Walking Tips

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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Treadmill Walking 101

Treadmill Walking 101

When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber of your body. I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some of you may turn to your treadmill to get your steps in. It’s important to have proper technique and safety to get the best out of your treadmill walk.

1. Begin standing with one foot on each side of the treadmill. Step on the treadmill and start at a slow rate of speed and slowly increase the speed. Be sure to know where the red emergency switch is located on most machines.

2. Do not hold onto the side rails or front console. You often see people holding on and leaning back while walking. This is incorrect posture and could be dangerous.

3. Stand up straight, head up, eyes forward, arms swinging in stride with your feet. Stride with your front heel striking close to your body while your back foot remains on the ground longer to give a powerful push-off. This back foot push off is what gives you speed and power, and will help you burn more calories.

Big Screen Treadmill Interval Walking Workout

Interval workouts alternate very fast and slower-paced walking for a great cardiovascular workout and a high calorie burn.

Start your treadmill workout during a favorite tv show or movie. Decide your walking fast pace points in the show and slow pace points in the show. For example, if you’re watching The Biggest Loser, walk at a very fast pace during each part of a challenge on a show, then slow way down during the commercials. If you’re a sports fan, go fast during breakaways on hockey and slow down when the whistle blows. Soap opera fan? Up and down with every kiss, fight or gun shot.

Total time: 47 minutes.

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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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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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