corporate wellness

Instant Benefits of Exercise: 3 Things a Walking Program Can Do for You NOW

We hate to wait in line. We get impatient if a website takes longer than two seconds to load. In some cities, they have what’s known as a “honk-o-second.” That’s the teeny little space between the time the light changes to green and the person behind you honks before you can move your foot to the gas pedal.

And with a walking program or any other exercise? We get frustrated because we want results and we want them NOW. We hate to wait.

Remember the “goldfish statistic?” In early 2015, Microsoft Corp published the results of a study showing that the average American has an attention span of 8.25 seconds and reminded us that a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. Ouch.

Speaking of your attention span, there’s another statistic that shows you’ll only read about 28% of the average webpage (approximately 593 words).  By the end of this paragraph, you’ll be at 178 words. So, hold on to you’re span, baby! We promise to get you what you need with just a few more.  Ready?

3 Things a Walking Program Can Do for You NOW

  • Improve Your Memory. Studies show that completing 15 minutes of moderate exercise leads to faster reaction times on working memory tasks directly after exercise. These findings imply that concentrated sessions of cardio exercise may help circulate your attention and memory resources more effectively. This helps to enhance your mental functioning. One of the most motivating conclusions in a published study showed moderate exercise can provide immediate benefits no matter your age. So, lace up your shoes, strap on your Fitbit or other wearable device and start your own walking program.
  • Provide Confidence and Improve Your Mood. Yes, that’s correct. One study surveyed nearly 2,000 young people over 23 different trials. They found that consistent exercise greatly improved self-confidence and provided a mood boost. Exercise significantly helped those showing anxiety and signs of depression.
  • You’ll Have Radiant, Glowing Skin. Everyone enjoys looking healthy and happy. A rise in your body’s temperature will increase blood flow to your skin.

You can do this! And you won’t even have to wait months and months to see results. It only takes 20 minutes of moderate cardio exercise to improve your mood and make you feel better.

Another study researched college students who exercised (jogging) at three different levels of intensity. Most of us would assume that those exercising at the highest intensity would benefit the most, right? Turns out that no substantial difference between intensity or mood benefits after exercise was reported.

This means that even if your really tired and can’t push yourself as hard, you’ll still finish your workout or your walk feeling better. It’s a win-win all the way around.

Document Your Feelings for Posterity (or Yourself)

You’re almost to the end of this page with a few words to spare.  If you finish it, you can pat yourself on the back for not being part of the 28% we mentioned earlier. We’re leaving you with a tip to help you keep exercising.

It’s easy to forget how great it feels when we are consistently exercising. So, we recommend an audio reminder. It’s quick and easy: Use your phone. Record a voice memo describing how you feel after exercising.  That’s it. Each time you feel like dragging your feet on the way to the treadmill, replay your audio clip. It’ll make you feel good about exercising. Immediately. No waiting. We like that.

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Using Photo Food Logs in Your Wellness Program


Face it, you want variety in your wellness program and a good wellness program includes smart meal choices. It’s Friday and after a week of rotating out meals with ground beef, chicken (or fish sticks for those with young kids), you may want to put together a meal that engages your senses, and makes you feel like it’s a special occasion.

Whatever recipe you choose, whichever wellness program you participate in, did you know that impressing your friends by posting dinner pictures on Instagram and Facebook can help you reach your weight management goals?

Introducing the Photo Food Log…

Instead of writing down everything you eat or using a food and calorie-tracking app, take photos of your food. Just pick up your phone and start snapping shots at each meal. It’s fun and it really helps you understand what you’re doing with your meals and food intake. Facebook and Instagram aside, you’ll be doing something healthy for yourself. If you decide to post your pictures online, you may find that your friends are happy to give you a thumbs-up and provide another form of motivation for you.

When you include a photo food log in your wellness program, you can look at your meals at the end of each day and mentally note what changes you’d like to make the next day. Another way to monitor your progress is to evaluate your photos on a weekly basis. For example, you can take photos of all your meals – then at the end of the week, take stock of your progress. Are you losing weight? Maintaining? How do you FEEL? Are you feeling healthier, better and more energetic? If so, your photos are a good reminder of what to keep doing.

If you feel tired, lethargic and generally not at your best AND your either gaining or not losing weight, you know that your pictures need to look different the next week.

The Importance of Food Tracking

Maintaining a daily food journal, whether written or photographic is an efficient way to track the calories you consume daily. Walkingspree members can also use Walkingspree’s online food tracker.

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood benefits of a food diary is the power of knowing what you’re taking in. Almost everyone thinks they know exactly what they eat daily. You might even go so far as to believe you know the amount of calories you’re consuming at each meal.  Still, the reality is most people eat more than three times daily. The majority of their extra calories undoubtedly come from eating between meals.

Bottom line: When you are able to see what you eat everyday, you’ll know which foods to cut from your meal plans.

A study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, discovered that women (who were overweight or obese) who were participating in a diet program only or diet plus exercise program all lost weight but the women who kept daily food journals actually lost an extra six pounds over the women who did not keep food diaries of some sort.

