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Your 90 Day Self Appreciation Plan

Your 90 Day Self Appreciation Plan

Let’s face it. We’ve all got good intentions regarding our health and wellness. But it seems like there is always something else to do, things to get done and places to be. We don’t have to look very far to find excuses and reasons to procrastinate when it comes to being more active and physically fit. Before we know it, months and years pass us by and we find ourselves less healthy than we’ve been in some time.

The more time that passes, the less fit we are and the harder it is to get started moving again. We also realize that we’ve lost confidence in ourselves in addition to strength and stamina. That makes it a lot easier to give up and go home when we know we should keep pushing through our exercise roadblocks

It seems like summer has flown by and we are running headfirst into fall. Here at Walkingspree, in south Texas, we are just hoping for temperatures below 90 but that’s another story. It is worth noting that one thing we all have in common, no matter what state we live in, is that fall routines are more, well… routine. So there will be new times and moments to create new beginnings for ourselves. This is our opportunity to create a new habit before colder winter days set in. That is key. Get that habit in place before the weather makes us think twice!

Your Personalized 90 Day Self Appreciation Plan

Let’s say that most people have at least 8 weeks, maybe twelve, before cold temperatures set in. In southern states, we have several months before we say it’s “too cold.” But everyone has at least 8-12 weeks.

Sure, you are always going to have your everyday responsibilities. Career, relationships, kids, life and all that goes with it. That’s why you have to look at your schedule and purposefully find that small window of time for you. Even if it means carving out just 20 minutes of your day. Put it on your calendar, enter it into your phone with a reminder. You have to put on a blindfold when it comes to all the other distractions that try to pull you away from that one small time frame set aside for you.

You also have to fight off your biggest enemy: Yourself. Don’t give in to the following (or similar) thoughts “I don’t feel good today.” Or “I’m just not in the mood.” Or “I’ll start tomorrow.” Or “Today was a really bad day, I’ll start when I feel more positive.” Or “I’m so tired. I just need to rest.”

Your own thoughts can be your biggest obstacle. Sometimes it helps to just visualize slamming a door on those thoughts as soon as you think them. Sure, counter it with a positive thought like “Walking gives me more energy, so I won’t be so tired so often.”  But definitely give yourself the mental picture of slamming a door on the negative thought and padlocking it. When you do that, you are also giving your brain the message that those thoughts are not welcome. In some ways, you will also be ‘training the brain’ while you are creating your new habit.

Set the time in your calendar for the next 90 days. Call it “Self Appreciation” or “Self-Improvement” instead of “exercise” or “working out” if those terms don’t inspire excitement in you. Create a start date and an end date. Even if it means you only choose to be more active three days a week for 20 minutes at a time. Chances are, after your first week or two of meeting your goals, you may choose to bump it up to four times a week. Starting small is perfectly alright.

Don’t Limit or Compare Yourself

Remember everyone is different and we all have to start at our own starting line. If you haven’t worked out or been active in quite some time, you’re starting line may look very simple. It may mean a 15-minute walk around the block with five minutes of stretching.  For someone else, the starting line might be a brisk 30-minute walk or a light jog along a favorite trail.

Stay Accountable

Call a friend (or a group of friends) to join you. Studies show that when people know there is someone waiting and counting on them to show up, they are more likely to stick to a fitness routine and see results.

Last, but not least, stay positive! This is not a contest or a race. This is about being healthy, happy and creating a habit. Habits don’t just ‘end’ like a race or a contest. They are meant to keep going and be a consistent part of your life. So, once your personalized 90 Day Self Appreciation Plan is complete, just start a new one. Personalize it some more. Add different activities and try new things. Or, simply keep improving on what you’ve already begun.

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12 Alternate Ways to Get Your Steps In

12 Alternate Ways to Get Your Steps In

1. Participate in a charity walk or fundraiser. You’ll benefit your own health while helping to benefit someone else, a community goal or other worthy cause. Numerous websites provide information about local walks and search features. Fitness Magazine provides a list of charity organizations that host walk/runs benefitting causes like curing Alzheimer’s Disease, breast cancer and ending domestic violence.

2. Go antiquing. Take a stroll through time and marvel at the things people used in the past. Many towns and cities have “antique districts.” Often, you’ll find shop after shop after shop all within walking distance.

