Chubb's Walk

Happy Healthy Pets

Category: Walking (Page 1 of 2)

I Think; I’ll Walk

I like to walk every morning.  I have written often of the physical benefits derived from walking.  These gains comprise a list too long to cover in a single article or blog post, and I intend to cover some of the individual advantages in upcoming posts, but today I would speak to the emotional and cerebral rewards gained through time spent in motion.

I have been in North Carolina for the past four months spending time with my son and three grandchildren.  I have cherished this time with them but find that my opportunities for the long walk through nature, an integral part of my writing process, are severely impeded.  There are places to walk here, but as a lifelong resident of Oregon I have found the heat and humidity here to be daunting in my attempts to walk regularly.  My schedule does not allow for the early morning walks that might preclude the oppressive heat, and the evenings are only now, near the end of my stay, cooling enough to allow the occasional evening walk.

Walk

Walk to relieve stress and let your mind soar.

In Oregon I would walk every morning with my best friend, a lab mix named Chubby, in preparation for the writing day.  During this time I could lose myself in the natural settings while praying, meditating, and working through the thoughts and ideas for the writing that would follow.  This mobile quiet time invariably leads to several lines of thought from which I could find a starting point for the day’s work.  My production is limited only by the time that I allowed myself to write.

Here at Fort Bragg, with my schedule with the children precluding these early morning brainstorming sessions, I have found that the writing comes much harder and I am more willing to turn to all of the other chores and pursuits that pull at me rather than struggling through the painful process of dragging subjects from a mind not primed through ambling inspiration.

I find myself dreaming of the time that I can once again stroll through the towering Douglas firs and along wild streams in the chill of a Northwest dawn.

Walk; Relieve stress

A morning walk serves to set the mood for the rest of the day.  No matter what tasks await you, an early morning hike can make you more productive throughout the day.

A walk can remove the stress felt for the job ahead.  If you have left over anger or depression from the previous day it soothes your frayed nerves and resets your emotional equilibrium.  It eases depression and anxiety.  It stimulates your problem-solving capability.  It can move you closer to your true purpose, re-focusing your vision of the future.  You are more inclined to accept your shortcomings and of those whom you encounter.

The morning walk is not the only way to benefit mentally.  A walk in the evening is a wonderful way to release the stress and frustrations of a difficult day, renewing your spirit and preparing you for a restful sleep and preparing you to meet a new day with enhanced vigor.   A peaceful night can free your subconscious mind to problem-solve and present you with solutions upon awakening.

Walking is the easiest, most natural method that you will encounter for controlling the stress endemic in our busy lives.  No matter what the approaching day entails, walking with your thoughts will clarify and simplify the solutions that you seek.

The physical health promoted by daily hikes will serve to enhance your mental acuity as well.  A healthy body promotes a healthy mind, and, as previously mentioned, the physical benefits from walking are copious.

Get out and walk daily.  It is the cheapest and most effective therapy that you can find.

To find some good nature walks to boost your creativity and reduce your stress try the link below:

http://alltrails.com/

Walk From Fat to Fitness

We hear a lot about how fat American’s have become.  We are an obese nation, sitting on our butts and gorging on fast food and deep fry.  Big Macs and Pizza and beer and seventy inch big screen TV’s have rendered us inactive blobs of flesh sitting and waiting for heart attacks and strokes.

For a while we played with the fitness craze, buying lifetime memberships at trendy gyms re-branded as health clubs, but no matter how many fancy weight machines or incarnations of the exercise bike that they placed beside hot tubs and saunas, they could hold our interest for only so long.  The workouts still required work and the health foods that they promoted still tasted like cardboard and sawdust.  As soon as the “lifetime memberships” fled with the fitness club’s name changes we flew back to our couches and our reruns, seldom to return.

As a result, we set aside those fanciful dreams of six-pack abs and Hulk Hogan biceps, the hour-glass figures and rock hard butts and tuned in to a growing slate of (un)reality shows that let us know that we were not more flawed than our neighbors and in fact may hold the higher moral ground.  For the next twenty years we remained glued to our cable enabled TVs and thus to our ever more plush couches.  Potatoes we became.

