Destination Walking

Now, I know that walking can be redundant and can get old pretty quick especially if you’re walking in a circle around a track or the same ol’ route everyday throughout your neighborhood. These routes can be helpful for you to know the distance you’ve travelled and see if you’re making better time but seeing the same things day in and day out can make you start to detest the idea of strapping those tennis shoes on and getting out there. Why not make your walk an adventure? Why not walk to a place you’ve never been before? I like to call this, “Destination Walking”, sometimes known as hiking. Don’t get overwhelmed with that word HIKING, that is the exact reason why I say “Destination Walking”.

I’m talking one of those places you’ve probably always wanted to go but you just never make time. Well now is the time! Summer is arriving in the Northern Hemisphere and that place you have always wanted to go to is blossoming and calling to you. Take time out of your weekends and pick a place to go and see. Bring your loved ones, water and a camera. Don’t have an idea of somewhere nearby that you might want to go? Check out your local Parks and Recreation website for trails. They’ll give you information on how to get to your destination of choice, history, pictures and current information on whether it’s open and what amenities your trail of choice has to offer.

Seeing as we are based out of Portland, Oregon here is the site for the Parks and Recreation page to seek out a trail/park by area or what you might like to do. My personal favorite is Forest Park that spoils those who wander with the green beauty that the Pacific Northwest is known for.

Forest Park Forrest Park

See what I mean? Your walks can become very rewarding if you just step out of your comfort zone. Get to know your city and state through walking and make the most of it by sharing it will someone else.

Happy Walking!

Tips, Tricks and Benefits to Exercising with a Pal

Partnership is an important aspect not only in the workplace and home but also when it comes to exercise. It is a known fact that 60% of people prefer to workout on their own but there is still that 35-40% who like the idea of collaboration. In a study conducted by Stanford research unveiled that having a person or group that you check in with at least once a week can increase your exercise time by up to 78% over the course of a year! This check in can be either through email, phone, meetings, websites or working out together.

A few tips, tricks and benefits to partnerships are below:

1. Choose someone with a similar fitness goal as yours. If you’re trying to lose 30 lbs and your partner only needs to lose 10, it can be discouraging if they hit their goal before you. You may end up feeling like you’re holding them back or get frustrated that your weight loss or fitness level isn’t being achieved fast enough.

2. Find someone you have something in common with besides just exercise. Perhaps it’ll be your shared love of the outdoors, your kids, a love of sports or travel. These things will keep you looking forward to seeing each other the next time and help develop a sense of comradery.

3. A partnership drastically decreases in excuses not to exercise. It’s hard knowing you’re letting someone down and that means that it will be harder to cancel on a workout.

4. You’ll be more likely to try new things with someone. Never rock climbed before? Pairing up with someone who has or even going in with both of you clueless gives you the advantage of not being so scared. Perhaps even make it a goal that when you get together with someone you try something new or go somewhere new.

5. Group classes are included in the partnership category! If you go to a class several times you’ll likely meet and bond with people from that class. This means that you’ll have already found someone with a common interest, most likely a common fitness level, it’s a chance to try a workout you’ve always wanted and once you get going people will start holding you accountable for showing up and heck, you might even really enjoy showing up!

No matter if you prefer exercising solo, as a duo or in a class, just make sure you have someone to check in with. They can be your inspiration for when you are just not feeling it, you can take pride in being theirs or just the mere thought of uttering the words, “I didn’t get to the gym/run/class this week”, has a great affect on whether you’ll stick with your routine. Even if you do stick with it on your own having someone to share that with will keep you going longer and stronger. So partner up and get moving!

Walking Back to Happiness

“The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.” -Charles Dickens

During a huge life change, which was causing stress, which was in turn causing insomnia, which was in turn causing depression, I confessed to my doctor that I was getting desperate and was willing to try anything to get some sleep. My doctor very pragmatically, somewhat drily, recommended that I start taking a 45 minute walk every day. So easy-peasy I thought he must be pulling my leg. But he insisted that a brisk and, in his words, “mindful” walk would reset my brain. He didn’t get into all the sciencey business about increasing the brain’s production of endorphins and its analgesic effect on pain or that odd sense of well-being in the mind serotonin can provoke. He just said “Walk. And pay attention while you’re walking.”

Boy, was that sound advice. I’ve noticed since, that while every walk is a little different, when I walk at work a three stage pattern has emerged. First, my brain natters on nervously about a million small things: emails I need to answer, scheduling changes, follow-up conversations I need to have, the prioritization of every task before me, my calendar.  Next, I shift into longer thoughts and untangle larger problems.  I’m able to have what sounds more and more like a productive conversation with myself. I feel a little more confident and much less worried. And finally, and this is why I walk on my lunch hour, I stop fretting about work all together, my head clears and I return, dare I say it, happier.

