Walking to reach your fitness goals

But in life I think if we “climb on our goals”, we’ll be more likely to reach them.

We’re all struggling to cope with the stress of upended lives, risk of a new and menacing illness, economic instability, and an unpredictable future. Most of us are actively pursuing ways to take care of our bodies and minds so the stress doesn’t overwhelm us.

The Mayo Clinic reminds us that physical activity is one key way to do that.

Regular physical activity and exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Find an activity that includes movement, such as dance or exercise apps. Get outside in an area that makes it easy to maintain distance from people — such as a nature trail or your own backyard.

I’ve had to adjust my activity routine since my dance studio is closed, as well as the recreation center, that I had just joined prior to the physical distancing protocol started. I already liked to walk, so I have increased that to almost daily. I have a treadmill that I can use when the weather is not so nice, but I prefer to walk outside.

So in this post I’m going to share some photos from my walking journeys with reminders about the benefits of walking.

a walking trail at a park, sign advised social distancing
Multiple signs at the park reminded us to stay 6 feet apart, and everyone did.
Walking-maybe the best form of exercise

The best type of exercise is one that you will do on a regular basis. Walking is considered one of the best choices because it’s easy, safe, and inexpensive.

Brisk walking can burn as many calories as running, but it is less likely to cause injuries than running or jogging. Walking doesn’t require training or special equipment, except for appropriate shoes.

feet in walking shoes, crossed on a bench
I like Skechers for walking but other brands are probably just as good, just choose one that fits well and is comfortable; wear good socks to, to help prevent blisters.

Walking is an aerobic and weight-bearing exercise, so it is good for your heart and helps prevent osteoporosis.

Read more about taking care of your heart at this previous post.

7 Keys to a Healthy Heart

Seniors age 65 and older should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every week. That averages out to about 30 minutes on most days of the week. 

a bright blue wood rocking chair on a porch
Yes, I meet the requirement to be called a “senior”. Remember in high school,when that was a good thing? This rocker looked inviting but I kept walking.

Low-impact activities such as walking, biking, or swimming generally go easy on your joints.

handlebars of a bicycle, and iris flowers
Dr Aletha in her bicycle helmet

One day I biked instead of walked; a little harder to take photos though.

Include physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Park the car farther away at work or stores.
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Walk to do errands.
a USPS truck parked on a street
The mail carrier was also out walking, part of his daily routine for sure.

Get going and keep going

Everyone can benefit from physical activity. For most people, it is possible to begin exercising on your own at a slow pace. If you have never exercised before, start with a 10-minute period of light exercise. A brisk walk every day is a good first exercise. Slowly increase how hard you exercise and for how long.

  • You can walk outdoors, at home on a treadmill, alone, or with friends and family.
  • Make it fun. Listen to music or books on tape while you walk or jog. Watch TV or a video while you exercise.
a geometric cat chalked on a sidewalk
chalk rainbow drawn on a sidewalk
a tiger face drawn with chalk on a sidewalk
The heart of walking

Aerobic exercise causes you to breathe more deeply. It makes your heart work harder to pump blood. Aerobic exercise also raises your heart rate (which burns calories). Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, running, dancing, swimming, and bicycling.

a bush with bright red blooms, shaped like a heart
I posted this photo on Facebook and someone commented that it is shaped like a heart. What do you think?
Keep your distance

Honor social distancing guidelines
recommended by public health officials
to stop or slow down the spread of
contagious diseases. If you are running, walking or
hiking outside, try to do so in a location
that is not crowded. If you encounter
others while out exercising, maintain six
feet distance.

a sign says"never climb on goals"

This sign was on the fence at a soccer field where it’s good advice. But in life I think if we “climb on our goals”, we’ll be more likely to reach them. Sometimes “goals” do fall over, hopefully not causing serious injury or death, but often disappointment and discouragement. If your goals fail, climb back up and try again. Just not on the soccer field please.

Visit FamilyDoctor.org

The fitness advice in this post was taken from FamilyDoctor.org, the patient information site sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, of which I am a member. Please visit the site for more advice about exercise, fitness, and other health concerns , including coronavirus disease. (I have no financial interest in the site.)

exploring the HEART of fitness by walking

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help me fund this blog and share the HEART of health around the world.

Here are some affiliate links you may find helpful. Thanks for considering and using, which helps me fund this blog’s mission-to share the HEART of health.

