Walking For Water – World Water Day

Every day, I turn on the faucet without a thought, unable to imagine what I would do if nothing came out. It seems like I am always hearing about how important hydration is for health, especially while being physically active, and I do my best to stay hydrated throughout the day. I recently learned that if you held all of the water in the world in a gallon jug (~3.85 liters), there would only be about a tablespoon of fresh water. With such a statistic, it does cause me to pause and think about how blessed I am to have fresh water on demand, as well as wonder what can be done to help the 2.1 billion people lacking access to safely managed drinking water services (United Nations World Water Development Report 2018). This reflection is timely, as today is World Water Day, a day to draw attention to the importance of fresh and clean water.

On Sunday, April 29th, Walker Tracker is participating in the Carry5 Walk For Water, a fundraiser for Water 1st International. The walk involves carrying water for 5 kilometers in solidarity with the 1 billion people who lack access to clean water. Walker Tracker is supporting Water 1st International because sustainable water and sanitation projects improve health & wellbeing, as well as create opportunity in the world’s poorest communities. Every $85 raised provides one person with clean water and a toilet FOR LIFE.

Walking for your health is important, but you might also consider being physically active for a cause that is important to you. Many nonprofits hold walking fundraisers. Another option, if your nonprofit of choice does not hold a similar event is to create your own fundraiser by asking for donations based on your own physical activity. You could participant in a local 5k walk/run or sports tournament and ask coworkers, family, and friends for donations. You would be helping your health and your cause. A win-win. What will you walk for?

To donate or learn more about Water 1st and the Carry5 Walk visit https://water1st.org/carry5/portland/. Stay tuned for updates on our walk.

Introducing Our Newest Walker Tracker Team Member

We are excited to welcome a new member of our team, Nick Buckingham. Nick is joining our growing business development team. We asked Nick a little about himself, and here is what he had to say: 

How long have you lived in Portland?
I have lived in Portland pretty much my whole life, with a couple of years in Northern California. I left Portland a couple years ago to spend a very short time period up in Seattle. This was short lived because nothing really compares to Portland. 

Are you team dog or team cat?
I’m definitely team dog. I have one puppy, named Emma. She is a very sassy dachshund. 

What is something important about you people should know?
I have a six-year-old son that keeps me on my toes daily.  

How do you like to be active?
Mostly outdoor activities including trips to the beach and hiking almost every weekend.

What is a fun fact about you?
I enjoy writing in my free time, as well as reading when I can, and I just completed my first manuscript- a fiction novel.  

International Women’s Day – Celebrating the Work Women Do

Walker Tracker's Management Team

Walker Tracker’s amazing management team: Stephanie Green, Ben Parzybok, Taylor Welsh, and Blanca Garcia-Rinder

International Women’s Day is March 8th and Walker Tracker is proud to celebrate and acknowledge the work women are doing both at our company and around the world. This has been a big year for women everywhere and for the women at Walker Tracker.

In January the list of leaders for the Fortune 500 companies came out and there were more women on it than ever, growing from 21 to 31 female CEOS- the highest number since the list started in 1955. While this is great news, there is still a lot of work to be done, as that is only 6.4% of the companies with female leadership.

Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since 1988 and yet hold far less leadership positions from corporate executive officers, board seats, and college deans to law firm partners, film directors and congressional seats. (For more details see the article: “The Women’s Leadership Gap” by the Center for American Progress )

At Walker Tracker we are proud to be a part of a growing number of companies working to bridge this gap. From our CEO, Taylor Welsh, to two out of three of our departments being head by female leaders, we have a strong female presence throughout our organization. We have female representation on every team from customer success to sales to development! We believe this diversity strengthens our perspective as a company and allows us to better partner with our clients to engage all of their employees in a variety of wellness initiatives.

To celebrate International Women’s Day we are releasing a limited time challenge map “Influential Women Throughout History.” Walk around the world and unlock milestone pins with content about these amazing leaders who helped blaze the trail for all women everywhere! This map will be available to all our new and current programs through the end of March, as well as a challenge open to anyone on our community site starting, March 8th.

