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Memorial Day Origins

Memorial Day Origins

Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day.” In the USA, we know it as a day of remembrance for all the brave men and women who have died serving and protecting our nation

No one is quite sure where, when or whom is responsible for beginning the observance but well over two dozen towns and cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Although Waterloo N.Y. was formally confirmed the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s problematic to prove exactly how the day was created or conceived.

No matter the exact date or whereabouts of its origins, it’s clear that Memorial Day rose from the ashes of the Civil War and loved ones wanting to honor the sacrifice of our dead soldiers. On May 5 1868, General John Logan, who was the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, stated “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” The date of Decoration Day, as he referred to it, was selected because it was not the anniversary of any other particular battle.

The very first Decoration Day was observed formally at Arlington National Cemetery. 5,000 people gathered to decorate the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. General James Garfield was present and gave a stirring speech.

In 1873, New York became the first state to formally recognize and observe Memorial Day. By 1890, all northern states observed the holiday. Southern states declined to recognize the day, honoring their dead separately  until after World War I . It was also after the Civil War that Memorial Day became a day to honor both those who died fighting in the Civil War and those Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice during any war.

These days, nearly every state observes Memorial Day on the last Monday in May.

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Memorial Day Red White and Blue Parfait

Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfaits are healthy, budget-friendly,and don’t require any cooking or baking. Use greek yogurt, granola, strawberries, and blueberries for a healthy delicious Memorial Day dessert.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup your favorite granola

How to Prepare

  • Add 2-4 tablespoons of granola in the bottom of a tall glass or glass bowl.
  • Top with ¼ of yogurt, followed by ¼ of strawberries.
  • Top with ¼ of blueberries.
  • Repeat in layers.
  • Serve
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    Plan a Summer Walking Vacation (or Staycation)

    Planning your summer vacation (or staycation)? How about making it a walking vacation?!

    Guided walking tours run the gambit, from architecture to history to shopping to haunted houses! After deciding on your destination, check with the local tourism bureau for river walks, hiking trails or guided tours. Most museums offer self-guided tour material and maps, and some even offer audio-guided tours for a fee.

    Another great resource for self-guided walking tours is Volkssports or IVV clubs. (Google: ivv walks)

    Volkssports, meaning “people” sports, are non-competitive fitness groups that originated in Europe. The American Volkssport Assocation’s website says “Volkssporting is an international sports phenomenon that promotes personal physical fitness and good health by providing fun-filled, safe exercise in a stress-free environment through self-paced walks and hikes, bike rides, swims, and in some regions cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Walking is the most popular of all U.S. volkssporting activities and has been identified by the U.S. Surgeon General as the most beneficial form of exercise.”

    These walking clubs have associations in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and offer a wealth of information about permanent trails selected by club members. The trails may go through scenic or historic areas, and may be in cities, towns, parks, or rural areas.

    How about these ideas for a walking vacation?

    1. The Royal London Trail from Hyde Park, to Kensington, past Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square in England.
    2. Enjoy more than 120 pieces of art at the Benson Sculpture Gardens in Loveland, Colorado.
    3. Following the San Antonio Riverwalk through the King William District, past The Menger Hotel, where Theodore Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders, an onto the “The Alamo.” (San Antonio also has “ghost tours” where participants can walk from location to location downtown in hopes of encountering paranormal activity).
    4. Vist west Texas and walking the grounds around and up in the hills surrounding Ft. Davis where the settlers heading west would stop for rest, refuge and supplies.

    Throughout the year, individual clubs also organize walking events designed for all fitness levels. No membership is required and it is a great way to experience your destination.

    QUICK TIPS

    Don’t forget to:
    - Pack sunblock and insect spray.
    - Wear a hat, a good pair of sunglasses and your pedometer.
    - Carry water and snacks.
    - Don’t overdo it, take regular breaks and remember you have to walk back!

    Botanical gardens, sculpture gardens, zoos … oh, so many opportunities to get your 10,000 steps a day!

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    Strawberry Sorbet and Mother’s Day

    Strawberries are one of the first fruits to hit the stands when it warms up and heads into summer months.  Many states are already enjoying these magical tasting fruits and if you are having a family get together in Mom’s honor this weekend, you just might want to bring dessert. See our recipe, straight from the Walkingspree Food Tracker, below.

    Strawberries aren’t just delicious. They also have health benefits similar to the benefits we get from walking. These yummy red berries help protect against heart disease, help regulate blood sugar and decrease risk of type 2 diabetes, plus reduce the risk of certain cancers such as breast, cervical, colon and esophageal.

    So, it’s a heart-shaped gem and a powerhouse of nutrition. A cup of strawberries contains twice as much Vitamin C as an orange, almost 150 percent of the recommended daily requirement. They’re an excellent source of manganese for a healthy heart and bones, fiber to lower blood pressure, curb overeating, and they contain antioxidants known as polyphenols which reduce the risk of heart disease. They contain no sodium, fat or cholesterol and are low in calories – just 50 per cup (about 8 large strawberries.)

    Strawberries are an easy way to keep your healthy eating commitment. Add them to your cereal in the morning, put them in a spinach salad at lunch, or enjoy a bowlful topped with a dollop of plain yogurt for dessert.