JunoActive Plus Size Women's Activewear

How to up your workout game with an active app and activewear

I’ve been working out with Aaptiv for a year now and it has met and exceeded my expectations. Whether you are beginning to get serious at fitness or a long time work out guru, you can find an Aaptive work out and trainer to meet your needs.

In this post I’m introducing you to two of my affiliates for you to consider for your active wear and physical activity. I certainly encourage you to patronize businesses in your community but if you want other options I think you’ll like these.

(Affiliate means that some links on this page lead to a shopping site and if you make a purchase, the retailer pays this blog a commission.)

What is Juno Active ?

For one thing, it’s a woman owned, woman ran company, dedicated to empowerment of their employees and their customers.

It all started at a YMCA aerobics class in 1995.

Founder Anne Kelly was busy breaking a sweat when she looked around the room and wondered where all the plus size women were finding good plus size workout clothes that weren’t just made from cotton. She soon realized they weren’t finding any good clothes built with technical fabrics or specially tailored for plus size women’s bodies.

Fresh from finishing her business degree in London, Anne was inspired to start a plus size activewear company to fill the gap in the activewear industry and meet the growing needs of active plus size women everywhere.

Junonia®, was founded in 1995 as a catalog company. Rebranded as Juno®Active™ in 2012, the company is now exclusively an online plus size swim and activewear retailer.

“Our swim and activewear styles are custom tailored for plus size women; we focus on fabric performance and design so our customers always look and feel empowered.”

Anne Kelly, founder

What their website says

“At JunoActive we believe that every woman deserves what she wants and needs, like stylish plus size activewear that looks as good as it feels and performs.We design, create and provide styles that last longer than an annual gym membership, with high-tech fabrics, tailoring for performance and athletic styles that flatter real, curvy bodies.

With SoftWik hoodie pullovers, compression bike shorts, yoga leggings and so much more, find all your essential spring season activewear right here. Our plus size athletic wear ranges from XL to 6X.”

JunoActive Plus Size Women's Activewear JunoActive short sleeve plus size tops and tees. Get 3X tees, 4X tops, 5X shirts, and 6X short sleeve tops you can only find here

The JunoActive Blog

And you don’t have to buy anything to check out the JunoActive Blog with articles about work out tips, an active lifestyle, inspiration, workout fashion, and travel. Here’s one about working out in 6 feet of floor space.

JunoActive Plus Size Women's Swimwear Plus size shorts in many styles. Bermuda shorts, gaucho shorts, bike shorts, and more plus size women’s shorts.

Aaptiv– an app for that

With the proper activewear you can make use of the Aaptiv fitness app. I’ve been working out with Aaptiv for a year now and it has met and exceeded my expectations. Whether you are beginning to get serious at exercise or a long time fitness guru, you can find an Aaptive workout and trainer to meet your needs.

Aaptiv is an app that offers work out sessions led by professional trainers who talk you through a routine with background music. You might think that would be difficult without video. But in the past when I tried to work out with videos, I found I was often turned the wrong direction and couldn’t see what the trainer was doing.

By listening to and following the trainer’s spoken instruction, my workouts are more focussed and efficient. Aaptive added visual workout guides showing some of the positions used in yoga, stretching, Pilates, and strength training. You can also choose from ellipitical, treadmill, outdoor running, stair climber, and indoor cycling. There are also recordings for relaxation/meditation and to help you with sleep.

You can choose from a variety of activites characterized as beginner, intermediate, and advanced; these refer to the level of the work out, not necessarily your level of fitness. So you might be an advanced yoga practicioner, but if you’re new to elliptical, you probably should start with the beginner workouts.

Doctors know that physical activity is beneficial for almost everyone and can help manage many health problems. But if you have any health issues or physical challenges that might make exercise unsafe for you, discuss with your physician before starting. Or if you’re not sure if you do, talk to your doctor.

As you’re working through a routine, you may find it a little too challenging. No problem, you can stop and try a different one. Or continue, but move at a slower pace, or do fewer repetitions. You should avoid any movement that causes pain; you should feel challenged but not injured.

If you feel unwell during exercise, such as lightheaded, dizzy, chest discomfort, or extreme short of breath, stop all activity until your doctor determines it is safe to resume.

Aaptiv also publishes an online magazine filled with articles on fitness, eating, and health, like easy ways to cut waste in your kitchen.

exploring the HEART of fitness with physical activity

I hope this post inspires you to continue or start working out, a sport, or other physical activity. And if you use an affiiate link in this or other posts on this blog, you’ll create revenue that helps us share the HEART of health all over the world.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Use your phone to get fit

Tips on using health/fitness apps #Fibbit#MyFitnessPal#SleepCycle#MapMyRide

Do you perform some type of physical activity regularly, or wish that you did?

jogging trail sign
Parks with trails help people stay active.