3. Visit the zoo, an aquarium or play mini golf. You’d be surprised at how many steps accumulate as you stroll along, observe or participate.

4. Go to a museum or an art gallery. Check with your city and see if there are any new exhibits in town. Who knows? You may find a new interest you didn’t know you had!

5. Become a volunteer dog walker. We all know the majority of us aren’t getting enough steps in. This probably also means that dog owners aren’t out walking their dogs as much as would be optimal. Chances are, you know a few dog owners who love their dogs and would love for their furry friends to get out and enjoy a walk. You’ll get your steps in and make a dog’s day.

6. Visit a craft fair, farmer’s market or other outdoor show. Many towns and cities have something going on every weekend and often during the week as well, depending on the theme. Do an online search for local events or farmers’ markets in your area.

7. Attend a music fest, rodeo or other festival. Some of these types of events last for days. Austin, Texas’ popular SXSW festival usually runs for about 10 days. Attendees can purchase passes by the day or buy a pass for the entire event. Run a search for music fests in your area. Websites like Music Festival Wizard keep track of events nationally. Rodeos in large cities cover huge areas with booths, events and concerts. Lots of steps to get in at these events! Visit Everfest online to locate rodeos near you.

8. Go window shopping or visit an outlet mall. Make a promise you’ll walk the whole thing before stopping more than a few seconds and only then will you go back to browse in the store where you saw that ONE thing you needed! Visiting a new city and not sure where the malls are? Visit Outlet Bound to discover outlet malls near you.

9. Find a botanical garden, a hiking trail or local nature trail. Does your community offer a walk along a river that runs through town? Do you have a nature center in the area? What about a wildflower or Christmas tree farm that allows visitors to stroll through? The American Public Gardens Association offers a search feature to help you locate a variety of public gardens in your area.

10. Offer to visit people in the nursing home who are in wheelchairs. Seek permission to take the elderly out for a walk and offer to push wheelchairs.

11. Play a game like Pokemon Go with your kids and see how far you can walk while locating monsters like Pickachu.

12. Visit a local fort, mission or other landmark that requires you to walk around and observe it both inside and out. Offer to pick up litter at these or other historical places. Helping to keep your community and its landmark’s in great shape and looking clean not only helps your community and the environment but also gives you a sense of purpose while getting your steps in – further improving your own wellbeing!

*Our 12 steps were based on and adapted from the suggestions in 10,000 Steps a Day to Your  Optimal Health by celebrity fitness trainer, Greg Isaacs.

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Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

All over the country, people are suddenly exercising, going for walks, hikes and (gasp!) breaking out into a sweat. All of this, in search of Pokemon.

For those who are not familiar with this phenomenon, a Google search for Pokemon Go will tell you all you ever (and never) wanted to know but here’s a quick online explanation.

When it comes to reality games, there’s been research and data showing that players can become so involved they lose track of time and even of what’s going on around them. While this can be dangerous, (like the person who crashed his SUV into a cop car while playing Pokemon Go this past week), it can also have fitness benefits.

Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

  1. You ‘Forget’ that You Hate to Exercise.  If exercise isn’t really your thing, it helps when you can focus on something besides discomfort and exercise boredom. Instead, you’re excited about an activity that interests you.
  2. Bragging Rights. Participating in a walking challenge with your friends or through your employer? Don’t be surprised if you end up as the “Top Walker” on days that you are out hunting Pokemon.
  3. Social Interaction. Instead of staying inside watching tv, playing on the Xbox, your interest in the game causes you to get go outside, get fresh air and possibly run into others who are also playing Pokemon Go. Short conversations sharing a common interest can occur. You never know: you might make a new friend.
  4. Time Flies, More Steps. When you lose yourself in a reality game, you lose track of time and forget to keep checking how low you’ve been walking or how many steps you’ve taken.
  5. You Burn Calories. You can get so immersed in the game, you don’t notice you’re sweating, tired and more active than normal. More movement = more calories burned. Pokemon Go may seem like “just a fun game” but don’t forget, you can also use it as a fitness tool. If you practice good Pokemon Go safety habits, this can be a great way to get your steps in and be more active while using a Fitbit, Garmin or other activity tracker. If you are involved in a walking program or step challenge, Pokemon Go could be just the inspiration you need to get moving.With countless social media updates about preventing sore feet, tired legs and players burning more calories than normal, it’s easy to see why many people are claiming to walk more than they ever have before.