Now we find ourselves, decades later, silvered and rounded.  Not well, just rounded.  Well rounded would be us had we stayed in the gym.  Here we sit still, heart attacks and strokes in waiting disguised as baby boomers, finding now that we must continue to drag our decrepit bodies to diminishing jobs for diminishing pay for longer than expected in an attempt to replace our diminished retirement funds and savings we had counted on for our final years of corpulent comfort.

I don’t mean to be a complete purveyor of doom and gloom for our generation, however.  I bring with this bleak picture a caveat; a message of renewal, of reversal and regeneration.

We can walk our way out of this predicament.

Seriously.

Health concerns at the age of 49 facilitated a heightened interest in creating a healthier lifestyle for me and my loved ones, including dietary changes and research into the value of exercise.  I had fallen into a routine devoid of any organized workouts and so the changes needed were dependent upon finding a way to make my path to better health one that would allow me to ease my way back to fitness.  Jumping into a rigorous regimen of exercises, I knew from past attempts, would doom my efforts to failure.  I needed a way to saunter back into health, relatively painless, with a strong upside, but not daunting enough to deter a chronic couch potato like myself.

Walking was the ideal start.

Most of us can walk.  In fact, after years of experience we can all claim a certain amount of expertise in this common but amazingly beneficial activity.  This makes it an excellent place to begin a path to fitness and health.  Barring major disability, walking for health will merely mean increasing an activity that everyone participates in on a daily basis.  The benefits are not only surprising to most, but are in fact astounding.

Following is a list of the most universal gains that an increase in your steps per week will provide.  In coming posts I will explore the various studies and personal experience that lend credence to these claims.

I make no exaggeration when I say that walking is the ultimate “get rich quick scheme” for improved health that you will find that is not a scam.

Immediate benefits include:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced Cholesterol
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Reduced risk of stroke
  • reduced risk of cancer and return of certain cancers
  • Prevention and control of type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthening of the heart
  • Memory improvement/better cognitive function
  • Lower risk of dementia
  • Alleviates depression (as much as 47%)
  • Weight loss/maintenance
  • Improved fitness/build muscle strength
  • Better endurance
  • Increases circulation, boosting oxygen delivery throughout the body which slows the aging process
  • Disability prevention in the elderly
  • Increase of motivation and  self-satisfaction
  • Helps you sleep better which studies show help you to live longer
  • Increases ability to relax
  • Reduces reliance on medications
  • Improved sexual satisfaction
  • Increased vitamin D production when walking in sunshine, which lowers cancer rates, risk of death, and risk of osteoporosis in people over 50.

The list of benefits goes on and on, and all of this from an activity that we have been doing for nearly all our lives.  You gain all of these benefits by simply increasing your speed and the number of steps that you take.  I can personally attest to the effectiveness of including a brisk walk in your routine.  Many of the benefits on this list have been measurably effective in my quest to delay and even reverse some of the ravages of father time.

walking for fitness

Walk your way to fitness and health.

For your own sake, for your satisfaction of life, for the sake of those who love you, give it a try.  Find a nice route and start walking.  Push your pace and increase your steps.  Let’s show those that are calling our generation the black hole of healthcare that we can walk with pride into a bright and healthy future.

Here are some good resources for more information on how and where to go walking.

http://www.50plus-fitness-walking.com/walking-style.html

http://www.medicinenet.com/walking/page3.htm

http://alltrails.com/

Walking Again

A walk is best with a buddy.

Thank goodness for fall!  Finally we get nice crisp mornings that are ideal for early walks along trails with dew-moistened grass and brown leaves crunching beneath your feet.  The chill in the air hastens your steps and the clean air opens your eyes to the wonderfully changing nature of the life around you.  The wildlife sounds fresh as they come to life after the lengthening nights.

For those of us who once again began our efforts to get into shape last spring, only to find that we failed to account for age, condition, or the mental and emotional strength needed for such an endeavor this season is the beginning of a renewed effort to look the best that we have in years… for next summer.  Having learned from experience that waiting until March or May to begin is an increasingly blatant overestimation of our aging ability for recuperation we can embark this fall on an ever so slightly graduated program that should, by next summer, have us in the best shape that our expanding countenances can allow.

Go walking every day.  Increase the amount you walk occasionally, and try to increase your pace.  I have seen advice to walk as fast as allows you to engage in a normal conversation without breathing hard, although other advice that I have read would indicate that adding a more aerobic aspect such as elevating your breathing and heart-rate would be beneficial as well.

