Mr. Clark also writes in this article about the recent enormous popularity of Kick-Ball. That was news to me! I might have to find a team willing to accept my old, decrepit body! Clark indicates that there are over 80 teams in the St. Louis Metropolitan area alone and that the participants are very enthusiastic, training even at 7 Am in the dead of winter! This is devotion and they MUST be impressively good.

Mr. Clark's article spoke to some issues that I hear from many women. It takes such a short time to get all sweaty and a long time to 'repair the damage' so we can be presentable for work and other activities. Have you seen Oprah's show on Hair? I thought I was the only one who couldn't just walk off the dance floor and into work clothing without a long detour through the shower and blow dryer and curling iron routine! I'm White (as is my hair). This is not an area where my Black friends have the market cornered. It's a hassle for ALL of us!

That said, we must all find a way to make our hair and body routines compatible with an exercise regimen. For me, this involves getting a fairly expensive perm every 6-8 weeks so I can have 'wash and wear hair'. We must strike a balance so that we don't find too many excuses to remain on the sofa, glued to the TV, watching others shake their booties.

***************************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, August 28, 2011

BIG HEAD?

One of the things that makes us humans, that separates us from lower animals, that is distinctive and unique in this universe, is the way we are able to hold our heads steady while we are walking!

Did you ever think about that? I never had til I read a recent article about a guy who is researching the human foot and how our feet differ from those of other mammals. In his research, he discovered that along with the development of a unique foot, humans developed a unique system of neck 'stabilizers' that allows us to see the world through a stable lens rather than a jumpy camera while we are walking and running.

This makes total sense, but I don't think it's something that even enters our minds on a conscious level. Well, at least not mine. What an advantage we have over most other life forms on this planet! Horses heads move up and down while they run. Pigs and dogs have heads that sort of wobble left and right with each stride. Even elephants and camels have loopy head movements when they walk.

We're unique! Apparently, from an evolutionary standpoint (if you buy that or by Grand Design if you don't), the stability of our heads gives us a wide range of advantages over other life forms. We can turn our heads while walking and running if we want. The stabilizers give us a steady visual picture of our world. Our ears remain oriented in a manner that's most advantageous for us.

This researcher also explains that hip, back, and neck problems that many relate to defects of our erect spinal cord are NOT due to our erect stature. They are due to downstream problems of our gait, based on our feet, if they are not properly aligned due to a congenital problem or because we either wear the wrong footwear or we don't exercise enough.

I have long known that back problems are often related to weak abdominal muscles. The abs keep our posture erect to protect all those vertebrae. Walking strengthens abs and back muscles, not to mention glutes and all the muscles of our legs. You should see the muscles in my legs! While I was born with a template for shapely (and possibly muscular) legs, I have certainly developed those muscles through walking. Best way ever to lose fat in the thighs and derriere. Refer to my earlier posts about me walking my #$%$% off!

So, if you needed one, here's another strong piece of evidence that our bodies are designed - beautifully, wonderfully, miraculously designed - to WALK.





***************************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.

TAKE A STROLL

Briefly, in a recent edition of the New York Times Science Section, there's an article stating that taking even a short stroll every day will prolong your healthy life and ward off the advent of Type II Diabetes (Adult Onset Diabetes) which is occurring in epidemic proportions among Americans today.

Just a stroll. Wow! That's not even hard to do. How committed do you have to be to take a stroll. Try to walk for 5-10 minutes after you eat your lunch. Walk a bit on your morning break. Park farther from the store entrance every day (except in heavy rain, ok) so you get in a few more steps. Walk the dog. Walk your neighbor's dog (no one will complain, least of all the dog.) Walk your neighbor's toddler in a stroller.

Just walk. The statistics are stunning. This simple form of daily exercise, hidden amid your daily routine, can really pay off.

It doesn't matter so much if I live to be a hundred. I want to live to be a HEALTHY hundred - or whatever age.


***************************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, August 24, 2011

THE MONARCH LEVEE

In western St. Louis County, almost to St. Charles County, is the Monarch Levee protecting Chesterfield Valley (formerly known as Gumbo Flats) from the wrath of the Missouri River. I've written a bit about this trail before. Here's a picture of one of the Rest Areas along the route.

Having recently walked the nice trail along the Meramec River in Valley Park, MO, I'm less pleased with the Monarch Trail. Why? The Meramec River trail is far less buggy. The Missouri River at this point has back waters and marshes that are great breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other annoying noseeums. The Monarch trail is also the highest point in the area, allowing cold winds to hit you off the river. This same problem occurs at Creve Coeur Lake even tho' the trail is not on a levee. There is little shade along the Monarch. Most of the Meramec trail is shaded. Highway noise is a bit of an issue for both trails, but since the Monarch parallels I-64/40 for much of its length, it's a bit more annoying there.

Both trails are level and paved. Both meander through potentially lovely scenery, but the Monarch has one side pretty much devoted to baseball diamonds and retail outlets. There is none of that along the Meramec trail.

I have not walked the full 17 miles of the Monarch trail. I know it does go to the property those of us who grew up in St. Louis will recall fondly as the Rombach Pumpkin Farm (which I believe is still in business). We and our children have carefully selected just the right pumpkin each Fall on this property, all of which was inundated by the 1993 floods. I do want to walk the stretch of the Monarch that goes by the Rombach Family Cemetary. I'll get to that this FAll, I'm sure.

The Meramec trail also has the benefit of being much closer to my home. It's a 20 minute or longer trip to the Monarch trail if there's no traffic.

Both trails have their good points and I'm grateful that such greenways are becoming more prevalent in the St. Louis area. Having new trails to investigate keeps me walking more.