A Food Journal Can Help You Eat More of the Right Foods

Ever wonder if you are getting enough veggies? Well, when you record your entire daily food intake into a food journal – or when you photograph your food, you’ll begin to notice patterns and trends in how you feel as well as whether or not you reach your daily goals. Some people find that making sure their meals have a variety of color ensures their vegetable intake is optimal. Think red bell peppers or tomatoes, yellow squash, orange peppers, green peas, black beans, white cauliflower, green broccoli, purple eggplant. If you are purposefully building a colorful plate, you will usually have plenty of vegetables in your meal. With a photo food journal, you’ll enjoy taking colorful photos when you do this. You might even find yourself arranging food to make the plate “look prettier.”

Food Journals Can Adjust Your Habits Gradually

If you are writing down, digitally tracking or photographing your food, you might be surprised to notice, over time, that your eating habits change. You’ll find yourself naturally selecting healthier ingredients or menu options. It is as simple “if you feel better and healthier – you’re probably eating healthier.”

And, in any wellness program, that is always a good thing!

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4 Things Only Fitbit or Wearable Device Users Understand

When I got my first wearable device last year (a Fitbit flex and also a birthday gift from my sister), it opened up a whole new concept for me. I could “compete” with a device or friends at the same time. It would show up on a magical digital dashboard and everyone would see my results. Was this okay? A little concerned at first. I’m a private person but then: Yes! Bring on the positive motivation, I thought to myself. What I did not realize was how it would impact my emotions. I soon learned that this was not limited to my own experiences. Many others understand the struggle(s). ~Clarissa at Walkingspree, USA

Since Walkingspree works with corporations of all sizes, we get to see a lot of step goals met (or not met) and we know how important having your own wearable device is. Sure, it will help you get in shape, feel better, lose or maintain your desired weight, live longer, alleviate or prevent certain health conditions, even make your employer smile and you become a part of a fun filled community.

BUT becoming dedicated to your wearable fitness technology also generates some interesting emotions and reactions.

Check these out and see if you don’t find yourself nodding and smiling in agreement.

Your Day Isn’t Over Unless You Met Your Step Goal and It Is a MISSION. If you’ve ever felt very guilty for going to bed before your screen vibrated and flashed all those blinking dots, showing you met your step goal, you know what we mean. You are the person who checks your fitness dashboard online, counts up the steps and calculates how many times you have to jump on the bed and you know exactly how many steps it takes to wheel the garbage can out to the street. Some wearers have even been guilty of strapping their device on one of their kids to rack up some extra steps at the end of the day (gasp!).

You Randomly Taunt Friends and Co-Workers at Odd Hours. It’s not usually the norm to get up at the crack of dawn just to heckle your friends or random people participating in a walking challenge. Still, something about achieving that step goal before everyone else can make you feel like everyone should know how great life is when you’ve met your step goal before they have. For example, the CRO of Walkingspree, Nathan Pickle, has been known to email his team first thing in the morning to let them all know how great it is to get 10,000 steps before 6:00 a.m.

If You Weren’t Wearing It, It Didn’t Happen. Now You’re Just Mad. If you walk or run without wearing your Fitbit, Garmin or other wearable technology, does it even count? On those days when you forget your device, you wonder if getting out of bed is just pointless, right? If your device isn’t counting them and your friends don’t see them, are the steps even real? Does anything at all matter that day?

Non-Wearers Think You’re in a Club or a Cult. Your friends who don’t wear a Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin or some kind of wearable fitness technology appear to be in their own world. You feel sad for them and they think you are involved in a new trend that will go away soon. (Interesting note, you are not involved in a trend. It is officially a way of life. The wearable device market is projected to reach $12.44 BILLION by 2022 so you are definitely not alone in this journey.)

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3 Myths About Walking


As promoters of walking, we at Walkingspree decided to push three of the most common “myths” about walking into the spotlight.

Myth #1:  You Should Run Because it Burns More Calories than Walking

First, lets consider this: The amount of calories you wipe out on a walk is contingent upon your weight, how far and how fast you walk. For individuals trying to lose a significant amount of weight, there is a certain sweet vengeance in knowing that the heavier you are, the more calories you’ll burn per hour. And yes, the faster your walking speed, the more calories you’ll get rid of.

Critics of walking may tell you that running burns more calories and it does. But, is running a viable option for you? Running is not something everyone can do.  Walking, however, is a ‘user-friendly’ exercise that almost everyone can do at some level.

To help clarify the walking vs. running argument, think of it this way: Walking burns about 600 calories an hour. Running burns about 700 calories an hour. Can you run for an hour? And no matter how you answer that question, the answer to this next question is the most important:

Do you want to run for an hour?

If so, great! If not, go for a walk, enjoy the outdoors or use the time for prayer and meditation on the treadmill.

The point: Lose weight while doing something meaningful.

Myth #2: You Can’t Lose Weight By Walking.

Walking Doesn’t Burn Fat.  Walking Doesn’t Reach the Cardio-zone or Fat Burning Zone. You’ve probably heard other variations of these thoughts, yourself.