As it turns out, a happy brain is a creative and productive thing. There is so much out there on positive psychology and the effects it has on a company’s success that I was overwhelmed when I started looking into it. Happy people collaborate better, stay calmer in a crisis, are more creative, more motivated, less inclined to make errors that are the end result of worrying about making errors.  And the end results are quantifiable not just anecdotal. In an article for the Harvard Business Review blog, Shawn Anchor cited a 2008 study by Gallup Healthways that shows that employees who score low in “life satisfaction,” stay home an average of 1.25 more days a month than those employees who score high. That’s 15 days of lost productivity! Other research at gallup indicates retail companies with a high “employee life satisfaction” are able to increase revenue by up to $21 PER SQUARE FEET. This is all important bottom line stuff for managers and leaders to address. But the most relevant bottom line for the individual is that we do better when we feel better. And we feel better when we get out and walk.

Anchor, S. “Positive Intelligence.” Retrieved from http://hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence/ar/1

(by guest blogger/newsletterist Allisa Cherry)

Humans are born to stroll

“If people want to be healthier and prolong their life span, all they really need to do is go for a walk. It’s the single easiest thing anyone can do.”

– Gretchen Reynolds, Author of The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer

“Two-thirds of Americans get no exercise at all. If one of those people gets up and moves around for 20 minutes, they are going to get a huge number of health benefits, and everything beyond that 20 minutes is, to some degree, gravy.”

While weight-loss is certainly an important aspect of an exercise program, she stresses that it should by far not be the only consideration:

“If someone starts an exercise program and improves his fitness, even if he doesn’t lose an ounce, he will generally have a longer life and a much healthier life. It would be nice if people would look at exercise as a way to make themselves feel better and live longer and not necessarily as a way to make themselves skinnier.”

Regarding being sedentary (ie: an office job) , she has this to say:

“I really do stand up at least every 20 minutes now, because I was spending five or six hours unmoving in my chair. The science is really clear that that is very unhealthy, and that it promotes all sorts of disease. All you have to do to ameliorate that is to stand up. You don’t even have to move. I’m standing up right now as I talk on the phone. I stand during most of my interviews now.”

 

Read the rest of the interview at the ever-great ‘Well’ blog at the NYT:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/the-surprising-shortcut-to-better-health/

 

Invite walked-across-the-U.S. Matt Green to come speak

I just received an email from Matt Green, who just recently finished a 157 day walk across America.

He has given a few talks on his experience and says he’s been getting great feedback. I think it’s a tremendous thing he’s done, and I would imagine the kind of things you could bring back from a walk of that length would be very much worth hearing. His talk is largely based around his experiences on that trip. A couple of lessons he felt were most vital are:

  1. The world is a far kinder and less scary place than we’re told, and
  2. There is so much beauty around us, often right in front of our eyes, that we take for granted.

I’ve got a few talks lined up for 2011, but I’d love to add more, so if you know of a group that might be interested in having me do a presentation (anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes), please let me know.

Sounds like something I’d love to hear. Drop Matt a line. His site is: http://imjustwalkin.com/

Walk More…

Great sign!

Via we love typography

Matt Green walked across America in 152 days

Matt Green - imjustwalkin.com

I just happened to be driving back from the Oregon Coast on Highway 6, out of Tillamook, and saw Matt Green on the side of the road pushing a cart. I had no idea it was Matt Green at the time. I admit we shared a quick chuckle in the car because it appeared to be someone who had quite possibly chosen the worst possible place to vend something in recorded history (on the accelerating side of a hair pin turn, with a sign too small to read at our velocity). (update: Apparently the sign says ‘we may never meet again’)

I wish I’d known – he’s had an impressive adventure.

Check out imjustwalkin.com to read about his 152 day walk across N. America. From New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

I especially enjoyed his ‘long version’ of why he’s doing it, which quotes from Steinbeck’s Cannery Row:

Once when Doc was at the University of Chicago he had love trouble and he had worked too hard. He thought it would be nice to take a very long walk. He put on a little knapsack and he walked through Indiana and Kentucky and North Carolina and Georgia clear to Florida. He walked among farmers and mountain people, among the swamp people and fishermen. And everywhere people asked him why he was walking through the country.

And then he goes on to say some lovely things, such as:

But perhaps the thing I find most important about walking is how connected it makes me feel to the space I’m passing through. I think it’s because walking is the way we experience our homes. We walk to the fridge, we walk to bed, we walk around the yard. We walk to the copy machine, we walk to the coffee machine, we walk around the grocery store. So this is that same familiar stride, that most basic form of locomotion we know so well, but through vast, immense, unknown places. It’s a way to live a continuous line across the country as if it were my home.