***************************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, August 21, 2011

GREAT NEW PLACE TO WALK/BIKE/SKATE

Check this out! It's really close to my home - maybe a 10 minute car ride. It's a wonderful, quiet paved trail that parallels the Meramec River for about 4 miles. There are several points along it to park, but I chose to park at the westernmost trail head in the municipality of Valley Park, MO. Don't be put off by the picture of cars whizzing by on the highway above the trail. In just a few yards, the trail passes under an old railroad bridge then takes you farther away from the noise and pollution (although the sounds of nearby Interstate 44 are ever present in the distance).

This area had been completely flooded in 1993 when the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers reached catastrophic levels. At the confluence of the two rivers, where there is also a third, the much smaller Illinois River, the usual 1 mile width from Missouri to Illinois grew to SEVEN miles! Much of the cities of Alton and Grafton, Illinois were covered. Secondary rivers like the Meramec both contributed to the flooding and experienced record levels themselves. The Meramec empties into the Mississippi about 3 miles south of the Arch. This trailhead is about 12 miles from that point. New levees and flood gates have been erected in hopes of avoiding the sort of destruction that occurred in 1993. However, it's probably just a matter of time before Mother Nature has other ideas.

In the meantime, those of us who like to walk and bike have benefited from the newly erected levees surrounding St. Louis. This trail wanders in an almost straight, flat line for its entire length, making it a perfect place for unseasoned walkers, for those pushing strollers, and for a less challenging outing during peak hot, humid, buggy St. Louis afternoons.

The Meramec River as it nears St. Louis is not particularly pretty. It has traveled across much of the state, picking up detritus and chemical effluent from farms and industrial sites. The Upper Meramec about 50 miles west of St. Louis is clean and clear, safe for swimming (except for its often deadly current), boating, and fishing. But, it's never a wide river. I float on it at least once each summer. I would not float, swim, or fish it at the Valley Park location.

That said, it's lovely to walk beside this river. The length of the trail is well maintained, especially regarding bugs as the foliage is cut back to grass height for at least 10 yards on either side of the trail. There is ample parking and a well marked, nicely paved trail.

The day I discovered this trail, I walked about 2.5 miles, out and back. Then I drove it's full length along Marshall Road from which most of the trail is visible. Marshall Road is the main drag from Valley Park to Kirkwood, paralleling Big Bend Road, and goes under Interstate 270 just before it joins Big Bend Road on the east side of I-270.

So much for your geography and history lesson. Go find a trail you like and let us know about it. Doesn't have to be in St. Louis. I travel quite a bit and would love to know of safe, beautiful parks and trails in other cities. Get walking!





***************************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, August 18, 2011

SOME HOT IDEAS

During our recent, extended heat wave, I had to rely more on my indoor walking activities to remain on the move. One thing that I enjoy is the Leslie Sansone walking DVD's. I'll eve dance along to Richard Simmons to the Oldies.

But, since I've actually been learning some dances (linedancing), I've begun to incorporate some of my new dance steps into the walking in place idea. Rather than put on a DVD, I'll choose a TV show - usually a half hour show like Wheel of Fortune - and just start walking, knee lifts, kicks, side steps, and some of my dance steps. I do that for 30 minutes on days when I'd normally have done nothing because of the dangerously hot/humid weather conditions. By 'normally', I mean years ago before I was in the habit of a daily walk.

So, now, in addition to the moves I've learned from Leslie Sansone, I'm doing some vines (weaves), coaster steps, sailor steps, and shuffles that I've learned from my linedance teachers. it adds a bit of variety and makes the workout more enjoyable for me. Search on youtube.com for beginning linedancing and you'll find examples of the kind of steps that almost anyone can master. Spice up your routine with whatever means you find. And, share your ideas with the rest of us. We can always use new ideas.



***************************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, August 15, 2011

NEW PLACES TO WALK

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there's a weekly section that features a walking/biking path. I look forward to learning what new (or new to me) parks and trails might not be too far from home.

Recently, my husband and I took the dog to walk at the beautiful, fairly new park called Longmeadow Farm. It was an estate with a large house surrounded by some woods and a horse paddock, located at the intersection of two well-traveled county roads. The trails have been added since the family donated the land to the County. It's a lovely walk on a paved trail that winds through woods, across meadows, and around a small pond. If you walk around the perimeter of the property, on the sidewalks next to the street, you'd easily have three miles. But, the interior trails add up to only about a mile. I hope they'll add more trails through the woods.

Using the newspaper, we've also walked at the Fenton Park on the banks of the Meramec River in Fenton, MO, not far from our home. It's a large, well used park with baseball fields, a golf course, and tennis courts. The trails are paved and wander across meadows and through wooded sections. If you covered all the trails, you'd have over five miles. It's all level so no hills. This will not be a great place to walk in the winter since cold breezes blow off the river. In the Spring, the area also tends to flood. But, it's a nice alternative.

I've also walked along the Monarch Levee on the Missouri River in what used to be called the Gumbo Flats, but has now been gentrified to Chesterfield Valley. There's quite a long, paved trail that follows the river, although there's no clear view of the river on the section I walked. Again, probably not a great choice in our windy Winters. Also, there is a lot of marshy land nearby, producing lots of mosquitoes that love my husband's skin! They tend to ignore me, but I like walking with him.

One of my husband's favorite place to walk is the nicely paved trail at Creve Coeur Lake. The major problem there is the fairly aggressive bikers. They don't tend to mind their manners. If the trail isn't too crowded, there's plenty of room for walkers, bikers, and skaters. But, the minute you add strollers and dogs to that mix, problems arise. I truly wish the bikers would let us know when they're coming up from behind. That way, we'd be sure to keep the dog out of their way and we wouldn't feel like we were being used for target practice!