I do know from my research in nutrition that fat needs extra blood supply which means increasing the vascular network, which is a product of aerobic exercise and perhaps that would be the reason for the advice not to speed up to the point of aerobic promotion.  It all depends upon your main reasons for walking.  If weight loss is the main goal then I suppose you would not want to be adding vascular capacity so much as just walking to burn calories.  In that case you would probably want to walk briskly but not to a point of increasing your rate of breathing.

If, on the other hand, your main goal is in increasing toning and endurance you may want to walk more briskly and even alternate between jogging or running and walking.  In this case, if you have not been exercising on a regular basis you will be best served by starting off slowly and gradually increasing your speed and distance.

Whatever your goal for walking, the fall is an ideal time for it, with the changing colors and the birds migrating noisily overhead.  You really owe it to your health, as well as your mindset, to get out and walk.

Our country is in the midst of an obesity epidemic that seems insurmountable, but the answer is right there at our feet.  We can walk our way out.

Here is an excellent resource to find hiking trails in your area:

been exercising on a regular basis you will be best served by starting off slowly and gradually increasing your speed and distance.

Whatever your goal for walking, the fall is an ideal time for it, with the changing colors and the birds migrating noisily overhead.  You really owe it to your health, as well as your mindset, to get out and walk.

Here is an excellent resource to find hiking trails in your area.

http://alltrails.com/my/home

Turn it off

Life just gets busier and busier.  Our gadgets promise to simplify our lives, making us more efficient, but more and more we become devoted to those gadgets, allowing them to dominate and even to run our lives.  Just keeping up has become nearly a full-time occupation.  As soon as most of us can afford the latest innovations they are already obsolete and we are left to long for and chases the next big thing.  Who now can function without their i pad or their iPhone or droid or their home entertainment all in one system or their intelligent appliances?  We are at their mercy.  Who doesn’t know the frustration of the cell phone battery that won’t hold a charge, the laptop whose display fails, or the internet connection goes down in a storm?

Somewhere in all of this the idea that this technology is intended to ease our lives and reduce our anxiety has been lost.  We make and lose friends online that we never meet.  The most atrocious things are rampant in the anonymity of the web.  Lies are repeated until they become truths.  Rumors spread by faceless bloggers and those who want the attention but not the consequences of their words.

Many of us have become so wrapped up in this pursuit of a utopian future that we forget that all that we need to be fulfilled and content rests not in the things that we surround ourselves with, but the things that are within us.  We forget to take the time to connect with that which moves us, that which sustains us.

It is important to take the time during our frantic efforts to keep up with this rapidly moving world to reflect upon what it is that truly moves us, what fuels our desire to go on.

When I sit in the woods by a stream, or walk in a meadow of wildflowers I can see the reflection in God’s eye.  I can feel Him in the variety of miracles that surround me.  The old saying goes “the devil is in the details.”  When you get out into nature, you see that it is God that is in the details.  The fragile yellow flowers, like colorful lace, growing in the shadow of the huge cedar tree.  The song of the creek as background for the rustle of the wind through plush ferns and the songbirds that add their punctuating fervor.

It is important to turn off the gadgets once in a while, just so you can hear some of God’s gadgetry and to marvel at the complexity and the simplicity of His creation.  It is good for the body; it is good for the mind; it is great for the soul.

Happy hiking.

Be Safe

It is the season for hiking and a little should probably be said about safety.  Earlier this morning I heard of a kayaker stranded for twelve hours in a river and another report of a 65-year-old man who stumbled on a trail and fell to his death down a sheer thirty food drop.  It seems that each day we hear a new report of an accident while someone was out enjoying the weather and the outdoors.

While you may be excited at the prospect of an adventure outdoors after a long winter trapped indoors by our insipid winter weather, care must be taken not to overestimate skills rendered rusty from un-use.

If you are heading out for some outdoor recreation some preparation is certainly called for.  One of the most basic yet most important steps is to understand the conditions that you will encounter.  Are rivers running high with snowmelt from the rise in temperatures?  Has there been sufficient sun to dry the trails or do they remain slick and treacherous?  What kind of conditions can you expect?  Though the days are warm, are the nights still dipping into uncomfortable extremes?  Preparation for the proper conditions can mean the difference between a successful outing or a trip to the hospital or worse.  As with any activity beyond your couch, there are safety considerations that, when properly addressed can facilitate a successful and enjoyable excursion into the wonders that surround us in our beautiful region in the NW.

