Tag Archives | Healthy Eating and Exercise

Tell Fat to Fork Off- Using A Pedometer To Get Your Walking In

Tell Fat to Fork Off

My health coach and nurse practitioner, Deb Stein from Essentia Health in Brainerd, advised that I walk 10,000 steps a day.

That is WAY harder than you think! Especially if your day is spent on your butt in front of a computer. BUT, it is do-able. The first thing I do every day is mall walk at the Westgate Mall. I know that, if I utilize every nook and cranny of that place, I can get in about 5,000 steps in around an hour (it’s about 980-ish steps per one full trip around the mall concourse).

Setting aside some time to go for a 45 minute walk isn’t always easy much less finding another hour to get in those 5,000 additional steps.

We all live busy lives and between family and work, fitting in a workout isn’t always possible. What if I told you that you didn’t have to dedicate a set block of time for your walking workouts? What if you could get the same health benefits by working in a little more activity here and there throughout your day? And what if there was a fun little gadget that helped you keep track of it and motivated you to move more?

There is and it’s called a pedometer. You can pick up an inexpensive model at your local super store or order it from Amazon. Or you can go with something a little fancier like a Fitbit for example. But before you head out to spend any money, check your smart phone. Many models have a pedometer built in. All you need to do is download a free app and you’re good to go.

Thepedometer will track how many steps you take on any given day. It will also track how many minutes you’ve spent being active and how many miles you’ve walked. In other words, it keeps track of how much exercise you get during your day. And the good news is that it doesn’t matter if you head out after work for a 45 minute walk, or if you work out in little spurts here and there throughout the day. Maybe you start your day by parking a little further away from the office and walking a couple of hundred extra steps. Then you take a quick stroll during your lunch break. You wrap up your day by walking around the park while your kids play. And just like that you’ve gotten your exercise in without having to block out any additional time.

Give it a try. Put on a pedometer, or start tracking with that phone you’re always carrying around anyway and see how much you’re walking around any given day. From there, try to get a little more active as time goes by until you hit your stepping goal. For most of us 10,000 steps per day is a good long term goal, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that, go for it.

Keeping track of your steps is very motivating. Looking at your pedometer and realizing you’re 2,000 steps away from your daily goal may be just the motivation you need to head out for that after dinner stroll.

NOTE: I use the iPhone app Pacer to track and log my steps. There’s a bunch of apps that can be used but honestly, I think a FitBitis something I need to look into.


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Tell Fat to Fork Off-The Many Health Benefits Of Going For A Walk

Tell Fat to Fork Off

There are a lot of good reasons to go for a walk. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and most important it’s good for your health. But what exactly are the health benefits of walking? I hope this article convinces you that heading out for a walk each day is a great idea and that it motivates you to stick to your walking schedule until you start to see results.

Walking Gets You Outside In The Fresh Air and Sunshine

No matter how fast or slow you walk, walking gets you outside and in the fresh air. This alone will make you feel better as your body absorbs the oxygen and sunshine. Both are important for your health and well-being.

You will find the air quality outside, particularly if you go for a walk on the beach or in a park, will be much better than the air inside your house. Of course, the sunshine outside will help your body product all the Vitamin D it needs.

Walking Can Help You Get To And Maintain A Healthy Weight

Walking particularly at a quick pace and doing it regularly can help you get to and then maintain a healthy weight. Yes, you still need to watch what you eat and aim for a healthy diet, but walking can be another tool to help you drop those extra pounds.

The nice thing about walking when you’re overweight is that you burn a lot of calories, even on short and slow walks, simply because you’re carrying so much weight around with you. As you start to lose the weight, your overall strength and endurance increases, allowing you to walk longer, further, and faster.

Walking Improves Your Sense Of Balance And Coordination

As you walk, particularly when walking over rougher terrain, you’re also working on your sense of balance and coordination. Just getting in the habit of going for a daily walk will help. But you can work even more on your sense of balance by moving your head around. Turn your head to the right and left as you walk for a count of 30. Then move your head up and down for a count of 30. If you do these simple exercises once or twice as you walk each day you’ll get even more benefit.

Walking Strengthens Your Bones and Muscles

Even though walking is a low impact form of exercise it helps to strengthen and tone your body. If you’re just starting out, it is all you need to start to get into better shape. As you get more fit, consider adding weight lifting exercises in addition to your daily walks to continue to get stronger and help develop strong muscles and bones.

Walking Will Boost Your Mood and Fight Depression

Feeling restless, sad or angry? A brisk walk in nature is an excellent way to keep the blues at bay. The fresh air combined with blood-pumping movement is the prefect way to clear cloudy brains and raise spirits.

 

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Make Healthy Eating and Exercise a Family Affair

A colorful display of fresh fruits

Have you ever noticed that it’s much easier to stick to a diet or exercise plan if you have someone in the trenches with you? Have you ever been the person eating carrot sticks and celery while watching someone else eats fat-drenched carbs with sugar on top? Why not make healthy eating and exercise a family affair?

Ditch the Junk Food

Starting with food, which is often the most difficult part of the willpower bandwagon, if the whole family is working on eating healthy foods, you can just keep those sinful temptations out of the house. Consider avoiding the junk food aisle all together and purchasing healthy alternatives for snacks.

Whole grain crackers, pretzels, yogurt, string cheese, nuts, apples, carrots, celery, kale, berries, bananas and other fruits are healthy alternatives that often cost less in the long run and are chock-full of vitamins, dietary fiber and low in calories and fat. Experts recommend placing the healthy alternatives at eye-level in the cupboards or refrigerator so that the healthy items are the first thing a person sees when they look for a snack.

Look for Healthy Alternatives to Family Favorites

If your whole family is working on healthy eating, you can look for healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes. Enjoy baking? Often substituting pumpkin or applesauce for the butter or oil can work well in muffin, cake or brownie recipes. It replaces the fat, adds flavor and vitamins and is an easy swap.

What about using cooking spray instead of full-force oil in your cooking? Adding more green leafy items, more vegetables and fruits to your meals can make a big difference as well. Does your family enjoy spaghetti dinners? Consider swapping the heavy pasta for lighter alternatives – spaghetti squash is a vitamin-rich alternative. Eight minutes in the microwave, top with your favorite marinara sauce and you’d hardly know the difference. Yet the difference between them is huge — 31 calories in spaghetti squash versus 158 in spaghetti per serving.

Family Fitness

Why head out to the gym on your own if you can bring the whole family? Often a gym will offer a substantial discount for a whole family membership, and many gyms even provide childcare and play rooms for smaller children. Older children will enjoy shooting baskets, running around the track, and your pre-teens and teens will enjoy learning to use the weight machines and free weights.

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Exercise doesn’t have to stop at the gym. Gearing up for a 5K? Why not register the spouse and kids as well? They’re likely to be there to cheer you on anyway, but if you’re all in it together you can prep for it together and eat healthy in preparation together.

Maybe you’re not a runner. Family walks after dinner are a nice way to wind down and hear about each other’s day. Weekend hikes, skiing, biking or paddling trips are excellent ways to commune with nature and create memories your kids will have with them forever.

The best thing about involving the whole family in healthy eating and exercise? Making healthy choices now will make all of you healthier in the long run and will help to establish wonderful fitness and eating habits in your children that they will continue throughout their lives. Studies show that children that are active do better in school, have more confidence and even do better on some tests. With the multitude of benefits for everyone, why not get everyone involved?

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