There was another trail in this week's paper that was new to me - and it's not far from home. It's also along a section of the Meramec River and should be level, paved, and probably well used.
I'll report on that trail once I've walked it - hoping for this weekend.



***************************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, August 12, 2011

DANCE OR??

This morning I was able to take some time to spend with my mom. She hadn't been out of her apartment (off the premises) since she returned from her brother's funeral about two weeks out except to go to the foot doctor. So, I took her to one of our favorite 'boutiques' (read 'thrift store') this morning. So, no time for a walk since I had to get to work after that.

But, I knew that I'd be dancing tonight for the first time in two weeks! The church where we dance had VBS then the teacher took her week of vacation. So, we're finally back to our Thursday evening routine. I so look forward to it. I usually walk on Thursday morning and dance that same evening. My perfect day!

Tonight, we worked for the second time on a dance to Adele's wonderful "Rolling in the Deep". It's a great song with a well choreographed and not too difficult dance that goes with it. I caught on to this one quickly. Lucky me! I have a great teacher too.

So, I count that 90 minutes of dance as a three mile walk. Since we only take a brief (less than 10 minutes) break about half way through, and I continue to stand that whole time, I feel like it's a great aerobic activity like my walks.


***************************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, August 8, 2011

MY LONG DAY

Today is one of those where two of my favorite activities were both accomplished. Today there was a Yarn Crawl in the St. Louis area. What's a Yarn Crawl? Well, it resembles a Pub Crawl only in that you go from one location (a bar) to another location (a bar) and to another over the course of an evening. In the world of yarn lovers, we try to confine our crawling to daylight hours. Twelve yarn shops in the St. Louis area opened their doors to all patrons, offered a free pattern and a treat (water, cookies, a small brooch), special hours, and a few special deals. Each participant received a Passport which was stamped at each shop. Tomorrow once the Crawl is officially over, names will be drawn from those Passports for a couple of prizes that will be valued by yarn lovers. Far better than alcohol if you ask me! I got to ELEVEN shops today. The twelfth will see me at noon tomorrow and I'll turn in my well-traveled Passport in hopes of winning one of those prizes.

So, what does this have to do with walking when I drove a gazillion miles today? After my Yarn Crawl activities drew to an end this evening, I rushed home with just enough time to change shoes, leash the dog, grab my husband, and head to the park for a walk. Only got in a mile. Just one mile. But, that's okay. After all that time in the car, I needed a walk. The dog needed a walk. My husband needed a break from building shelving in the basement. It was nice to stroll and tell my husband about the shops I visited (like he cares) and he got to tell me about the cookbooks (egad, MORE cookbooks) he found at the thrift store this afternoon. Do you see why he's building more shelving in the basement? It ain't for my walking shoes. It's for the cookbooks - a market he is aggressively trying to corner.

But, we walked, we talked, we enjoyed. Life is Good!


***************************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, August 6, 2011

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT MOTIVATED

We all suffer from days of a discouraging lack of motivation. So, how do we get motivated? How do we get moving when we'd rather stay put? How do we get ourselves off the sofa?

One good way is to have a walking partner who's counting on you. This can be a person or a 4-legged friend. If you don't or can't keep a dog, ask a neighbor if you can walk theirs. The dog will love you for it. Our 2-legged friends are counting on us too. Think of the good conversations you'll have with your friend. If your regular walking buddy is otherwise engaged, call around til you find someone else who's available.

Keep a chart of your walking days. Mark them on your calendar or keep a real walking diary, describing what you saw on each walk. You can write that stuff here if you want. We'd love to hear from you. Once you get a streak going, you'll hate to break it.

Pick up the phone and call someone who will encourage you to get moving. Unless you have a fever, a broken leg, or are in labor, you can walk.

Set the timer for just 10 minutes. Walk around the house until the timer buzzes. How long can 10 minutes be?

What's the benefit of sitting on the sofa? What's the benefit of walking? 'Nuf said.








***************************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, August 4, 2011

OTHER OPTIONS

Here's a quick recap of ideas for physical activities when it's too hot, wet, cold, or icy to walk outdoors.

Walk at the mall or a large store like Wal-Mart or Home Depot;

Walk in front of your TV to a tape or DVD of Leslie Sansone;

Linedance (find a class. They're everywhere.);

Turn on your favorite one hour TV show and walk around your house during every commercial. After a 60 minutes show, you'll have walked a remarkable 20 minutes;

If it's raining, get a rain slicker or umbrella;

If it's cold, buy and use silk underwear;

If it's windy, use a muffler and extra layers;

If it's icy, don't risk it. Walk in front of your TV.

Got 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, August 2, 2011

PATTY

Patty posted the following comment:
What a perfect time for me to find you. I just re-started walking this past Monday. I have fibromyalgia, so need to do it slowly, but I just came in from a 1 mile walk in 25 minutes. That is pretty slow, but it will get better.
I have already lost 40 pounds, not walking, in the past 2 years, and have 65 more pounds to lose, with walking. It comes off slowly, but I am so out of shape from taking it too easy because of the fibromyalgia, that it is pitiful.
Thank your for this great blog. I am going to start at the beginning of it, and read on through to the now posts.

PATTY IS AN INSPIRATION!

One mile in 25 minutes is a very respectable starting point - and yes, it will get better. Your time will get better as you get better and develop more endurance and re-find all those muscles that are there, still waiting to be tested.

Your weight loss is remarkable, especially if you did it without exercise. But, in my experience, the only way to really keep that weight off is exercise. And, walking is the perfect exercise. With fibromyalgia and other pain-inducing conditions, it's so easy to fall prey to the lure of the sofa, thinking that 'resting up' will make it better. Resting makes some things better, but not chronic ailments like fibromyalgia and arthritis. In fact, using those muscles, joints, and tendons improves them over time. Further, the endorphins that are released during exercise actually dampens the perception of pain that we so often live with.