Some friends and I are planning a hike at Silver Falls Park near Silverton this coming Saturday, June 23.  Photographers will be meeting at the South Falls around 7 am to catch the good morning light on the falls.  Two professional photographers are among the group and will likely be a fount of helpful hints for the amateurs among us.  At 11 am we will again meet at the South Falls to gather up the late-sleepers and continue with some good conversation and wonderful scenery.  There is some talk of a late lunch after at McMenniman’s in Wilsonville.

It should be a great time and all are welcome to join us.  The more the merrier.  There is a $5 day use fee at the park unless you have a season pass.  I hope to see you there.

Until next time;

SAFE AND HAPPY HIKING!!!

Walk a Little Faster

Just a reminder that, while just getting out and walking is an improvement over inactivity and gives you a multitude of benefits, physical, mental, and spiritual, the physical benefits of walking can be greatly magnified by just picking up the pace.  I have seen countless TV doctors (Dr.Oz, etc.) give the advice to walk for ten minutes each day as though you were late for an appointment.

Exercise works your muscles, converting fat cells to muscle in direct relation to the amount of work that you put in, but when you exercise you are also improving your cardio-vascular health as well, increasing the amount of oxygen available to fuel your body.  In order to increase your body’s access to the fuel that it needs you must bring elevate your heart rate for an extended period of five minutes or longer.  The longer you elevate your heart rate the more the benefit.

This does not mean that you should go out and run a marathon tomorrow.  Any exercise or training program needs to be taken in steps as you acclimate your body and mind to the added rigors of increased work out.

The next time that you are out for a stroll, pick up the pace a bit.  Ten Minutes, it’s a great start.  Your heart will thank you.

Till next time, keep walking.

Why I Walk

Walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise for many reasons.  It is easy to learn.  There are few steps involved (2) so it is easy to remember.  And walking requires no special equipment, but there is enough special equipment geared toward walking that, if you are one who is inclined to gimmicks or not, you can find your comfort level with the technology available to you.  In other words, walking is as simple and pure as you can get, but you can still feed your technology addiction to whatever level tickles your fancy.

I like to keep it simple.  I often use a walking stick as I find it useful to set my pace and to push away the errant vine or branch as I walk.  I less often take along some form of musical or spoken entertainment.  My walks are most often along forest trails or in parks and I prefer the sounds of nature around me to stimulate my thoughts and prepare me for a day of writing and carving.  I find my walks often are my muse, delivering ideas and a chance to refine them as I walk encased within the sounds of the woods.

My wife gave me a simple little pedometer that she had gotten from AARP and I have found that it helped me much in standardizing the length of my walks and I now have a much better idea of the distances that I walk, even when I have forgotten the pedometer.  My judgment of distance has greatly improved through use of the inexpensive little device.

Walking gives me a time when my body can be occupied while my mind soars and searches what boundaries can be pushed and what truths can be found when we explore the unknown depths that lie within us.

Walking gives me the quiet time that I need to connect with my Creator, to pray and to converse with God and to work through the internal conflicts and questionings that arise in even the calmest days.

Walking heals the mind and soothes the soul.  You cannot walk for long and remain angry.  Motion soothes.  Motion heals.  Motion sparks our pioneer spirit and pushes us to discover that which has been hidden to us.  When we move we change our perspectives and thus the way that we perceive our situation.

There is a need within us to move freely.  When we move our bodies we exercise our minds as well.  There is no downside to walking.

I walk because it moves me forward in so many ways.  When I walk a trail I normally wind up back where I began on the path, but I will never really be in the same place that I started.  When I walk, I walk into the future.

Wintertime Blues

As we go into the winter holiday season we enter a time that many find to be full of stress and sadness.  Studies have shown that weather related depression is a real and pervasive problem in many of our colder states. 

The holidays themselves, a time of joy and family to many, can be depressing and dangerous to those struggling with relationship problems or with the loss of someone close. 

The lack of sunshine can force the need for extra sources of vitamin D.  The weather discourages activity and exercise and the shortened days restrict our ability to accomplish our constantly increasing to-do lists. 

Without some kind of outlet for all the pent-up energy and frustration of the season, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed and underappreciated.

 

An excellent way to overcome the wintertime blues is to take regular walks. 