You probably know that medical experts recommend physical activity; it not only helps us feel and look better, but it can even prevent certain chronic illnesses and delay death.

Physical activity fact sheet from the World Health Organization-WHO

Ask yourself these questions :

  1. Did you make a new year’s resolution to exercise more?
  2. Has your doctor told you to increase physical activity to treat a chronic condition or to prevent one?
  3. Do you need to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, control your blood glucose(sugar) or cholesterol?
  4. Do you want to feel more fit, stronger, and energetic?

blood pressure cuff, pill holder with medication
Controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol can help prevent and manage heart disease.



If you answered yes to any of these, and you own a smartphone, consider installing and using a fitness app.

Using a health or fitness app can

  • Motivate you to be more active
  • Monitor your compliance with activity
  • Measure your progress, and
  • Manage data that you and your doctor can use to improve your health.

Look for these features in a health/fitness app –

you may not need or want all of these, but they increase its usefulness

  • Has a user-friendly interface
  • Offers free trial version
  • Easy to initiate
  • Reliability during the activity
  • Includes a goal setting option
  • Offers real-time feedback
  • Customizable to user
  • Expert consultation available
  • Incorporates behavior change techniques based on science
  • Syncs with other apps and devices/computers for review and sharing
  • Supports social networking
  • Offers periodic summaries

Based on sales and independent reviews, here is a small sample of some of the top fitness apps available now.

They are organized by category, using the mnemonic FITNESS.

(This list contains affiliate links which may pay  this blog  a commission at no extra cost to you.)

FantasyZombies, Run!

Run, walk or jog while completing an adventure mission

 also a book based on the app

Intense CardioRun Tracker


 Tracking and Analytics Fitbitfeet in sports shoes

tracks exercises, food intake, calorie, weight and sleep

Net weight loss MyFitness Pal 

tracks food calories intake by barcode scanner , tracks nutrients, sugar and fiber

milk, yogurt, fruits, vegetables
Nutrition apps can help you make better food choices.

Eating/diet Fooducate

ranks overall nutritional value of food item and suggests alternative food choices when needed; customized to user

someone standing on a scale

SleepSleep Cycle 

tracks sleep quality and quantity, optimizes wake-up interval

person sleeping on a couch
Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge.


SpecializedCharity Miles

motivates more miles of walking, running, or cycling as users can earn donations to a charity of their choice for each mile travelled.

With an app and a fitness device you can  overcome

some of the barriers to physical activity such as

  • Lack of time
  • Inconvenience
  • Boredom
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Fear of injury
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of ability to  exercise


Some reasons you may not use a fitness app or device include

  • Apps require basic  technical skill and knowledge to use.
  • The financial resources to purchase and maintain.
  • You must “actively engage” with it to benefit.
  • The value of health apps to change behavior and health outcomes has not been scientifically established.



I have been using the app MapMyRide on my phone. When I’m walking or riding my bicycle, it keeps track of the distance , route and calories burned. I can manually enter activities I do when I’m not carrying my phone, like ballroom dancing. I can even enter activities like gardening, vacuuming, swimming and exercise. I like being able to look back at my workout log and see all that I’ve done the past week, month or year. It motivates me to keep it up, or step it up if I’m lagging .

Map My Ride app

If you choose to use a health app and device, set a goal for its use and periodically assess if it is helping you achieve them.

two champion athletes
You may even become an Olympic champion.

Reference for the information in this blog post-

“Smartphone Applications for Patients’ Health and Fitness”,

by John P. Higgins, MD, MBA, MPhil

The American Journal of Medicine (2016) 129, 11-19


Links in this post are provided for your convenience and do not imply endorsement or recommendation by Dr. Aletha.

A tour of the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado- Tuesday Travels

As we walked around the complex on a guided tour, I remembered the importance of physical activity for our physical and mental health, and made a note to remind you too. Almost no one will disagree with the recommendation to include and increase physical activity in our daily lives.

On a recent trip to  Colorado Springs my husband and I visited the United States Olympic Training Center . I hope these photos help you understand why his facility is called the “flagship” training center . Both Olympic and Paralympic athletes on Team USA train here.

You’re welcome to continue here, or you can read an updated version of this post at this link

Life Lessons from Team USA

As much as I admire the elite athletes who comprise the Olympic team, the Paralympic athletes captivate my imagination.