I encourage anyone who is 'on the fence' (and wouldn't that be an uncomfortable place for someone with a chronic ailment??) about exercise, specifically walking, to at least give it a try for a few weeks.

Taking it slow, as Patty indicates, is the key to building endurance, regaining muscle mass, and the other benefits that accrue over time with an exercise regimen.

If you have read (or will read) my blog entries from the beginning, you'll have learned that even the smallest strides will add up to great benefit. If you start with only 5 steps, that's 5 steps you wouldn't have done otherwise.

In the past few weeks when it's been so extremely hot, on several days I have just stood in front of my TV and boogied for 30-40 minutes. Really! Walking in place, knee lifts, side steps, low kicks, arm lifts, etc. Not hard to do. If you want some ideas, check out some Zumba moves on youtube.com. Don't put yourself through a Zumba workout, though. Just get some ideas of the kinds of things you can do while occupying only a few square feet of floor space.

If I DO NOT do at least 20 minutes of a good workout of some kind, almost always walking or linedancing, every day, I DO NOT sleep well. For a person with fibromyalgia, good sleep is a hard to come by and absolutely necessary for cellular repair overnight. So, without the workout and the resultant good quality sleep, I get into a downward spiral of pain. WITH the exercise, I get better sleep and feel less pain. That's simple for me. A no-brainer. So I move!


***************************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, July 29, 2011

WALKING THROUGH THE HEAT WAVE

Since the entire US seems seized by a heat wave, I'm sure everyone else has had about as much motivation as I've had to walk in this heat - that is to say - not much! Actually, I've been pretty good, but the vet told me quite clearly that the dog, wearing her full length black fur coat, was not allowed to walk more than two miles a day in the heat!

So, to keep the vet happy and the dog healthy, I've left Lizzie at home most days, opting for the mall instead. I've missed the families at the park and keeping track of all the nice things my neighbors are doing with their yards - flowers, mulch, shrubs, mowers. All that fun stuff that I'd never voluntarily do to my own yard!

I've been doing a lot of linedancing too. My 'new' linedance group is really a soul-slide group. Dances are easier and the teacher keeps us moving for the full 90 minutes. That means that on Thursdays, I walk my three miles in the morning and dance for 90 minutes in the evening. Amazingly, this is fun for me. Between those two activities, I actually get to work for 4-5 hours. That makes for a full day.

I never look forward to Fall. It's my least favorite time of year - rainy and allergy-suffering go hand in hand with Fall for me. But, for once, cooler temperatures are looking more appealing. In the meantime, I'm working on my heat tolerance, which is really pretty good so long as I don't have to 'look' respectable. After that outdoor workout, I'm a dripping mess!

A mess that only a dog could love!


***************************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, June 17, 2011

BY THE WAY....

Don't give up. Please don't give up if you do not instantly 'take' to walking as a fun activity. Don't expect instant results, instant toning, instant fun. It takes time - like most great things.

So, start slow, move along steadily, increase your activity level or your time walking every week, post your start date on your calendar so you can look back on that and see how long you've been moving.

There's the idea of the Success Chain that can be quite motivating. Every day you walk, put a small X on your calendar. Every day. Even if you miss a day or two, don't worry. Just put those X's down when you walk. At the end of a month, see how many X's you've posted. You're winning if there are at least THREE X's each week. Four is better, Five is Fantastic. More than that is fine - just means you've really gotten with the program. You probably even look forward to your walk(s). I do.

But, it was not always so. In the beginning - about 13 years ago - it took some mental gymnastics to get my derriere out the door many days. But, I did it because, as you may recall, I had to give up racquetball and I needed some sort of physical outlet. I took up walking because my mom and one of my best friends were regular walkers. They set fantastic examples for me.

My mom is now 89 and still walks at least one mile every day. She'd walk more except she can't walk very fast as she has lost most of her vision and can't see well enough to walk confidently which slows her down. But, she does it! Almost every day! I'm really proud of her - and glad that I have such a good role model.

Let me be that for you. I LOVE my walks. I look forward to them. I've set myself up for success. I have a 14 year long Success Chain - and that's something I could not have predicted. Now, I know that I'll have 14 or more years to add to my Success Chain. Good walking buddies (and you know who you are out there) are part of my success and a great deal of the reason that I look forward to my walks.

So, get a friend, make a friend, adopt a friend (the 4 legged kind) and get walking!


***************************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, June 14, 2011

ANOTHER 'NEWSFLASH' - BUT NOT FOR US!

Dateline, Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Walking is a very underrated exercise, health expert says" is the headline of an article written by Ellen Warren of the Chicago Tribune appearing in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Really! Haven't I been telling you that all along? Now, do you believe me?

Of course, if it appears in print, it must be true.

Well, in this case - it is!

Here are the tips for 'Getting Off The Couch'

* start with a slow walk, just a few minutes a day;
* increase time gradually;
* then walk faster;
* make a game out of it by spotting an object and speeding toward it;
* let breathing return to normal then speed up again.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll have read at least one article highlighting each bullet except maybe the make a game out of it part. But, it's all a game. Think how we played games as children - tag, capture the flag, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, hopscotch, baseball, softball, Red Rover, etc. They ALL involve walking/running/moving.

That's why most of us were slim as kids. Not everyone - but most of us. Now, kids play video games instead of these healthier outdoor alternatives. Sad. Oh, don't get me started on the serotonin part of the equation.

So, take my advice or take it from the newspaper - get walking! It needn't be competitive, but if that makes it more fun for you, then do it! A direct quote from the article states "Going faster will make you feel even better..." I agree. But, even a casual stroll beats sitting through another episode of Cops!