It’s cold out there, but if you dress appropriately there is still a world of wonders at your disposal. 

Walk after a rainstorm and revel in the cleanly washed and stark outline of the city, or the pristine and somber trees in the forest as they shed the dust and grit of the summer. 

Walk on a clear December day and breathe in the pure air, free of the pollen and dust of the summer.  Watch the undulating masses of birds as they navigate the stiff breezes and tricky currents overhead or the massive aerodynamic formations of geese as they flee the snows of Canada to rest and nest in warmer climes.

If you are a dog person, take in the furry confusion of wagging tails and excited barks at a dog park.  Exercise and a show.

There is so much to see this time of year, and a desperate need to appreciate it.  Get out and take it all in.  Your mood will be the better for it, and your health will follow suit. 

Do something for yourself this holiday season.

 

Take a hike.

Take A Hike

I haven’t been writing much lately, but I do keep on walking.  Walking and thinking go hand in hand, and I find that if I do not walk or if I drastically cut down the amount, I do not have the abundance of subjects that interest me and stimulate me to write and to share the insights that have occurred to me during my daily excursions. 

One of the differences that may have affected the volume of my writing is location.  During the nicer weather of summer I would usually walk for a couple of miles and then sit in the woods with my laptop or my pen and paper and write, sometimes for three or four hours, and I never seemed to run out of passion or subject matter to fuel my efforts.  Now, with the advent of the rain, which does not mix well with computers or, for that matter, writing tablets as well, and the unfortunate encounter that my dog, Chubbs, had with a young porcupine, we have taken to walking our three miles on a trail near our home and then coming home to write at my home office. 

Fortunately for Chubbs the porcupine was young with small quills.

As much as I try to make that office conducive to writing I just can’t make it as relaxing and inspiring as sitting out in the woods with the sound of the creek at my feet and the birds conversing in the trees. 

My dream is to move back into the country and live along a creek or river, or perhaps near a lake or a pond so that the dogs and I can go into the back yard and sit with the timeless sound of the water and the sweet hum of the forest to inspire me and I can write and the dogs can run free in the woods and then, in the afternoon, we can catch our dinner and then sit by the fire and enjoy a hearty meal and watch the Trailblazers game on the big screen. 

I have to keep writing to fulfill that dream.

I have to keep walking, too.  For inspiration, for health, and just to keep myself grounded and appreciating the beauty that God desired for us to live in as we work our way toward Him.  I have been promising to write more on the benefits and pleasures of walking every day, and I will fulfill that promise in the coming days.  I will give you some facts, health tips, recipes, and other related news that I believe will help you to realize how simple it is to improve your health and increase your awareness and enjoyment of the world around you.  I leave you with my new mantra, don’t take this wrong, but:

Take a hike.

Walk It Off, Part 2

One of the greatest threats to our health today is not cancer and it’s not heart attack or stroke.  These are, however, symptoms of this pervasive problem.  It is not a disease in itself, but is the breeding ground for countless diseases and afflictions suffered by modern man, and modern Americans in particular.  The problem has roots in the combination of a permissive society and the easy access to fulfillment of most of our physical needs.

Obesity is running roughshod throughout our modern society, fueled in part by our affluence and ability to easily find gratification without justification.  This ease of access leads to overconsumption, which then fuels a loss of a sense of self-reliance, which can lead to a lack of self-esteem, and in many cases to more overconsumption.  A loathsome circle is formed and our health is at risk.  Food is plentiful, but so much of what we eat is empty calories, pumped full of chemicals that we will finally learn about their harmful effects ten years from now when people begin growing a third eye or their nose falls off.  Then the lawyers will get involved and someone in the government bureaucracy will make a lot of money from the additive companies as Congress draws up new toothless regulations and that additive is pulled from the market and replaced with a new product that is ready to be tested on a massive scale, on us.  And as the economy tanks and the wars drag out and every aspect of our way of life comes under attack we just eat and eat and eat, because that is the only thing that we really can control anymore. 

At least they can’t tell you what and how much to eat.  Right?

Then why are you eating all that crap?  And why are you just sitting around, taking in everything that anyone wants to feed you, physically, mentally, and spiritually?  There is something very simple that you can do now, today, to make things a little better.  And if you will commit to doing this every day, or at least most days, Things will get a little better each day.

Take a hike!

No, seriously.  Go walking.  Walk every day.

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