With walking- every little bit counts

Finding time to exercise regularly can be a challenge in today’s busy and hectic world. But that’s the beauty of walking. You can do it practically anywhere at anytime.

Once you start walking your energy level will go up, your stress will go down and you will find that you are looking for “walking opportunities” everywhere.

There are so many ways to increase your steps that the list is endless – things that you can do at work and at home to increase your steps. The best thing is that no major skills are required; just put on your walking shoes, grab your pedometer and GO!

  • Take the long way to the restroom, water cooler or break room.
  • Park your car at the back of the parking lot.
  • Take a walking break at work.
  • Take a lap around the grocery store or mall before shopping.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Make walking fun. Be an active participant in your company’s challenge and rally the troops. A few 10 or 15-minute walks (1,000-1,500 steps) throughout the day can really add up.

And make sure you use your pedometer and upload your steps at least once a week – there is nothing better than hitting your step goals and watching the days on your activity calendar turn green.

Make a commitment today to take advantage of walking opportunities. Remember to grab a buddy – you will both appreciate it.

For more tips check out the “Increase Your Steps” post.

Photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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Eat Smart! Eating Healthy Can Cost Less

Shown on this plate are 100 calories serving portions of strawberries, broccoli, potato chips, bread and M&M candies. Which 100 calorie serving are you choosing to satisfy your afternoon snack attack? (USDA photo)

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat healthy. In fact, healthy foods can even cost less, according to a recent study.

The study, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, looked at more than 4,000 food items and compared them three ways – by price per calories, price per edible gram, and price per average portion.

Previously published reports, which measured only price-per-calorie, showed that items like beans and broccoli were more expensive than donuts. This is because less healthy foods that are high in calories will have a lower price per calorie ratio when compared to healthier fruits and vegetables, which have lower calories.

But when the comparison is by weight or average portion, the healthier food items are less expensive than food items that are high in saturated fat and added salt or sugars.

“Using price per calorie doesn’t tell you how much food you’re going to get or how full you are going to feel,” said study co-author Andrea Carlson.

For example, a donut has about 240 calories and a banana has about 105 calories. If they both cost the same, then the banana would cost more per calorie than the donut.

But who eats just one donut? And if you eat the banana you would probably feel fuller, making it cheaper per edible gram and cheaper per average portion.

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Cycling with your pedometer

get steps in while cycling

You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get health benefits from cycling. And with a little trial and error, you can even capture “steps” on your pedometer. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your Walkingspree pedometer when you are on your bicycle.

When you get on your bike, you will need to adjust where you place your pedometer to record the most “steps.” It may not capture all steps, but it will record the majority. Hanging loose in a pocket works while walking, but this application will not record steps during biking. The trick is to place it snug against your body and placed where the pedometer will pick up your leg or foot motion. One suggested placement is in a line between your navel and side hip, tucked in tight against your body, with the lanyard end pointing up. (The pedometer will look like it is upside down.) Another location may be in your sock or on your knee (some have used a tensor knee brace to hold it in place). The knee location seems to work best for a recumbent bike. Try several locations to see what works best for you. And remember to use your lanyard at all times.

protect your pedometer from excess moistureAnd don’t forget to protect your pedometer from humidity and excess moisture that may result from your ride. The humidity can build up in the LCD display, so wrap your pedometer in a plastic sandwich bag and secure it with an elastic band or twist tie.

Also, be mindful that the distance covered while biking will not yield the same amount of steps if you had walked that distance because of the coasting. Even though the pedometer may not capture all the steps, it does capture a lot of them and anyone doing a decent amount of cycling is going to get several thousand steps which contributes to your step count.

So, if you are looking for a way to mix up your exercise routine, why not hop on a bike and go for a spin? For more information on bicycling, check out a previous blog posting.

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My Heart, My Life

LaTonya M. Baldwin (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan participant)

LaTonya M. Baldwin, BCBSM participant

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans?
In fact, someone dies from CVD every 38 seconds! Heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined, according to the American Heart Association.

My Heart, My Life” was the theme for American Heart Association’s walk this year. on Saturday, May 12th, my heart was full. Last blog, I wrote that I had trained and committed to participating in the AHA’s Barton Malow 5K Fun Run. I did. I ran my first 5k at a 9:26 minute pace, completing the run in 33 minutes. My pedometer registered almost 9k steps and my running program tracked that I completed 3.5 miles. Thanks to my Walkingspree pedometer, I experienced the power of tracking my efforts. Thanks to my couch potato to 5k and other running podcasts, I successfully trained.

Let me give you a bit of my history. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of family members I’ve lost to stroke and cardiac arrest. When I had knee surgery in 2010, my blood pressure skyrocketed in the prep area. I’ve been on meds since. I’ve lost thirty pounds and kept them off. I exercise five days a week to stay above ground. I take care of my heart, my life. I’m 47 with a compromised knee and a great heart!

Listen folks, if you haven’t figured it out yet, tracking matters. Training is powerful. Walking and other forms of cardio are good for your heart and therefore good for you. Live well. Embrace, “My Heart, My Life.”

Thanks to all of you who donated and supported me.

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CSA – Scavenger Hunt Photo’s Weeks 2 – 3

CSA has created a Scavenger Hunt game to get their employees out and walking. Participants are given a bi-weekly list of 10 items to find. To prove they found the items, they must provide a photo of the item with themselves and/or their pedometer in the photo. How fun is that! Check out their second round’s Photos!

Scavenger Items for week 2-3

Bank, Baseball Field, Flower Shop, Graffiti, Hospital, Place of Worship, Polie/Fire Station, Recycle Bin, Starbucks, UPS/Fed Ex Box.

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