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

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                              Dr. Aletha 

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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.
yogurt-387454_640

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) 

A.G.
Close-ups: Losing Weight and Motivating Others

sharing the HEART of living healthy

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

                              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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