In reality, we don’t need to over complicate things.  Keep it simple. Just remember: Walking burns calories.

Want to kill off a pound by walking? Burn 3,500 calories and you’re done.

Here’s an example using a person who is 200lbs: If you walk for an hour per day at a 3.5 mph pace, a pound could be gone in just over 10 days and this without any dieting.  And, yes, you could lose more if you incorporated a sensible diet into the mix.

What if the stress of trying to find that magical fat burning zone isn’t necessary to achieve the results you want?

Adjust your nutrition and walking plan to accommodate your weight loss objectives and you’ll be more likely to reach your personal goals.

Myth #3:  You Need Shoes Designed for Walking or “Walking Shoes.”

Sure, there are some well-made walking shoes on the market. Unfortunately, there are also many shoes branded as “walking shoes” that may do more harm than good. If you try on a walking shoe that feels heavy, stiff, inflexible and even overly cushioned, just put it back.You don’t want shoes that could cause you to have extra aches and pains.

Look for lightweight, low heel and proper fit. Many people do great wearing running shoes because they are often designed to be lightweight, flexible and to fit certain strides.

So, while you don’t need any special equipment to go for a walk, a good pair of shoes that allows you to be comfortable is a must.

Study after study shows that walking can reduce health risks substantially. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all the hype out there. Have fun, put on your shoes and go outside. If the weather isn’t good for a walk, visit your local gym, or consider walking “laps” around a shopping mall. There are some great places to walk and great reasons for doing so. Make it about you, being your best self and being intentional about living your best life one step at a time.

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Reducing Food Waste AND Your Grocery Bill

Did you know that the average American family throws away approximately 25 percent of the food they buy annually?  Want a close estimate of what that means in dollars and cents?  It means that about $1,500  is literally thrown in the family trashcan.  Some stats say that translates into 25 percent of the world’s children not eating as well as your garbage bin does. Further, it’s been noted that the amount of food wasted on a global scale, if not wasted, could actually eliminate world hunger problems.

If you’ve ever wanted to not only eat smart but also be smart about food as a whole, you may want to look into different ways to reduce food waste. Reducing food waste can reduce your grocery bill as well.

Are you interesting in doing your part to reduce food waste, reduce your monthly spending and helping to take care of our planet? You might be surprised and how easy it can be.  Author, speaker and successful blogger, Bea Johnson, has proven you can live almost completely waste free. Get this:  Bea and her family only generate a quart size jar of waste per year!

If you are thinking that’s pretty incredible, we agree. And, for most of us, that seems impossible. Still, in true Walkingspree fashion, we do think it’s worth mentioning that every little step counts. Whether you are looking to eat better, lose weight, or help our planet by reducing waste, each step counts. If you agree with us, we have a few quick tips to help you reduce food waste and your grocery bill. Many of these tips are on Bea Johnson’s blog but she tells her readers that they are a condensed version. The in-depth cool stuff is in her book, Zero Waste Home.

(1) Shop smarter. Invest in recyclable shopping bags and never go to the store without a list. Shopping with a list can reduce impulse buys but it can force you to check your current supplies before you leave. If you build your list from memory, instead of actually looking in your pantry or refrigerator, you are more likely to buy food you aren’t out of yet  “just to be on the safe side.”

(2) Reuse your supply containers, carriers and cleaning items. Bea says to “arm yourself with a reusable water bottle, a couple grocery totes, a few cloth bags and reusable jars and bottles. She also champions the 5Rs and in the same order every time. Get your 5Rs right: Refuse what you do not need, Reduce what you do need, Reuse what you consume, Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse, and Rot (Compost) the rest.

(3) Be smart about how much you eat as well as how much you buy. If your recipe calls for a teaspoon of lemon juice, and your would normally not use multiple lemons before your next shopping trip, you don’t need to buy 6 because they are 6 for a $1.50.

(4) Unclutter and organize the kitchen. Using glass jars so you can see the contents easily also let’s you access what you need quickly. Don’t be afraid to switch to an “all drawer” refrigerator.  These can eliminate forgetting about (and wasting) food at the back of a shelf.

(5) Bea says: “Buy in bulk or at the counter (see Zero Waste Grocery Shopping), bring reusable bags (dry goods), jars (wet items such as meat, deli, fish, cheese, oil, peanut butter) and bottles (liquids: oil, soy sauce, shampoo, conditioner).”

(6) Use your trashcan for compost storage. Use your small compost keeper as your regular trash can.

(7) Reinvent left overs. Don’t pop them in a container and let them sit in the refrigerator until mold grows. Create a new dish or meal using food from the previous day.

We think that people who seek to live more meaningful and intentional lives are happier in general. Bea Johnson’s philosophy fits right in with these thoughts.

“Since embarking on the Zero Waste lifestyle, our lives have changed for the better: We feel happier and lead more meaningful lives, based on experiences instead of stuff. My goal is to share its incredible health, financial and time saving benefits!” ~Bea Johnson.

If you are interested in learning more about how to reduce food waste, reduce food costs and simultaneously help the planet, be sure to check out Bea’s blog for more great tips on enjoying a Zero Waste lifestyle.

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