Want to incorporate Pokemon Go into a walking routine? Walkingspree clients have the option of setting up a Pokemon Go themed walking challenge. If your company isn’t a Walkingspree client yet, visit the Walkingspree website to learn more about how we use wearable tech, mobile apps and more to help employees be more active or share this article with your HR manager.

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Pokemon Go Safety Tips

Pokémon Go Safety Tips

The Pokémon Go craze doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Reports of people being robbed, falling off of cliffs and tales of landing in the ER while playing Pokémon Go are all over the media. One teenager found a dead body floating in a river while playing the game. Police have also reported a car accident where one driver exited a moving vehicle in order to catch a “monster.”

It’s no wonder police departments across the country are warning players in order to protect their safety.

Pokémon Go is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. History.  The game features an “augmented reality” experience where players find and catch Pokémon characters using their phone’s cameras. It looks like they are “hunting” in the real world.  Some players are letting their excitement outweigh their common sense when it comes to catching the “pocket monsters.”  In some cases, they are endangering their physical well-being and possibly their lives.

Pokémon Go related accidents and injuries have become so prevalent that law enforcement, other authorities and the National Parks Association have released practical cautions and warnings across the nation.

At Walkingspree, we believe that Pokémon Go can be a healthy way to get your steps in and be more active. The game may just be what it takes for some people to get up and get moving and that’s a good thing! We’ve seen that it inspires exercise; helping you to get up and go catch monsters. You’ll be getting sunshine and fresh air and if you are like many, you’ll be interacting with other people, possibly improving your social life. These are all encouraged healthy behaviors.  However, we also want everyone to be safe, take wise precautions and use common sense. Here are a few tips to help ensure a safe, fun experience with Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go Safety Tips

Stay alert ALWAYS. Look around. Be aware of who and what is around you.

Don’t play alone. Play with a partner or in a group. If after dark, stay in well-lit areas.

Parents should caution their children not to leave the house or go “hunting monsters” without telling them first. Warnings about not going off alone in unsafe or unfamiliar areas are also advised. Be aware that some young children might be tempted to hunt after dark or bedtime if not warned.

Don’t drive your car, motorcycle, bike, skateboard, hover board or even roller skate while you are playing the game. Be smart, you can’t safely do both at the same time.

No trespassing! Respect private property and don’t visit areas you wouldn’t normally (legally/safely) visit otherwise.

Remember: Don’t get so involved in catching a “monster” that you find yourself “lured” into a harmful situation.  There have been reports of people being lured to a PokeStop in order to rob them.

Wear comfortable walking shoes if you plan to be out for awhile.

Wear sunscreen. In the United States, it can get pretty hot outside. Don’t get a painful sunburn.

Stay hydrated. Bring water or plan to stop accordingly to quench your thirst.

Last, but not least, HAVE FUN and enjoy yourself. Pokémon Go is a fun game and can be a healthy way to get your exercise in for the day.

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5 Ways You Can Work It Like a Dog

5 Ways You Can Work It Like a Dog

Watching my dog Maya is a great source of inspiration and positive emotions for me.   Throwing a ball or a Frisbee over and over across a field for her to retrieve can sometimes bring me the same benefit as meditation. She’s a three-year-old German Shepherd with a huge amount of energy. Sometimes she forgets to mind her manners. ‘Ladylike’ is not the word I would use to describe her. (You should hear her burp. Ugh.) Yet, she has some qualities that we can all benefit from. I’ve often thought that anyone with an important objective, a fitness goal or perhaps an entrepreneur with a dream, would do well to emulate Maya when she has her mind set on something.

That being said, Maya and I put together some tips so that you, too, can work it like a dog.

1.  Never Give Up. Be Relentless. When Maya wants to play ball or fetch, she will follow you around the house trying to push her ball or Frisbee into your hands. You cannot escape her. Want to unload the dishwasher? Maya drops her ball in the dishwasher. Walking on the treadmill? Expect a Frisbee to land under your feet. Maya does not give up. Eventually someone gives in and tosses the ball or rolls it a little distance. But they respond. We think that’s how life is, too.  Work it like a dog. Don’t give up. Never stop trying. If you believe in someone, in some cause or that a personal dream is worth having, follow Maya’s example and don’t take “no” for answer. Your health, your dreams, your family, your future is worth the effort.

