Walking Tips

Beginner 5K Walk (3.1 Miles)

As Walkingspree members, you’re already walking. Some of you are collecting steps throughout the day and others at concentrated walks. Now you can add another layer to your walking by learning how to increase your walking distance, speed and time by participating in a 5K Walk event (3.1 miles or approx 6,000 steps). Fall is an ideal time to do your first 5K event.

Don’t worry about speed at the beginning and instead focus on the time you spend walking. Take each part at your own pace and repeat until you can follow the plan.

Getting Started on a 5K Walk:

Weeks 1 – 2

We’re going to assume that as Walkingspree members, you’ve already been walking for 100 minutes/week and are able to walk daily for 20 minutes at a time.

Check your Getting Started Guide (First Steps: A Walking Primer) on your login page for tips on walking shoes, walking form and other getting started with walking tips.

Week 3: Walk at a Moderate Pace

Time: Add 5 minutes a day so you are walking 25 minutes, 5 days a week. Weekly total goal: 100 – 125 minutes.

Measure your Intensity

Talk test. If you’re so out of breath that you can’t carry on a conversation with the person you’re walking with, you’re probably walking too fast and should slow down.

Perceived exertion Scale. You rate how hard you think you’re working on a scale that ranges from 6 (no exertion) to 20 (maximal effort). Aim for at least moderate intensity (12 to 14) as you walk.

Monitor your heart rate (pulse). To find out if you’re exercising within the range of your target heart rate, stop exercising to check your pulse manually at your wrist (radial artery) or neck (carotid artery). Another option is to wear an electronic device that displays your heart rate. Your target heart rate will depend on age. Resting heart rate average is 72 beats per minute.

Week 4: Add a Long Day

Time: Add 5 minutes a day to walk 30 minutes, 4 days a week, at a moderate pace. Weekly total goal: 125 – 150 minutes.

Start building mileage by adding a long day. Every week, add one long day on your fifth day. This should be a 40 minute walk at an easy pace.

Week 5: Adding Speed

Time: Walk 30 minutes a day on four days a week.
Long Walk: walk 45 minutes at an easy pace.

Building speed: During your short walks, focus on your form. If you have not been using arm motion, this can help improve your speed (do not carry weights while walking as that can cause injury).

Week 6: Build on your Mileage

Time: Walk 30 minutes a day four days a week, paying attention to form and speed.
Long Walk: walk 60 minutes at an easy pace.

Weeks 7 and 8: Adding Intervals

You’ve done great and by now you could complete your 5K walk. This is a good time to add intervals to your walk as they help build stamina, speed and endurance.

For your long week this week, walk 60 minutes at an easy pace.

Week 9 and Beyond

Why not try turning your long walk into a dry run for your event every other week. Try to increase your pace and walk at 80% of the speed that you hope to walk for the 5K event. You can also try adding another 15 minutes to your walk to increase distance.

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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.

Written by Krissy Gillaspia for Walkingspree

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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.

Written by Krissy Gillaspia for Walkingspree

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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.

Written by Krissy Gillaspia for Walkingspree

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