Friday, October 24, 2014

What's On My Feet

One reason I like to walk is that you don't need a lot of expensive equipment. To start a walking program the only thing you really need is a good pair of shoes. (Some people do walk barefooted but not me!)

I've owned several different brands of walking shoes. Nike and New Balance are two favorites but Skechers are my new go to shoes.

Skechers are lightweight with breathable uppers.  Memory foam makes walking in these shoes very comfortable.

Even the little strappy dress shoes are great shoes for walking around town. I wouldn't wear them for strenuous long walks but they're great for a marathon shopping trip!

A few shoes tips:

  • When trying on new shoes be sure to wear the socks that you'll be using when you walk so you'll get a proper fit. 
  • If your feet tend to swell shop for new shoes at the end of the day to get the best fit. 
  • Don't think you can break in new shoes. If they don't feel good at the store they won't feel good in another week.
  • Do walk around the house in your new shoes. That way if you decide they aren't comfortable for some reason you'll be able to return them. It's harder to return shoes after you've walked outside. (Each store is different but this is the policy at many shoe stores. Check on the return policy before you buy)
  • Having two pairs of walking shoes allows you to rotate shoes each day. This will give each pair time to air out between walks. 
  • If you don't have two pairs of shoes to rotate you can use a blow dryer set on low or cool to dry the shoes between wearing. A dryer sheet tucked inside will also freshen up smelly shoes or a sprinkle of baking soda works pretty good.

Leave me a comment and let me know your favorite walking shoe...

(I purchased Skechers myself and I wasn't compensated in any way for this review.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Step By Step

Several years ago I began wearing a pedometer. This is a little gizmo that counts each step I take. This one simple thing changed my whole outlook when I realized that I was I was taking less than 5000 steps a day.

 According to an article at About Health less than 5000 steps is considered sedentary. I'd always thought of myself as fairly active so this was a wake up call. 

See the article "How Many Pedometer Steps Per Day is Enough?" for more details.

When I first started wearing a pedometer my goal was to increase my steps by 500 to 1000 steps a day. I slowly worked my way up to taking 10,000 of more each day and I've kept up that pace for the last 3 years. 

10,000 steps isn't a magic number but one many people aim for. For me 2100 steps is equal to 1 mile so I'm walking around 4 - 5 miles each day. Weekends usually find us walking the trails at a local state park or participating with our walking club and my steps can go up to 16,000 or more. 

A few tips pedometer tips:
  1. Buy a good pedometer. I use one by Omron. You can buy pedometers that track miles, calories burned, heart rate, etc. but I like this that just keeps up with the steps. 
  2. Don't use the freebies that are given away at health fairs. You can jiggle those in your hand and up your steps. That doesn't help you at all.
  3. I put my pedometer on as soon as I get out of bed. It's surprising how many steps you can take just fixing breakfast. 
  4. If your pedometer doesn't come with a good clasp rig up a way to hold it sucurely on your waistband. I found this out the hard way when my pedometer came off my pants while in the bathroom at Sears. It wasn't pretty...
  5. Track your steps and aim to add steps each day until you reach a number that's right for you.
  6. Have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Number of steps are important but shouldn't be your only goal.

I purchased this Omron pedometer at Walgreens for about $15. I've had it for 2 years and I've replaced the battery once. That's a good deal...

Do you wear a pedometer? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Alone With God- A Prayer Walk

I like to walk in the mornings by myself. It gives me time to be alone with the Lord. If something is bothering me or I'm trying to make a decision about something I give it over to Jesus and usually by the end of my walk I have a clearer idea of what I need to do. 

During these early morning walks I also thank the Lord for His many blessings. I call to mind the times He has been faithful to answer my prayers. Not always the way I wanted but He always hears and answers. His answers are a million times better than anything I could come up with!

Getting outside and seeing God's world helps me to have a better attitude. I look at simple things like what we call weeds that grow in the ditches. God cares so much that He makes even the lowly weed beautiful. I know He loves and cares for me so much more. 

Where is your favorite place to spend time alone with the Lord?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Together - Walking the Trail at Ft Caroline

It was cool this morning so we decided to take a walk in the woods. 

We choose Ft. Caroline National park because it was near a store where I needed to stop. Ft. Caroline is part of the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve. 

This is a neat place to walk. You can walk on the river side and get a history lesson at the remains of Fort Caroline or cross the street and walk by the Spanish Pond. We decided to walk the pond area because there are lots of hills and hills are hard to come by in this part of Florida. 

The trail was overgrown in places but passable. I forgot the bug spray so we couldn't stop for very long because mosquitoes were hungry and they'd land on any warm blooded body that was standing still. 

There were quite a few people on the trail. I liked that everyone was friendly and spoke as we passed. Even though the trail was pretty strenuous there were several families walking with their kids and dogs. 

It warmed up pretty quick and I was glad I brought a cold bottle of water. 

Before this walk we were 41 miles over our 500 miles together challenge. This Sunday afternoon walk added another 3 miles. Feels good to be out ahead.

(also forgot my camera so no pictures to share:(

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Move - Take a Simple Walk

Please note due to being away from internet access I'm starting this challenge late...although I didn't begin on October 1 my goal is to write for 31 days...