***************************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, June 11, 2011

ROAD TRIP!!

One day this month, a friend and I are taking a road trip to Carlinville and Auburn, Illinois. We'll sleep late, hit the road, eat, see the 1.4 miles of the original Route 66 in Auburn, eat, tour the 12 blocks of Sears & Roebuck mail order homes that survive in Carlinville, eat, the head home.

Did I say we have plans to eat at a few historical sites along the old Route 66?

What does this have to do with walking? Well, at some point, I'll have to get out and stretch my legs. This particular friend is also one of my regular walking buddies. We'll find a park or trail some where along the route and get in at least an hour.

Then, we'll probably have ice cream.


***************************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, June 7, 2011

HOT, HOTTER .....HOTTEST??

The weather reporter on TV said that yesterday or the day before had a temperature that registered the highest since 1911. Really?? It didn't feel that way when I was out walking in it.

While my four-legged walking partner has yet to become acclimated to Summer, I'm doing pretty well. I was delayed in my regular walking time, which has morphed to about 4 PM many days. So, it's pretty hot by then, with the earth still retaining the midday heat. Not to mention the humidity. St. Louis is long on humidity.

But, yesterday, on that record-breaking hot day, it didn't seem that hot to me. There was a bit of a breeze at the park where we walked and we did a couple miles in our usual time. We bailed after two hours because Lizzie (the 4-legger) was clearly nearing her tolerance level. And, we were the only people at the park! Everyone was at the pool. Who could blame them? But, kinda hard to walk the dog in the pool with all those screaming kiddies - and, well, the water.




***************************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, May 18, 2011

FALLING INTO SUMMER

As my mother says, in St. Louis, there are only two seasons - winter and road construction! Sadly, she's mostly right. This year, we've had a bad winter - then some summer - then some fall - then more summer - now we have Spring. All in a matter of weeks. Amidst the tornadoes and torrential rain, there have been days of amazing beauty, sunny and inviting. I've walked through most of it - albeit at the mall.

I have another linedancing crew, this time on Thursday evenings. This group calls their dances 'slides' and it's mostly soul music. Easier than the group I had been going to and a better work out as the teacher keeps us moving for the full 90 minutes. No complaints about that!

As Kathy has commented, this Spring - if we dare call it such - has been especially bad for allergies. Walking has a very positive effect on the immune system and keeps most of the bad allergic reactions at bay for me. When I don't walk, I invite my immune system to be lazy and stop protecting me from all that dreadful pollen.

So, tomorrow (a Thursday), I walk with my friend Sally in the morning for about 3 miles then dance for 90 minutes from 6-7:30 PM. Whew! That's a fun day for me. Makes for a good night's sleep.



***************************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, April 4, 2011

A CRAZY MONTH

It's been almost a month since I posted here! I've thought about posting several times over that month, but no follow through, obviously. But, I have been walking - the days when I haven't been sick. Spring (such as it has been in St. Louis) has been hard on asthmatics this year and I've fallen prey to its harshness. But, I'm back on the trail for good - Gosh, I hope! Fingers crossed.

Since it's so windy outside today, I'm walking inside. Not risking another weather induced asthma attack. I've also been able to keep up with most of my dance schedule. I've found a new place to dance that is FUN, FUN, FUN! The dances are easier and for the entire 90 minutes, we only take a brief break, so it's a great aerobic workout too!

There are several local parks that have been written about in the newspaper that I want to walk. I've also checked some of the local info available at geocaching.com to discover other areas that might appeal to me. There's a fairly new park near my house, but no paved walking trails. Rats!

So, what have YOU been doing to keep up with your exercise? Walking, Ihope.

I'll be posting some more soon.



***************************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, March 8, 2011

IT'S TRYING TO BE SPRING

I am not fond of winter, cold, short days, etc. Even less fond of those runs of gray days that we get. I would never survive in the Pacific Northwest where it's stunningly beautiful 20 days a year and overcast the other 345 days. I'd be depressed - even if I walked every day, I think.

Despite the gray days and the wind (which triggers my asthma), I've braved the elements most days to hit the pavement. My 4-legged walking companion certainly appreciates it.

This evening, I didn't get out - too much rain. But, I did 25 minutes on the stationary bike during Wheel of Fortune. Doesn't improve my game - but overall, as we've read, it will improve my brain power.

So, I'm definitely looking forward to leaving the mall walks behind for some time and getting outside more. My dance classes were even cancelled last week! That's just not fair! But, back on track this week despite the fact that I'm working full time this week.

So, if I can do it, so can YOU! Hope you do!


***************************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, February 13, 2011

A DOSE OF HCG FOR YOU?

Have you heard about the latest diet program? It's HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone naturally produced by pregnant women. It's also commonly used as a treatment for infertility.

Apparently, one puts drops of the HCG on their food each day, follow the prescribed diet (low fat), and drop pounds quickly. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Here's the kicker. The prescribed diet is 500 calories a day. There is no one on the planet who will not lose weight on 500 calories a day. No One. Not one person (except, I suppose for the famine victim somewhere for whom 500 calories a day might be an increase in food intake.).

I can't knock this too badly because I haven't tried it. But, I have a brain and I know that it's not the HCG that's causing the weight loss. It's the severe calorie restriction.

If the HCG program motivates a person to strive for a healthier weight, that's all good. I hope that those who participate in the HCG program will consider adding aerobic exercise like walking to their daily routine since the 500 calorie diet cannot be maintained throughout one's life and it's unlikely that it's a good idea to take the HCG every day for the rest of one's life. But, you can walk every day, one way or the other.

That will lead you to a healthier life if you never lose a pound. But, good luck 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. 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, February 11, 2011

OLD BRAINS?

How old is your brain? Would you like it to be younger? Well, who wouldn't??