These are athletes who compete with, not necessarily despite, significant physical impairments; but to call them “disabled” does them an injustice. Many of them play and compete in physically demanding sports without full use of their arms and legs; some don’t even have all of their arms and legs.

As we walked around the complex on a guided tour, I remembered the importance of physical activity for our physical and mental health, and made a note to remind you too.  Almost no one will disagree with the recommendation to include and increase physical activity in our daily lives.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans call for moderate-intensive physical activity for 150 minutes or more per week, vigorous-intensity activity for at least 75 minutes per week, or an equivalent combination of the 2, and engaging in muscle strengthening activity at least twice per week.

  • Medical studies show that exercise can prevent or improve many chronic health conditions and lack of exercise contributes to many diseases.
  • Physical activity may reduce the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, prostate and pancreas.
  • Regular exercise may help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
  • Exercise can relieve joint and back pain due to arthritis.
  • Depression is treated with physical activity successfully

As we walked through the  USA Shooting area I picked up a flyer titled “Winning Attitudes”. I liked what it said so I am using some of the ideas to illustrate my photos. I hope they will encourage you to develop a “winning attitude” in all areas of your life.

Enjoy this brief tour through the Olympic Complex and if you go to Colorado Springs, be sure and visit; the cost is reasonable and worth the price.

Become excited, confident, and enthusiastic about your goals.

statue of athletes at entrance to facility
statue of athletes at entrance to facility

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream.

“Olympic Strength” statue- four athletes supporting the world with a figure skater beside them

Winners focus on solutions, not problems.

wheelchairs adapted for playing

Winners have positive attitudes in all elements of their lives. The more you think about, talk about, and write about a thing happening, the greater the certainty of that thing happening.

on display in the Hall of Fame

Goals should identify minimum performance levels. They should never limit your performance.

swimming pool
a real “olympic sized” swimming pool

Real winners are champions in life, not just in sports.

two champion athletes
Runner Tyson Gay and gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the Hall of Fame

Missing a goal means setting another goal to strive for.

multi use gymnasium

A champion constantly learns and improves.

words to train by and live by

Champions are willing to risk a little in the short run to gain an advantage in the long run

2 athletes
2 athletes hard at work

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream. 

be a champion.
I may not be a competitive athlete, but I will stay as active as possible as long as possible.

Excellence is achieved only through constant pursuit. 

The athletes live, eat, and sleep here.


I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

6 steps to losing weight and gaining hope

As her sadness lessened, her motivation to take better care of herself returned. Here is what she did and recommends to journey into fitness and weight loss.

In  other posts I  defined obesity  and explained how it can harm our health.

What is obesity and why does it matter? 
Waist size matters
BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.
BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.

Obesity revisited

Some people who are overweight just want to lose the excess weight and are not that concerned about the health risk if they don’t. No wonder the weight loss business is a multi-million (billion?) industry. When patients  ask me for weight loss help, I tell  them if I knew a 100% successful method for losing weight, I would be wealthy, and probably not  working anymore. I have patients who successfully lose weight, with and without my help, and unfortunately just as many who don’t. Most of the ones who lose weight do it simply-

  • They change what, how much, and how they cooked and ate.
  • They start,increase, and continue being physically active.
a walking trail in a park
How one woman lost weight and regained her life

In the May 2015 issue of American Family Physician, a  doctor shared the story of a woman whose life events made her feel sad and overwhelmed; she turned to food for comfort.  Combined with a sedentary lifestyle, she gained weight. After a health scare, she took her doctor’s advice to see a nutritionist and begin exercising- 10 minutes daily.

For her emotional turmoil she turned to a counsellor, her rabbi and friends.

“I saw a counselor every week who let me cry and express my emotions.”

As her sadness lessened, her motivation to take better care of herself returned. Here is what she did and recommends to journey into fitness and weight loss.

  1. Remove junk food from the house; replace with healthier choices.
  2. Keep chopped up fruit and vegetables available in the refrigerator.
  3. Bake, broil, poach, or steam meats and vegetables.
  4. Eat from small plates.
  5. Try different activities- walking, dancing, exercise videos,
  6. Find a role model to inspire you.

Do a good deed, no matter how small, every day. Nothing will taste as good as it feels to watch another person appreciate your mitzvah” ( mitzvah- a good deed) 

Close-ups: Losing Weight and Motivating Others

sharing the HEART of living healthy

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

These are affiliate links you may find helpful and which help fund this blog with a commission when a purchase is made using them.

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