My father-in-law is 93 years old (young). He still hikes in the mountains near his home, is active in his church, grows roses, and just celebrated his wedding anniversary to his younger (83yrs) second wife.

Some might say the fact he is well into what most would call old age is due to good genes or just the luck of the draw.  He attributes it to a beer a day and plain stubbornness.

I'm not sure but I know that one thing he does is to stay on the move. He gets up every morning, puts on  his shoes and goes to early mass. He does this every morning and then stays active all day till it's time for bed.

His philosophy is to keep moving and my husband and I have adopted his way of thinking. We don't grow roses (or anything else for that matter) or go to mass every day but we do walk and stay active. 

Just a simple 30 minute walk can work wonders. Some days we walk our neighborhood. Other days we go somewhere special like to the beach or a nearby park. If outdoor options are out of the question then we clock our miles on a treadmill or by walking in our local mall.

I don't know if walking will help slow down the aging process but I do know I feel better. When I'm worried or anxious and I start walking I can feel the stress leave my body. That knot that forms in my stomach when I'm overwhelmed slowly unwinds.  When I'm feeling blue or unproductive a simple walk can help me snap out of whatever has me down. 

Don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself.
"Walking is man's best medicine."

Lace up and take a walk!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days of Walking - Welcome!

Anyone who drops in from Write 31 Days:

I failed in my efforts to write for 31 days about walking. I did get up to day 11 but it went down hill from there. I have walked everyday but I find writing and posting everyday to be too much for me. It sort of took the pleasure out of my day...

I hope you'll still take a look around and see some of the beautiful places I walk and maybe learn about the benefits of walking.

Thanks for dropping in.

Walking is my number ONE way to stay healthy. There's been tons of studies done on the health benefits of walking. Among other things walking can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, fight off depression and increase your creativity. Almost anyone can walk, it's free (one of my favorite words), can be done just about anywhere, and the only equipment needed is a decent pair of shoes . 

So for 31 days I'll be posting about places I walk and other walking related information.

For more information on this challenge check out the Write 31 Days website.

Lace up and let's go walking!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Walking in Our Neighborhood

"Manners is the key thing. Say for instance when you're growing up, you're walking down the street, you've got to tell everybody good morning. Everybody. You can't pass one person."
Usain Bolt

When we first started walking in our new neighborhood we were surprised by how many cars passed by and no one acknowledged us.

 No lifting of the hand for a friendly wave, no nod of the head and certainly no eye contact. 

I was discouraged by the thought that we'd moved to the wrong place. A place so unfriendly that our  own neighbors could so easily ignore us we walked down the street. John on the other hand accepted the situation as a challenge. He was determined to break the barrier and get people to wave. 

So from that moment on we waved at every single car that past by. At every single person we saw standing in their yard or on the front porch. And by wave I mean a hand up in the air so you can't miss it kind of wave! 

Guess what? In just a few short days we had pretty much everyone greeting us on the road. Even a few arm out the window kind of waves and a horn honk here and there:-)

 It's amazing how a simple wave can change your whole attitude and make the day seem sunnier. It's also just plain good manners!

I do love my neighborhood and I walk almost everyday. I'm sharing just a few photos from  my last morning  walk. 

There's usually a few people out walking and biking.

Many houses in our neighborhood are located on 2-3 acre lots with a few mini farms thrown in. 

Parts of the sidewalk (where there is a sidewalk) look like a trail in the forest. 

Beautiful 'weeds' grow in all the ditches...

That's just a glimpse of my neighborhood. 

Lace up and get to know your neighbors!

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Great Florida Birding Trail at Ft Clinch State Park

On the way home from Tallahassee I saw several signs for the Florida Birding Trail. Had they always been there and I just never noticed? A quick search on the Internet when we got home and I had all the info I needed. 

"The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation Commission. AT its core is a network of 515 sites throughout Florida selected for their excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing or educational opportunities." From the  Great Florida Birding Trail website.

I just knew that one of these 515 sites would have to become our next walk. Since we are very close to Fernandina we decided to check out the trail at Ft. Clinch State Park. 

The trail begins at the parking lot for the fishing pier. A neat little kiosk provided plenty of information about Florida birds and the birding trail. 

It's a half mile walk from the parking lot to the end of the fishing pier. We were there pretty early so we decided to get walking before the noon day sun started bearing down. There were lots of people fishing from the pier. Even one guy who had a good size shark on his line. It made me glad I was walking on the pier and not swimming. You never know what might be swimming right by your ankles...Yikes!

Under the pier

On the pier

Above the pier

The walk on the fishing pier was pleasant. There was a nice cool breeze coming off the water. Several flocks of birds flew overhead while we were on the pier. I believe these are pelicans. OK I've lived in Florida my whole life with the exception of two long years in Texas. I'm ashamed to say I don't really know much about Florida birds...

 The rest of our walk wasn't quite as enjoyable. After a nice lunch in the picnic area by the fort we took the walking trail through the woods.  Not a breath of air was stirring. It was HOT! Even the birds and squirrels were smart and stayed quite in the shade. 

But that's summer in Florida...

For more information on the Great Florida Birding Trail check out their website.

Lace up and learn something new about your area.