Is Willpower A Myth?

Motivation can be fleeting at times.  Willpower?  Even worse.  The other day this article found it’s way to my inbox. Hardy makes his point, that willpower doesn’t work, quite compelling. “According to psychological research, your willpower is like a muscle. It’s a finite resource that depletes with use.”

Well, about half of you are relieved.  Thank goodness, all these years I’ve been trying this ‘willpower’ thing with very little success.  The other half of you are probably raising an eyebrow: “If I don’t have willpower, then what?”

Actions.  You have your actions and you can create momentum!  Once you set yourself in motion, it’s easier to keep going.  One healthy action can have a cascading effect throughout your day.  If you exercise in the morning, you’ll fuel your body with nourishment rather than reach for sugar filled snacks to give you energy.   When you’re on a healthy path, you want to stay on the path.  This is not new information, most of us learned this in elementary school (recall Newton’s laws of motion?).  The first law basically states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force.  If your sedentary it’s easy to stay sedentary.  If you’re active it’s easier to stay active.  If you’re trying to make the leap from sedentary to active you need that force to jump start your routine. You need to take action.

Mel Robbins (creator of and writer of the book The 5 Second Rule) uses a simple trick to drive behavior change.  It’s so simple you can change your life 5 seconds at a time.  Whatever your goal is (wake up earlier, start an exercise routine, eat healthier, write a book, start a company, train for a sporting event), you’re likely thinking it to death. Maybe you’re frozen in an analytical whirlwind, making a pros and cons list, already thinking of all the ways you could potentially fail. So, you do nothing.  The 5 Second Rule stirs you to action.  Give it a go!  Think of something you’ve been avoiding, don’t particularly want to do, or a habit you’d like to form.  Now, count down from 5 and at 1 get up and do it.  5…4…3…2…1…!

What does this look like in action?

Say, you have a hard time getting to the gym.  The whole event seems overwhelming.  Try breaking it out one step at a time.  Just drive to the gym.  That’s all you have to do – drive there and park.  Once you get there, just do 5 minutes of cardio to get warm.  Just 5 minutes – do it, go, before you have time to think yourself out of it.  OK – now you’re in the gym and you’re moving.  The likelihood of your leaving after 5 minutes is pretty low.  Generally after 5 minutes you’re starting to get into your groove.

No?  That’s fine. Just do 5 more minutes.

Still no?  Maybe today is not your day – if you went to the gym and did 10 minutes of exercise that is better than nothing and it’s your first step – propelling you into the habit.

In Jocko Willink’s book Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, he coaches on the value of discipline.  You can set yourself free from these ‘mind traps’ through habits and structure.   It’s useful to take notice that we didn’t get here overnight – our lives are a series of tiny decisions that, each moment, formulate who we become.  If we’re not careful it’s pretty easy to fall into a downward spiral of bad habits, unhealthy actions and negative self talk.

“We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be. It isn’t that you wake up one day and decide that’s it: I am going to be weak. No. It is a slow incremental process. It chips away at our will-it chips away at our discipline.”

In his episode on the Tim Ferriss podcast he disagrees with the ‘willpower is a finite resource’ theory – but offers some great advice on how to get started.  I loved his answers to these two very simply questions, both of which torture many of us in the contemplation stage.

“where do I start?”


“when should I start?”


If you need a call to action, here it is: I challenge you!  Whether it’s trying the 5 Second Rule, calling on self discipline, or instilling some habits that propel you towards your goal – get that momentum going!

Here. Now.

What goal are you setting for yourself? How will you set yourself in motion? We’d love to hear from you!

We Walk The Walk! – Walker Tracker’s Latest Staff Challenge

Last week, with the streets covered with snow, I stepped outside decked out in layers and snow gear ready to trek through the snow. Why didn’t I stay inside and hide from the cold? Well, a challenge is underway and there are steps to be taken!

