Friday, May 13, 2011

Walk off the Weight

Sorry for the delay...thanks to Blogger being down the last two days...this is a little behind and lost a lot of the pictures...hope you enjoy anyways :)

I came home to such a great surprise last night thanks to my amazing roommates - a fabulous homemade grilled dinner complete with tons of veggies and an unreal, delicious marinated grilled chicken! Seeing as my pre-run snack was a bag of smartfood (it had smart in the name...and it was the healthiest snack of my work conference), this dinner was just what I needed to re-fuel and feel good.  I got through the 3.4 mile route around the Charles in Boston, my typical Wednesday night LUNA Chix community run, but my leg wasn't happy - so this dinner and having BOTH roomies home was a beautiful thing!

I had some restraint from devouring the kitkat on top of the popcorn
but I get so hungry during conferences!!

I was practically drooling over the sauce and physically licking my plate when I was done (OK not with my tongue , but I was using my finger to get the rest of the sauce up).  We were a cute bunch of gimps to on crutches, one with a fairly scorched finger (grill incident earlier in the night - love and dedication in the cooking) and me with an icepack strapped to my quad!
OK i was running to eat this, so it is a little blurry - believe me it was delicious looking and tasting!

The best thing was that this was no ordinary dinner, but the night we decidided our future together, well the next year at least :) we are going to be re-signing our lease early this week and commit to the next 12 months for better or worse, til lease end do we part...maybe...

I promised a thought provoking post the other day and here is my delivery on thoughts on the phenomenon of walking off the weight.  While easing into my seat Monday morning (I was still having trouble sitting down after the relay), a co-worker popped up at my desk and asked me if I was apparently my dis-comfort was that noticeable..I immediately shot back with yes I am fine, I just finished a long relay this weekend and my legs are exhausted! As soon as he realized it was just my joy of running getting the best of me - his face lit up and he proclaimed "I signed up for my first 5k!" He was so excited and went on about trying to get back into fitness, and that he was only walking the 5k, but that walking was about as much as he could do right now.  I was immediately proud of him, and could tell how proud he was of himself as he went through his genuine attempt to get into a healthy lifestyle.
This of course got my brain going, and I knew I had to look into this a little more, and obviously write a little on it (Ironically Hungry Runner Girl chatted a little about her thoughts on walking today too - what she likes about walking)

Walking for fitness and to burn fat is a huge craze right now, and has been for a little bit; and why not?! It is easy, you can do it anywhere, and you only need a good pair of walking shoes. Sound like something familiar? I know, I thought of running too! The difference is, the level of intensity and expensive of a good walking shoe vs. good running shoe, walking might even win in the easiest to do where-ever you are.  The coolest part about walking, is that as you build endurance (which believe it or not, you are) you will be able to pick up the pace and eventually fall into a natural jog.  Walking is a fantastic means of getting into shape, getting into running, burning fat :), and feeling good about yourself and moving.
If you are not a big athlete, or just starting out getting moving, running is a great way to build some leg muscle, build the stamina and endurance for cardio work, feel better about yourself (yes you can still get endorphins from walking!) and maybe even be a little greener (ever think about walking to the cornerstore instead of driving the 2 or 3 blocks?).

So the big questions I see everywhere from online, to fitness mags, to colleagues - is what is the magic amount of walking to make it worthwhile fitness?  Is it 10,000 steps a day (which sounds crazy, but worth a pedometer experiment) or 45 - 60 minutes straight? From what I have found and what I witness, there really is no magic number (just like crunches for a six pack or miles logged running before a marathon).  Just with all health and wellness, 30 - 60 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week* (not everyday, not one, think 5) is recommended for optimal health benefits (cardiovascular, blood pressure, cancer, etc...).  This is per day, not per workout session or defined could tackle this with multiple shorter sessions throughout the day, such as take a walk with the dog or to work in the morning (15 minutes), take a walk at lunch on a nice day (30 minutes), take a walk after work wherever you may be (15 minutes).
Now moderate doesn't mean you can leisurely stroll and doesn't mean you should be sprinting at 100% - moderate means you are going at about 50-70% of your maximum heart rate/energy exertion*.  You can still hold a conversation, but you aren't going to be singing an opera anytime soon.  As you get comfortable with simply walking for periods of time, add in some arm movements, heck add some light weights! The more you mix up your walks (just like running) the more you will enjoy them and want to try new healthy things.
When you are ready you can start to speed up your walks, to the point where conversations might be a little more tough, and intersperse with slower intervals, building to slow jog/fast walk intervals, building into a slow, steady jog, run, race, etc...and always, ALWAYS stretch post-walks, post-runs, post-any workout....always make at least 5 minutes to stretch in your day, your body will thank you.
Chris demonstrating a good post-workout stretch :)
I personally have to embrace the power of the walk - I do enjoy to walk a lot more now than I ever have in the past.  I used to think why walk when I can run and get there faster, why walk when I don't even break a sweat, why walk when I could be shopping/eating/sleeping....I know think in means of why breath deeper, to think clearer, to give my hard working legs a break from the pounding of running, to save that extra tank of gas, to get out of the house on this gorgeous day! There is always a place and a reason to get moving, you just have to find what motivates and moves you.

Walking leads to power walking which can lead to jogging and running - think dominoes
My verdict on walking off the weight? I say go for it - there are so many walking plans and races that keep it fun, heart pumping, and active.  Especially if you have a goal to move more, lose weight, relax more - walking will help you achieve all of these, big or small.** One healthy addition to your life, could lead to one more healthy habit, and another, and another....they are addictive in a good way - just give it a try!

Tripp and I on a walk two Earth Days ago (healthy and green :) )

*I am not a certified trainer or doctor, these are just pieces I have read along my many fitness info binges, but they are backed by studies, and widespread knowledge in fitness news
** Walking is a component to a healthy lifestyle, but eating right (balanced diet of nutrients) and sleeping enough (6-8 hours minimum for most people).

Places you can go to learn more about walking off the weight:

What do you thinking about walking off the weight?

I always thought walking was too non-active to be considered a workout, but about a year ago I realized you can really get a workout (and pretty sore!) from a good walk! I went with Tripp's mom for my first power walk and my calves, lower back, abs and even arms were burning (in a good way!) the next few days!

Do you consider yourself to live a healthy lifestyle?

Most days of the week I am super healthy, balanced meals, about an hour or so of moderate+ activity and low alcohol. Weekends I tend to slack on the balanced meals a little and have been known to take down a fair share of wine, but I do try to think and live healthy.

What parts of your life could you improve to make it that much more balanced/healthy?

I could definitely get more regular sleep, I go from 8 hours one night to 5 hours another night to 12 hours another! I could also learn the casual part of casual drinking a bit more :)

1 comment:

  1. What an informative post! Walking is a great exercise, I love it!
    I consider myself to have a healthy lifestyle, I exercise most days of the week and do my best to eat nutritious foods. My weakness is a my sweet tooth! I could definitely get rid of some empty sugar calories and replace them with something better.


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