dog

Love to walk!

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“All walking is discovery. On foot we take the time to see things whole.” -Hal Borland

I love to walk, especially in the early mornings on a beautiful day with my dog, Buddy.  Walking is my favorite way to get my daily exercise.  I do not listen to music when I am walking, rather I love to hear the sound of the birds and the rustle of leaves from a gentle breeze.  I talk with my dog.  I talk to God. This is my peaceful, therapeutic time just for me.

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Based on research studies, walking on a regular basis has the following health benefits:
Regular physical activity, such as walking, can also make you feel better, because it:
  • Helps keep your bones, muscles, and joints healthy
  • Reduces anxiety and depression, boosting your mood
  • Helps you handle stress
  • Helps you feel more energetic
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Improves your self-esteem
  • Gives you an opportunity to socialize actively with friends and family.

This is my favorite walking partner, Buddy, as a puppy four years ago:

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Pretty cute, huh?

Unbelievably, this little guy walks me!  During our walks we engage in a variety of walking from stopping for potty moments, leisure walking and definitely brisk walking.  Our usual walking dates are about 45 minutes.

This is Buddy now, still a small guy, but boy can he scoot!Image

Beginning to Walk
If you struggle to exercise each day, why not try walking?  Start slowly if you are not active now. Try to walk 5 minutes a day for the first week. Walk 8 minutes the next week. Stay at 8-minute walks until you feel comfortable. Then increase your walks to 11 minutes. Slowly lengthen each walk by 3 minutes, or walk faster.  I find that if I walk 30-45 minutes daily I feel just fabulous.  Additionally, the stiffness and aching from my arthritis lessens dramatically when I regularly move and walk.
Some other tips for walking include the following:
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes with a lot of support, including proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick, flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb shock. If you walk frequently, you may need to buy new shoes often. You may wish to speak with a podiatrist about when you need to purchase new walking shoes.
  • Wear garments that prevent inner-thigh chafing, such as tights or spandex shorts. Also wear clothes that will keep you dry and comfortable. Look for synthetic fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
  • Make walking fun by walking with a friend, family member or pet. Walk in places you enjoy, like a park or shopping mall.  Scenery makes a walk joyous and refreshing.
  • Choose a safe place to walk. Find a partner or group of people to walk with you.
  • Wear a knit cap in winter for extra warmth. To stay cool in summer, wear a baseball cap or visor.
  • Think of your walk in three parts. Warm up by walking slowly for five minutes. Then increase your speed and do a fast walk. Finally, cool down by walking slowly again for five minutes.
  • Do light stretching before and after your walks to warm-up, loosen up and cool-down.
  • Try to walk at least three times per week. Each week, add two or three minutes to your walk. If you walk fewer than three times per week, you may need more time to adjust before you increase the pace or frequency of your walk.
  • Start gradually to avoid stiff or sore muscles and joints. Over several weeks, begin walking faster, going farther, and walking for longer periods of time.
  • Set goals and rewards. Some examples of goals are participating in a fun walk or walking continuously for 30 minutes.
  • Keep track of your progress with a walking journal or log.
Pear-Tree-Street
(Hawthorne tree-lined streets in our neighborhood from yesterday.)
The more you walk, the better you may feel and the more calories you may burn. Experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. If you cannot do 30 minutes at a time, try walking for shorter amounts and gradually working up to it.
Always be aware of your surroundings and if you walk at dawn, dusk, or night, wear a reflective vest or brightly colored clothing.
Stretch gently after you warm up your muscles with an easy five-minute walk and again after you cool down. Try doing the following stretches. Do not bounce or hold your breath when you stretch. Perform slow movements and stretch only as far as you feel comfortable.
Some nice stretches I do before and after my walk I have listed for you:
Side Reach
Reach one arm over your head and to the side. Keep your hips steady and your shoulders straight to the side. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Wall Push
Lean your hands on a wall with your feet about three to four feet away from the wall. Bend one knee and point it toward the wall. Keep your back leg straight, with your foot flat and your toes pointed straight ahead. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Knee Pull
Lean your back against a wall. Keep your head, hips, and feet in a straight line. Pull one knee to your chest, hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Leg Curl
Pull your right foot to your buttocks with your right hand. Stand straight and keep your knee pointing straight to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your left foot and hand.
Hamstring
Sit on a sturdy bench or hard surface so that your left leg is stretched out on the bench with your toes pointing up. Keep your right foot flat on the floor. Straighten your back, and when you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh, hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your right leg. If you do not yet feel a stretch, lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch.
walking-benefits
The best part of my walk yesterday was loading up my jacket pockets with a few samples from neighborhood trees!  Most of our neighbors have fruit trees in their front yards or overflowing to the walkway paths from their back yards.
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(Mandarin orange tree)
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(Avocado tree)
Wishing you a beautiful week filled with walking!  Enjoy the early spring blossoms!
Wendy

My joy!

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This is Buddy.  He is my dog.  He is now four years old.  Full grown he weighs 6 pounds even.  No ounces.  Buddy is half Chihuahua (his father) and half Maltese (his mother).  He survived the Parvovirus as a puppy when he weighed only 1 pound, 8 ounces.  He fought for his life at 1 pound, 2 ounces.  He lived because of much prayer and great love.  Truly, he is a living miracle.

I just wanted to share with you one of the most precious things in my life!  He is my daily therapy, my inspiration, my joy.

Keep Choosing Consistency and pet a puppy today,

Wendy