Walk for fun and health

Here at Walker Tracker, we actually do walk the walk. Our staff enjoys competing against each other in our own activity challenges. Our quarterly challenge is going on right now: The Walker Tracker Rise and Grind Challenge. The challenge is an example of our custom points challenges. Each day, competitors can earn points by meeting the daily step goal, logging sleep hours, posting photos, and answering questions throughout the challenge.

So, why does this challenge focus on sleep? “We’ve found that an active lifestyle requires consistent and sufficient sleep, so in addition to encouraging everyone to meet their daily step goals we also wanted them cognizant of how much sleep they’re getting,” says our Account Executive Cyan Cooper, who is administering the challenge. He also highlights that “people tend to wear sleep deprivation as a badge of honor, but losing sleep robs you of your energy, diminishes just about every measurable health metric, and significantly increases your chances of Alzheimer’s.” Check out previous blogs with more info on sleep and tips on how to get more sleep.

The challenge is not just for bragging rights, there are real stakes! Top steppers receive coffee gift cards, to help keep us focused and hard at work I’d imagine. But, the simple act of recognition, whether it be a certificate at an awards ceremony or a gift card or other prize, can be very motivating.

A common question I get is what kinds of incentives should I provide challenge winners? It really depends on the organization’s population and culture. It’s always a good idea to reward healthy behaviors with prizes that promote healthy habits. A few ideas include:

• A gift card to by fresh produce, sporting goods, massage, or music
• An activity tracking device
• A personal training session

To be honest, I’m not the most competitive person, but I’m looking forward to having fun and feeling good about my activity level during this challenge. Who will emerge victorious? Who will be left to sweep up the dust (or snow?)? Stay tuned or follow us on social media at Facebook or Twitter to hear how it turns out.

Battling Sugar – Cravings vs Healthy Options

Growing up I always had a fondness for sweet treats. My Mom would often tease me that I was born with a sweet tooth. But today, as more research is available on sugar, the candy bar or cookie that I’ve added as a regular part of my diet is having a direct effect on my overall health. Studies have shown that sugar is highly addictive and can have negative results not only in gaining weight but also increased mood swings. Additionally, it may cause skin to age more rapidly and can cause stress or damage to various organs including the heart. For more information on sugar’s effects please see Web MD’s article “How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?

Even though it’s common knowledge that we should reduce or even avoid sugar, I find it hard to stop cold turkey when it comes to sweet snacks or desserts.  So here are a few healthy food options that I often eat to help me fight an oncoming sugar craving. Just be sure to follow the rule “everything in moderation” when choosing one of these options.Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate – A bar that is at least 70% cacao is a healthy option that is full of antioxidants. Just limit yourself to a few squares.

Coconut Oil – This healthy fat can add flavor to your foods. Try it in your morning coffee in place of sugar. It acts as a sweetener and provides you with an energy boost.fruit

Fruit – Whole and dried fruits are a great way to eat something sweet while still consuming healthy fibers and nutrients.

Liquorice Tea – It tastes like the candy but will also balance your blood sugar and cortisol levels which should prevent a craving.

Carrot Sticks – An excellent snack that also serves as a source of beta-carotene and is known to lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health. You can also dip them in hummus to make them taste even better.Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes – This starchy but sweet vegetable will help satisfy your hunger and hinder the need for additional snacking.

Beets – This sweet vegetable tastes great and also fights off inflammation which is the cause of conditions such as migraines, arthritis, and heart disease.

Chia Seeds – A great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as other nutrients this water-absorbing fiber will feed your hunger. Chia Seed Pudding is a great dessert choice.Cinnamon

Cinnamon – This spice is known to regulate blood sugar levels which will reduce your cravings. Try adding cinnamon to sugar-free applesauce or on half a banana with crushed nuts.

Nut Butter – Almond or cashew butter gives you that sweet taste. You’ll also be selecting a healthy fat and protein option.