According to an article published in the February 3, 2011 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a study of 120 people between the ages of 55 and 80 were divided into two groups, one who walked on a flat track three times a week for 40 minutes each time. The other group began and stretching and weights program.

Before, at the half way point, and after the exercise regimens began, the participants gave blood samples, performed spatial memory exercises, and were given brain MRI.

The walkers demonstrated a 2.12 percent increase in the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain where memories are stored. The other group demonstrated a 1.4 percent decrease in the size of the hippocampus.

So, for all my friends out there who are lifting and trying to get me to go to the gym, I'll walk instead. In fact, I might actually remember where I'm walking while the lifters (and stretchers) might not recall how to get to the gym. (I really do hope that is not the case!)

One more reason to put on your shoes and get walking!



***************************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, February 8, 2011

SLIP SLIDIN'

The weather in St. Louis has been cold and dangerous the past weeks. Some say it's the worst weather since 1982. In 1982, I had only one child, played racquetball every day, and had no idea that I'd ever need a knee replacement, have three kids, or care if the sidewalks were safe. Really!

But, three kids, two knee replacements, and many years later, racquetball has given way (begrudgingly) to walking and I feel completely justified in complaining about crummy St. Louis weather that keeps me hunkered down at home, unable to get to work or to the mall to walk or to the studio to dance.

Yesterday was the worst. Nothing was open. My husband and I stayed home together all day, unable to even agree on a household project to work on because we needed this or that from this place or that place to forge on. Those places required driving.

I took the opportunity of a snow day to call an old friend I knew would also be hunkered down with her two kids as she's a teacher and it was a snow day. She and I talked for about an hour, catching up on her tots and my grown kids. While I was chatting, I moved away from the room occupied by my husband so he could continue to heed the TV's endless warnings and 'breaking news' of bad weather. Really? Look out the window, dude.

I moved to another room which happened to contain my recumbent bike. After a few more minutes of chatting, I climbed on the bike and started to pedal (I wish away, but, no, just pedal). By the time our phone catch-up had concluded, I had ridden for a half hour!

So much for bad weather keeping me from my goal. It was really effortless. Just talk, listen, and pedal. I'll live to walk another day......




***************************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, February 5, 2011

NEED MORE "PROOF"?

Should you need more 'proof' that walking is good for you, here's a quote from the February 7, 2011 issue of Time Magazine:
"20% = Percentage improvement in mobility among older obese adults who walked and lost weight"

So, you're not obese? Not older? Don't want to lose weight? Don't want to think about it?

Don't do it, then. But, if you are a human of any age, weight, and condition, walking may well improve your mobility by 20%.

Worth a try? Not much to lose. Go for 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, February 1, 2011

THE HARDEST PART OF A WALK

I've just finished a fluffy little book by Claire Cook called The Wildwater Walking Club. It was fun to listen to while driving my normal route to and from work. I think it was just 7 CD's so not a Russian novel.

The story is about a woman who has just been fired from her executive job at an athletic shoe company (like Nike) and dumped by her boyfriend. She doesn't know her neighbors, is experiencing middle-aged spread, and is generally miserable. With her little silver parachute comes the income to spend her days on the sofa, wallowing in her pity. After a few days, she decides to go see if her employee badge will still get her a discount at the company shoe store. It does, so she buys all the walking shoes in her size, is given a free pedometer and begins her walking journey. Along the way, she picks up two neighbors and a new attitude. She and her friends find the pedometer to be inspirational and come up with good ways to motivate themselves. I'll save the details for your reading pleasure.

At one point later in the book, the writer inserts this tiny but huge phrase. "The hardest part of any walk is putting on the shoes." I know, I know. We've all heard that the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. Yes, it does. But, you can't take that step in your bare feet can you? So, every day when you get dressed, put on some comfortable shoes that will take you on your daily walk - however long that is. No excuses!

Note: I carry a pair of walking shoes and good socks in my car with me every day. I don't have to rely on those shoes very well. I'll warn you that they age poorly. The soles become hardened and slick before you know it. So, now, every time I put on a new pair of shoes, I put the most recent old ones in my car and change them out regularly.



***************************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, January 29, 2011

CAN'T CATCH UP?

I'm going to paraphrase a question and answer in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on January 29, 2011 from the Dr. Donohue column.

Dear Doc,
My husband wants me to walk with him but I can't keep up. He walks too fast and he says I walk too slowly for my walk to be beneficial.

Answer,
No such thing as too slow. Any walk is beneficial. But, here are some ways for you to improve your speed. Do these before you attempt to walk with hubby again and you'll likely outwalk him!

His suggestion? Interval training. I've written about that before. Those are brief sprints of exercise (in our case walking) during the course of one's regular routine. So, you could start off by picking up your speed and your elbows going between two driveways, doorstops, trees, cars, whatever along your regular walking route. Resume your regular pace between these intervals of sprinting. The interval can start for a duration of a few seconds and work up to intervals as long as 5 or 10 minutes. Eventually, your 'vigorous' cycle should be as long as your more relaxed cycle. "That might take you a year or more."

No one begins any sort of exercise regimen or routine at the top of the game. We all must begin slowly (or for short walks) before we are gradually able to increase both the intensity and duration of the walk. Interval training will make a nice addition to your walk and will also give you a bit more variety to avoid boredom. Try 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.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

HERE'S SOME GOOD INFO

Here's a good article you might like to read. Lots of ads there - but if you click on all ten pages of the article, you'll get some good pointers:

http://walking.about.com/cs/beginners/a/10mistakes1.htm



***************************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, January 14, 2011

WALKING ALONG

This week, it's been just too cold and the path has been to icy to safely walk outside. My poor dog has suffered from lack of exercise. She so loves her walks with me - or anyone who'll take her.