2.   Keep Excited, Stay Focused. Maya loves few things more than she loves going to the lake. In fact, when we get about a mile away from it, she KNOWS where she’s going and she cannot sit still. It gets very loud in the Jeep as she barks, yips, turns in circles and tries to climb over the seat. And once we are there? Well, the poor soul left holding the leash better hang on tight, because Maya is going in that lake one way or another. She’s so happy, she can’t think of anything else. Wouldn’t it be great if us humans could be that way even after we aren’t little kids? So excited about our end results (getting in shape, walking 10,000 steps/day, improving our health), our destinations and our dreams? Maya keeps this enthusiasm whether it’s time for a walk, going outside to see her best friend dog, Freckles (lives next door), or jumping on the trampoline with our son. Yes, Maya plays on the trampoline. Just try and keep her away from that fun! She approaches life with passion and excitement. Whatever it is, Maya’s down with it. That’s how I want to be, too. Everyone has their own beliefs about life, love and happiness. My personal belief is that life, living it and just the whole journey of it – good or bad – is a present from God. My personal belief is that God hopes we will do our best to enjoy the journey like Maya does.

3.  Recover from Disappointments Quickly Because It’s Loyalty to Your Goals. Maya is a pro at this. If she doesn’t get to go outside when she wants to, she’ll sit by the door and make little groaning noises. Imagine a dog making that sound a kid makes when told “no.” “awwwwnnnh….” But 5 minutes later, she’s in your face trying to steal a kiss whether you called her over or not. She’s happy to be with you. If she gets into trouble for getting in the trash or coming into the dining area during dinner, no worries. She’ll put her head down, fold her ears back and look really, really sad. But the whole time? She’s waiting for a better moment. Maybe she’ll try again. Or maybe she’ll go get her ball and try to get you to play instead. The point is: Maya does not let disappointment ruin her day or her overall mission. I want that personality trait for myself. How many times have I let a discouraging word or experience ruin my whole day? Maya’s got the right idea. Summary: Don’t give up because of a setback. Start over the very next day! Keep stepping!

4.  Don’t Be Afraid to Get Close. Maya does have issues with respecting “personal space.” She will randomly get in your face for a kiss or to sniff you. She has to be reminded she is 75 lbs. and cannot just run and jump into your arms. Still, she watches “her” people closely. She reads emotions on faces. If you sit down at the table to work, on the swing to enjoy your morning coffee, or on the couch to watch T.V., you can expect Maya to push her 75 lb furry hide right behind your kneecaps where she will stay pressed up against you because she enjoys being close.   Humans should also try to get closer to others because they care. Maybe not closer in physical space. If you invade the personal space of someone you don’t know that well, it could lead to negative interaction… a punch in the nose or possibly an arrest warrant… You get the idea. Still, we can all take the time to chat a little more, ask a few more real questions (not just business) and let those we interact with see that we’re real people. Go for a walk with someone you care about. Maya recommends taking your dog for a walk. Studies show that people who exercise with a friend or in a social setting are healthier. One study showed that people who exercised in groups (as opposed to alone) showed the least decline in physical health and cognitive ability.

5.  Wag Your Tail Often. Right. If you wag your own tail excessively, you may get some interesting looks. The point here is that Maya is always smiling. Dogs wag their tails when they’re happy. Maya is happy ALOT. That tail wags everywhere. Books get knocked off shelves, glasses turned over and things just go flying when that bionic happy tail starts wagging like crazy. Remember the saying that you should smile because people will wonder what you’re up to? Or what about this little fact: It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

Maya and I think you should smile like crazy and often. Chaos might ensue at your house, at school or while you are working. But it will be fun and if you use your smile while pursuing your goals, it’ll work like a magnet. Just ask Maya: Whatever she hits with that happy tail usually causes people to come running.

Krissy Gillaspia is Walkingspree’s Marketing Manager. She logs the most steps on her Alta fitness tracker when she is out with Maya and highly recommends letting your dog help you achieve your step goals.

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