I do occasionally still reach for a cookie or other sweet treat, but the options above have helped me to make healthier choices and curb my sugar cravings.

Is there a healthy snack you opt for when you have a sugar craving coming on? Do you like a healthy recipe that is low in sugar or sugar-free?  Share your tips and comments with us below.

Walk and Talk: Meet Bob – Living Proof Walking Is Great Exercise

I’d like to introduce you to Bob. Bob is technically 85 but insists he feels 35. Bob is inspiring and determined. Bob has walked every day since he started with Walker Tracker back on June 12, 2006. Throughout the past 11 ½ years, he has averaged just shy of 8,000 steps a day (7,728 to be exact)! Bob is a big fan of Walker Tracker and we are big fans of him! Recently, I got the chance to meet Bob in person and go on a walk with him through his hometown’s huge flea market that happens every month in Canton, TX.

As we walked and weaved through the stands and vendors I learned that Bob hasn’t always been so healthy and active. In fact, he says he weighs less at 85 than he did in the 6th grade. Despite working in the steel industry and military he remained a big guy for the majority of his life. His blood pressure was 204/105 at one point and he wasn’t feeling like his best self. It wasn’t until one of his highly active stepsons was nearly killed in a cycling accident in 2004 that he had the epiphany that he needed to get moving. He said to himself, “Where will I be in five years if I keep eating and drinking the way I am? I’ll be dead. I said one of my sayings, ‘you can’t do everything but you can do something!’ and I asked myself, what can I do? Well, I can walk!”. Bob hopped online (yes, he is by far the most technically savvy 80 something year old I have ever met) and searched for websites where you can track steps and that’s where Walker Tracker came in.

He happened upon Walker Tracker in its infancy and has praised the site and even promoted it on his own blog – beefitbob.com (did I mention he’s super technically savvy?!).

You can't do everything but you can do something. What can I do? I can walk!Since he began his journey he’s lost over 100 pounds and his blood pressure is down in the 90’s/50’s. He started doing 5K’s, 10K’s and even went to the state capital and had his hometown of Canton, TX declared the ”Walking Capital of Texas”. He’s become a motivational speaker and advocate for health and wellness in his area. He walks the walk and talks the talk. In fact, he even walked to the market to meet up with me! The biggest take away from our time together was “start small”. You may not be able to do everything but you can do something. So figure out what that something is. Is it drinking more water and less soda? Is it replacing chips with an apple for a snack? Is it registering an account at community.walkertracker.com so you can track your steps just like Bob? Start small and once you’ve made that action a habit, figure out your next something.

Try to dampen that ever-impulsive need for instant gratification as much as you can. So often if we do not see instant results we abandon what we were doing. Much of the things that are “worth it” take time and hard work. As Bob might say, the path to health and wellness is a marathon. You’ve got to be in it for the long haul and it takes training and discipline but once you’re there in the thick of it, and you find your cadence and what works for you it gets easier and enjoyable. It’s never too late to start! Take it from a guy who started in his 70’s and is still going strong almost 12 years later! Thanks for walking with us Bob and sharing your story!

Make sure to visit Bob’s website beefitbob.com to find out what WAFOWASL means and join Walker Tracker at community.walkertracker.com to join Bob and many others in a fun place where your success can be celebrated and quantified!

2018 Gift of Walking Winners!

Gift of WalkingWe’re fantastically overwhelmed by all of the great submissions for the 2018 Gift of Walking Donation Program. It was a difficult decision to make, but we did it. Please join me in congratulating our winner:

Community Counseling Solutions


They stood out to us for a few reasons. First, our missions are in alignment; we’re both dedicated to improving the well-being of people and have placed a focus on community.

CCS’s mission statement: “Proving dynamic, progressive, and diverse supports to improve the well-being of our communities”.