Instead of walking outside, I've walked at the mall several days, danced twice, ridden my stationary bike once, and am trying to get motivated to do that again this evening.

I have discovered that if I come home from work and sit down, I'm much more likely to remain seated or at least unenergetic. What's that about a body in motion tending to remain in motion while a body at rest tends to remain at rest? That's the thing. So, I try to come home, get my few chores done (oh, there are lots of chores, but I only do a few!), change my shoes (and clothing if necessary) and hit the trail. Unless I head out then - or at least have a plan with another human being that I'm committed to, I won't do it. I'm not very good at making plans or deals with myself.

BTW if anyone out there has any ideas for other easy to pull-off, inexpensive, and accessible physical activities, please share. I discovered I have another friend who lives in my neighborhood who doesn't work on Fridays........ She'll start receiving calls to walk from me once the weather allos.



***************************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, January 10, 2011

TOO COLD FOR COMFORT

It has been excruciatingly cold and windy around here for the past week or so. I've stayed inside to walk! I'm actually growing tired of the malls - but better to walk there than not at all.

I don't mind walking in the cold, but this cold is very cutting. Blows right through my layers, even with my silk long johns, and chaps my skin. I use sunscreen even in the winter if there's sun. Often there's not.

Last week, I even walked in the misty rain when it was so gray outside that everything looked one color. The whole world was a drab, gray-brown mess punctuated by the occasional cheerful Christmas light. At least my dog enjoyed that weather.

So, back to Leslie Sansone, Richard Simmons, the malls and my stationary bike. I got to dance this evening - even after walking my 3 miles at the mall this morning. So, I can get happy, crazy-sweaty happy, even if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Looking like it'll be snowing this week. Oh well. I'll find a way to get my workout in no matter what! What about 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.

Friday, January 7, 2011

REMEMBER WALKING??

According to a recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, walking six to nine miles a week may prevent memory loss. The more participants walked, the more gray matter they retained and the less brain shrinkage occurred, resulting in who walked the most having half the risk of memory loss of those who didn't walk.

This is important stuff - and easy to do. Nine miles a week means a daily walk of less than 1.5 miles. That's less than 45 minutes a day for most of us. For someone like me whose goal is 3 miles a day, 6 days a week, I can attain the memory retention goal of 9 miles per week in 3 days of walking. I don't always make it the full 3 miles. But, at 2 miles a day, I can still get in that 9 miles each week. I often walk 7 days a week so the 9 mile line is definitely attainable.

The reason for this connection between size of the brain, memory retention, and walking is this: exercise increases the amount of blood going to the brain which seems to distribute important brain nutrients. That sounds straightforward enough for me.

So, I off the computer and off for a walk!


***************************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, January 5, 2011

THE LIZZZARD MADE ME DO IT!

Yesterday was a fairly nice day. Sunny but with ice and snow still on the ground. I ducked out of work a bit early and called Kathy who was available for a walk. As I was putting on my silk long johns and lacing up my shoes, my sweet dog, another avid walker, was eyeing me expectantly. However, the site Kathy and I chose to walk, because of the likelihood of an ice-free surface, is a dog-free zone. So, doggie did not get to walk with us.

But today, despite my being smart enough to know when to come in from the rain, I laced up my shoes, grabbed her leash and took the Lizzard for a walk. She was ecstatic! I drove us to the nearest park where our 1/3 mile track awaited us. I fully expected no other walking fools to be there, but a jogger accompanied by his small, black dog lapped us repeatedly.

Lizzie (AKA the Lizzard) is a flat coated retriever (sometimes, interestingly referred to as a curly coated retriever), bred for the cold marshes where quail hunters seek their prey. Lizzie loves this cold, wet weather. She will actually curl up and sleep on a pile of ice or snow and joys in rain, warm or cold. After her initial 'shake' upon coming indoors, we have to wait only a few minutes til she is completely dry. She's even allowed herself to become completely ice-coated, looking like a skinny black porcupine! In no time, she's dry and warm. Wish I had some of those genes!

So, this drab, drizzly, cold day seemed a perfect walking day to Lizzie. She took me along. If I didn't have her in the family, I'd have stayed inside today. Adding this to my Gratitude List...


***************************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, January 3, 2011

HAVE YOU DECIDED YOU'RE WORTH IT?

Quite a while back, I wrote an article entitled "Are You Worth It?". Here's the rerun for you. Skip down below it for some updated info:

Okay, you have kids, a house, a job, a husband, not a husband, not a house, money problems, spouse problems, health problems. In short, you're busy! Who isn't? But, who has time for that 10-30 minutes a day to walk. You do!! You're worth it!

How do you get those 30 minutes? You grab them from the rest of your life. You make yourself a priority in your own life. You put EVERYONE and everything else on hold for your walking time. Trust me when I tell you that everyone around you will get used to it. Plus, they'll like the new you who returns from your walk. You've gotten an immediate attitude adjustment (by walking), have more energy to meet the other needs of your day, and it only took a few minutes.

Should you get up a half hour early to fit in your walk? Probably not as you're probably already sleep deprived if you have the aforementioned kids, house, job, etc. I'm not a morning person, so an early morning walk would be torture for me. Late morning works in my schedule on week days and weekends allow more flexibility.

If YOU are not important enough in your own life to give yourself 10-30 minutes a day, who is? Use your lunch time to walk. You can walk indoors or outdoors because the same rules apply. All you need is the shoes and the minutes. Walking in place works fine. Walking outside is even better.

Before you KNOW it, family members, co-workers, and everyone else in your life will simply accept that you are walking right now. Everything else will wait.

