By Stephanie Montague
By the title you may be thinking, “What is she talking about?! I can’t wait for the summer!” I hear you. I love the summer too. And it knows it’s been a long winter. We’ve had something like 15 storms in Philadelphia alone…and we may get another one or two before it’s all said and done. I have worn my fair share of sweaters and puff coats. I have enjoyed being all cozy at home. I’ve savored cups of cocoa and made comfort food meals of mashed potatoes, meatloaf, roasted chicken and so on. I’m not a baker but by the looks of Facebook people have putting their pastry chef hats on! But alas, these last few days of warmth have made me think that alll that puff underneath my coat wasn’t my sweater, it was me. Ugh! The ugly truth is all that puff wasn’t my sweater or coat…it’s me.
All of us love to relax. Frankly, we don’t get to relax enough. We have wonderful conveniences. Most of us drive to work or take public transportation. We have elevators in every building and escalators. Technology is wonderful. However, these same things that make our lives easy also rob us of valuable exercise.
A few years ago I put a pedometer on my hip for the day. This was an average day where I did my normal routine. I was shocked by the end of the day. I had only walked about one hundred steps. Yes, I said I only walked one hundred steps! That day I drove to work, walked into the building, sat down, went to the ladies room a few times, drove home and walked into the house. When I saw how little activity I had gotten it explained the pounds. Although I may have been good with my food, I wasn’t moving. According to www.walkingsite.com you should take 10,000 steps per day. Ten thousand steps equal about five (5) miles.
At my 100 steps I was very far from the 10,000 recommended! In this series I want to talk about various forms of exercise to get us moving. Let’s dive in and start with walking.
Walking couldn’t be more basic. While some may have conditions which inhibit or prohibit this is a function you don’t even have to think about in your daily life. Walking is low impact. Those who have knee and joint issue can find walking easy on those painful areas. While 10,000 steps is the goal you can start small and build up.
A family affair!
You don’t have exercise alone. In fact many people find the “buddy system” best in terms of motivation. You can gather your partner and children and GO! You may not have five miles (or 10,000 steps) in your area but maybe you can walk for an hour after dinner. You may be surprised that there are parks or school tracks near your home that allow public access. You may also be surprised how many people are down there getting their workout on. Join in. This is great time to find out how everyone’s day was or what’s on your child’s mind.
The great thing about exercising with family is that it sends the message that health is important to your children. Couples can bond during exercise. You also get the much need quality time with family that often missed in the hustle of the day.
Friends and fitness!
I have several workout partners! I am blessed to have a gym at my job. Many of us at lunch get up and go (shout to my co-workers with…Bodies by Stone” (Mark Stone) and “Champions breed Champions” (Jorge Ortiz) (inside joke). Going with them is great motivation. We laugh and sweat in there together. On other days I go with my boyfriend in the evenings. While we don’t do of all the same exercises together, we bike for 3-4 miles together at the end. And on other days I get in there with my friend Tiffany Jackson and we do our thing. Now before you have this image of me as She-Ra, no…I’m far from it. But I’m working on it and the motivation I receive from all these people is invaluable!
I say all this to say grab your friends and get moving! All of you may have is that one friend who is willing to walk with you. I have seen many men and women in groups. When I drive past I want to roll down my window and say “Do it ladies!” I get empowered. When I’m with my friends we chat and work out problems together. It’s such a fun time. We don’t get to spend much time with our friends and this is a great way to get connected and shed pounds.
Here are some benefits of walking according to American Heart Association (http://www.startwalkingnow.org/whystart_benefits_walking.jsp):
• Reduce sthe risk of coronary heart disease
• Improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels
• Improves blood lipid profile
• Maintains body weight and lower the risk of obesity
• Enhances mental well being
• Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
• Reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer
• Reduces the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
As always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Next week we wrap up walking and move onto more exercises! In the meantime get up and move!
Stephanie Montague has an all-natural, organic skin and hair line Cheveux Soufflés found at www.cheveuxsouffles.com.