Second, their submission letter deeply resonated with us, here’s a bit about what they do:

“Community Counseling Solutions (CCS) is a non profit agency that provides community based Mental Health, Addictions and Developmental Disability services across four counties in Oregon. These four counties are very rural and we have to be creative when it comes to wellness. CCS has recently implemented an agency wide wellness program and I am fortunate enough to be a part of the committee that develops the challenges that are offered to our staff.”


Third, they’d like to grow the program and organize community challenges in the future. They’re already thinking about how to pay it forward. Inclusivity is one of our core values and we’re excited to honor it and support CCS’s goal.

“We would like to incorporate this initially among our staff but eventually tie this into something much bigger where we are able to develop and organize community challenges. Integrating physical health into services we already provide present the opportunity to reduce the stigma that surrounds addictions, mental health and developmental disabilities. CCS is very diverse and progressive when it comes to the services we provide and I feel like the Walker Tracker program would be a natural fit into what we provide within our communities. Please consider CCS as your nonprofit agency for the 2018 Walker Tracker Gift of Walking Program.”


CCS is the recipient of a free Activity Challenge on any one of Walker Trackers virtual map routes! Congratulations! We are proud to walk with you.

Destination Vacation ChallengeThat’s not all, folks! We’re offering a free seat in a challenge to all nominees! All eligible nominated organizations for the 2018 Gift of Walking Challenge have been invited to join the Destination Vacation Challenge in April.


Thank you all for your submissions, for everything you do, and for inspiring us!

150 Billion Steps

That's really a lot of steps

As of yesterday, Walker Tracker tracked its 150 billionth step, or the equivalent 75,000,000 million miles.

I am really proud of this, and proud of every one of our members who’ve joined us in the journey.

So what does that mean? Collectively we’ve just about walked the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Other, direct impacts are a little trickier to measure, though we can certainly infer a tremendous net-good.

Here’s what we know about our members:

  • We know our members have been active. They’ve increased their health, improved their circulation. They’ve fended off heart disease and diabetes.
  • They’ve cut their medical costs. They’ve lost weight. They’ve regained the ability to do things they weren’t able to before.
  • They’ve driven less. In car-mileage terms, they’ve put about 41 thousand tons less  Carbon Dioxide into the air, or about the equivalent of two hundred thousand trees. Seriously, that’s amazing.
  • They’ve engaged with their neighborhoods more, chatted with workmates and neighbors and friends as they walked, which have yielded improvements to their happiness and social cohesiveness. They’ve altered their routines. Maybe some have had their lives changed.
  • They’ve improved their brains. Boosted their mood. Improved their memory. Enhanced their creativity.  A few profound ideas have surely been had; lightning strikes of inspiration only possible from the most basic and wonderful of ambulatory motions.

Congratulations to every one of you who put in the extra step. That’s a lot to be proud of.


Butternut Squash Soup – Winter Comfort Food

Butternut Squash SoupDuring the winter months, warm meals become extra comforting. Here is a quick butternut squash soup recipe for you all to try at home. It is one of my personal favorites, and is perfect to pair with a green salad or roasted veggies. This recipe is from Wellness Mama.

Ingredients you will need (6-8 servings):
•  1 butternut squash
•  1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
•  1 cup chicken or veggie stalk (plus more to thin soup of needed)
•  1 sweet onion
•  2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
•  Salt and pepper to taste
•  ½ teaspoon garlic
•  ½ teaspoon nutmeg
•  A sprinkle of thyme

1. Cut top and bottom off of butternut squash and use knife to carefully cut remaining skin off.
2. Cut in half and scoop out seeds (they are great roasted!)
3. Chop squash into small cubes and dice onion.
4. In a large stock pot, melt the butter and add diced onion.
5. Saute 3 minutes until starting to soften and add squash.
6. Saute an additional 5 minutes until squash starts to brown.
7. Add coconut milk, stock, and spices and bring to simmer.
8. Simmer about 20 minutes until soft.
9. Use a blender or hand blender to puree until smooth.
10. Serve warm or make ahead to reheat for a fast meal addition.