Here's a quick story. My grandmother hated being a housewife and being indoors. She would use any excuse to ditch the housework and work or play outside. When I was a child, I spent summers with her in rural Arkansas where my grandfather owned a large country general store where all the family members worked. My Mamaw cooked dinner (lunch as opposed to the evening meal, supper) for all the family and whoever else was there. In the summers, that was 10-12 people at the dinner table 6 days a week. She began cooking early in the morning and quit only when As The World Turns came on TV (some of my earliest memories and I still watch it!). After dinner, she would often get a phone call from someone (who only had to feed 1 or 2 people their dinner) who would want her to go pick berries or fish. We would stop IN THE MIDDLE OF WASHING DISHES or whatever we were doing and head out to the fun activity outdoors. Mamaw would say, we can leave the work because NO ONE WILL DO IT WHILE WE'RE GONE. IT'LL BE HERE WHEN WE GET BACK. To this day, I remember her words and her attitude - and I remember picking berries in the woods and fishing in the canal as some of my fondest recollections. So - take my Mamaw's attitude for your own. No one will do your housework in your absence. It'll still be there. It'll keep while you get in your walk, especially if you have a buddy who's available to walk RIGHT THEN. Go for it!! Keep it up. You're worth it. And your family and co-workers will like the new you (who returns to work with the proper AA).

___
Did that article convince you to place your needs for exercise and good health above all the 'noise' in your life?

I have several regular walking buddies. We strive every week to keep our scheduled walking dates. One friend Sally said it succinctly. I'll paraphrase. If you don't make the walk or workout a priority, it won't happen. If you allow other work, appointments, chores to mess with your scheduled walk, the walk won't happen. So, if you have a regularly scheduled walk (or other exercise), don't let other things interfere. The more consistent you are, the fewer interferences you'll experience. Those around you will learn that you'll get around to their request - shopping, a movie, chores - later. But, first you have to honor your commitment to yourself. Write your walking dates on your calendar right along with the carpools, grocery trips, soccer games, and doctor's appointments.

Go for that walk! Make it matter! Put yourself first so you'll be in good enough condition and in the right frame of mind to take care of all the other stuff you have to do in your life.


***************************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, January 1, 2011

A NEW YEAR, A NEW WAY, A NEW YOU

In December, 2008 - two years ago - I wrote this blog article: (Please scroll down to my NEW article)

Are you confined to your bed or mobile only on your scooter or a wheel chair? Don't give up.

Why are you confined? Is it mostly because of weight? Does it hurt you to walk? Are you unable to transfer yourself from bed to scooter?

If these are true for you, consult your physician and ask if you can stand for a few minutes each day. Unless you have an ailment that will be made worse by weightbearing (like a broken ankle), you'll be allowed to stand for a few minutes each day. This counts as a walk.

Get yourself positioned so that if you MUST sit down and can't remain standing for your 90 seconds, you can ease yourself down. Falling is not allowed!!!!! Standing is the first component to walking. Can't walk if you can't stand. Can't run if you can't walk. First things first. Work on that standing.

WHAT IF IT HURTS? Guess what! It's gonna hurt anyway, so why not put up with the minutes of pain to regain your mobility. It can be done. It has been done. YOU CAN DO IT.

Stand, walk, walk faster, walk longer. Do what you can. No one is judging you or tracking your progress unless you post on this site and want to keep track. Tracking is a good tool - but is not required. It's just a tool. Mobility is YOUR goal. Walking will come.

REMEMBER - it's about feeling better. I'm not here to judge or poke. Just to encourage and remind you WHAT IS POSSIBLE. Probable is up to YOU.

_____

This article of mine came to mind the other day when I was talking to my sister in law, G. G is a dedicated walker. She has been walking for years and walks aggressively every single day. Lately, she has been greatly hampered by disabling plantar fasciitis. She has done everything several doctors have suggested, including discontinuing her walking and exercising. She has gained a lot of weight and feels rotten. I feel rotten for her. She feels that she is wasting time just sitting around when she could/should be doing a lot more. That part is not for me to say. No judgment here.

Walking isn't just for the miles we walk. For all of us, it's for our mental/emotional well-being. We all call it our 'therapy'. For many of us, it's also a requirement for maintaining a healthy weight and control of things like blood pressure and blood glucose levels. For G, it's all of these. She feels disabled. She misses walking with her sister and she misses the state of wellness she had come to take for granted.

I had suggested that she visit an accupuncturist who had given me relief from a different pain but who had successfully treated two friends for plantar fasciitis. If you're not familiar with plantar fasciitis, you're really lucky. It's a very painful condition that typically affects the heel area and is worse in the morning upon arising. There's not really much that helps it, although wearing a splint that lengthens the heel tendons during sleep and anti inflammatory medications work for some people as do hot and cold soaks and massage. But, no guarantee of decreasing the pain. For a fortunate few, the condition fades away. For others, it's a life long issue.

When I was talking to G. on the phone the other day, it occurred to me to suggest that, it's gonna hurt anyway, so take some pain killers and get back to walking. She has an appointment scheduled with the accupuncturist, but she's miserable NOW. She wants to walk NOW. I don't know if you can make the condition worse by continuing to walk, but you can certainly make other conditions better by walking.

G. has decided to stay off her feet (a relative term for a woman who is expecting 25 people for a meal on New Year's Day!) and wait to see if the accupuncture will give her any relief. If not, she'll bit the bullet and go back to a walking regimen, using pain medication if necessary.

I know G. She's been my SIL for 40 years! She is a determined woman and I believe she'll do whatever it takes to get her life back. For her, that means walking to maintain her physical health and walking to maintain her emotional health. She's like a person in the article from 2008. She must stand first. That means maybe taking it slow for a while, taking pain meds, and giving herself a break. She'll do it! What about you? Who will you be in 2011 - a walker or a sitter?







***************************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.