    There is nothing in this world like a fresh picked strawberry. Make sure you search out this special summer treat. June is also National Strawberry Month so plan ahead and search out your favorite recipes.  And remember: if you are getting together for a family meal or Sunday afternoon lunch with the mothers in your life, the strawberry sorbet recipe below is sure to please.

    Homemade Strawberry Sorbet

    Ingredients:
    · 3-3/4 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
    · 1/2 cup sugar
    · 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    · 2 tbsp lemon zest

    Preparation:
    1. Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor.
    2. Blend in the remaining ingredients
    3. Pour into a bowl or deep dish, cover, and freeze for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

    Makes 8 servings.

    Nutrition:
    Calories: 77
    Total Fat: 0.24g
    Sat Fat: 0.013g
    Cholesterol: 0mg
    Sodium: 0.97mg
    Total Carbs: 20g
    Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
    Sugar: 17g
    Protein: 0.59g

    Recipe Source: Walkingspree Food Tracker

    Photo Source for Sorbet: thebittenword.com

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    What Your Mom REALLY Wants for Mother’s Day

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    National Walking Day and Famous Walkers

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 is National Walking Day. The American Heart Association has sponsored this occasion on the first Wednesday in April since 2007.

    National Walking Day is all about encouraging Americans to be active and start walking but also to turn physical activity into a consistent part of a healthy lifestyle.

    If you haven’t been active or exercising in awhile, don’t sweat it. You can start with one step at a time. Start with a few minutes when you begin, and each day you can gradualy increase the time and distance you walk. Walking is easier to stick to and an easier commitment to work into your life. Statistics prove that people keep walking and “stick to it” more than any other form of exercise.

    Most articles and posts about National Walking Day will tell you about all the health benefits of walking or how quickly you can experience benefits from walking. We could also share with you why your boss wants you to wear a Fitbit or other activity tracker. We aren’t going to do that in this post. You can get facts about walking or learn more about the benefits of walking here on Walkingspree’s blog or on the American Heart Association’s website which has a section devoted to walking.

    Instead, we want to bring your attention to three famous walkers who were known for their intelligence and their creativity in their time. It is said that these men used walking as a way to generate ideas, creative thinking and to solve problems.

    Once upon a time, people walked pretty much everywhere. When there were no planes, trains or automobiles, people walked. Often, a family could not afford a horse or other conveyance. So, they walked. You might think they walked because they had to – and you’d be right. But history also shows that some individuals walked because they knew they functioned and performed better when they took walks. Let’s take a look:


    Portrait of Aristotle set on a restored bust. Mid-2d Century A.D. (artist unknown)

    When most of think of Aristotle, we envision some “old dude” with a long beard. Probably in robes. And, if you’re like a couple of us here at Walkingspree, you envision him sitting on the ground in a circle talking to his followers and his students as they listen carefully, taking notes a on a scroll or something.

    Well, it turns out that Aristotle (born in 384 B.C.) was not only a Greek philosopher, whose contemporaries included Plato and Socrates, but he also headed a school that he, personally, founded. The Lyceum was commonly known as the Peripatetic School. Again, if you are like most people, you won’t recognize that the word “peripatetic” is actually a form of the Greek word , peripatetikos – which means “walking around.” (If you are one of the few who knew that word already: You rock! Now, give yourself a pat on the back and keep reading with the rest of us…)   Aristotle recognized the brain’s ability to focus on the matter at hand  (instead of daily stresses an anxiety) while walking. Walking was so much a part of the way that Aristotle taught that his students (or followers) literally followed him about as he taught and they became known as Peripatetic’s.

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle

    William Wordsworth at age 28 by William Shuter

    Perhaps one of the most famous poets, William Wordsworth walked nearly 175 thousand miles throughout his life while sustaining a high-volume writing vocation. “Wordsworth’s walking was writing, in a way. As he saw it, the actof walking was “indivisible” from the act of writing poetry.  He needed to walk in order to write.”**

    Charles Dickens in 1858. Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens, by G. K. Chesterton, Published 1911.

    Charles Dickens, considered the greatest author in the Victorian era (A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and more) was also an avid walker. History says he would write from 9am-2pm and then head out for a long walk.  Apparently, walking a 20-30 miles in a day was all a part of his normal routine. Dickens walked so far, so much at different times friends would worry and wonder if he had a harmful addiction.  Dicken’s wrote plays, more than a dozen novels and other materials. Walking was very much is inspiration.

    Dickens once said that if he couldn’t walk “far and fast,” he would “explode and perish.”

    That’s just three people whose work was dramatically and positively impacted by walking.

    What can you accomplish?  Quite a bit! By walking just 30 minutes a day, a person can drastically decrease their risk of just about every health problem: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer — even depression and Alzheimer’s.

    And that’s just the beginning.  So, lace up and go out for a walk and remember to wear your walking shoes or take them with you wherever you go on Wednesday for National Walking Day.

    **How Did Walking Serve as an Integrative Activity for Wordsworth? by Trina-Marie Baird, 2008, Department of Religious Studies, Lancaster University

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