Revitalize your walking Goals

Now is the perfect time to renew your step goals and revitalize your walking routine.

To reduce the risk of chronic disease, you need 30 minutes (approx 3,000 steps) of moderate intensity (normal) walking a day on top of your normal lifestyle activities.

To manage your weight (prevent weight gain, sustain weight loss) you need to do about 60 minutes (approx 6,000 steps) of moderate to brisk walking a day, in addition to your normal lifestyle activities, while ensuring your calorie intake does not exceed your energy output (calories burned).

To lose weight, you need 60-90 minutes (6,000 – 9,000 steps) of moderate to brisk walking, while ensuring that your caloric intake is less than your energy output.

To further increase muscle mass, muscle strength, agility, flexibility and stamina, you need to add strength training and resistance exercises such as calisthenics, pilates and yoga, two three times a week in addition to your daily walking.

Sound overwhelming? Relax. It’s really not. And it’s much easier when you break it down into smaller pieces. You can start by setting a goal and increasing your steps by 20% over your baseline each week. At the end of each month, review your progress.

Recommitting to your walking routine is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and setting goals can help.

Use the following S.M.A.R.T. criteria to develop your goal, upload your steps and review your progress weekly and you will achieve what you have set out to do.

S – Specific. Define exactly what you want to accomplish. Walk 10,000 steps a day? Great, increase your average daily step count by 20 percent. When you’re comfortable with that, increase that amount by 20 percent. Keep doing this until you reach your goal.

M – Measurable. Upload your steps once or twice a week and use the tools on the Walkingspree website. Monitoring your progress will encourage you to keep going.

A – Adjustable. Be flexible and have a backup plan in case you are not able to get out for your regular walk or catch a cold. Adding 1,000 or so steps a day (about 10-15 minutes more walking time) may be all you need to get back on track.

R – Realistic. Make sure the goal reflects what is attainable for you and not based on comparing yourself to others. This is a lifelong commitment, not a horse race.

T – Time based. Set a deadline, and remember long term changes are achieved when you invest the time.

Finally:

Enjoy the outdoors. Appreciate the fresh air, the birds singing, and greeting the many other walkers you’ll come across. Take different routes and explore new areas in your neighborhood. Walk to work and head outside at lunch time with a co-worker for a walk.

Check your dashboard. It’s an excellent visual reminder. Do it daily and remember to upload your tracker at least weekly.

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American Heart Association Physical Activity Recommendations

This infographic shows the recommended physical activity requirements for overall improved cardiovascular health as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

There are approx 1000 steps for every 10 minutes of activity, so you can see from looking at the infographic how many steps you would need to walk to match those activity minutes.

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This Is Your Body Without Water (Infographic)

Whether we eat too much at lunch and suffer a classic food coma, or have a horrible night’s sleep and feel groggy the next day, we’ve learned the hard way that we need to manage both diet and sleep to avoid the extremes. But there’s one other crucial component of health that just doesn’t get as much attention: water.

We’ve all experienced what it feels like when we don’t drink enough water. We’re groggy, hungry and typically just feel off. But did you know that not drinking enough water can affect your skin, eyes, weight, hair and nails, too? Staying hydrated is so important. Whether you drink warm water and lemon each morning or find other ways to drink more water, the facts below will likely motivate you to boost your hydration.

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5 ways to keep your diet and fitness goals on track through the summer

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It’s summer. BBQ’s, patios and sunshine. It just feels right to indulge while relaxing at the cottage or in the back yard. However with a little bit of awareness you can stay on top of your fitness and health so you’re not playing catch up the rest of the year.

1. Plan for flexibility. Watch for changes in routine. Are you a social eater or do you snack when you’re alone? If you’re running late to something, do you have a tendency to grab something unhealthy on the go? Keep health snacks on hand and plan in advance for the random changes in summer. For longer road trips, locate in advance the grocery stores you will pass. Stop and buy fresh fruit, vegetables and prepared deli food. Or purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from roadside stands. Always have a water bottle so you don’t get dehydrated, and use that water to wash any produce.

2. Avoid dog days of summer boredom. Sometimes you’re just relaxing and maybe a bit bored. Be careful that you’re not snacking out of boredom. Download an audio book or podcasts to keep you entertained.

3. More people doesn’t mean more food. If you are a social eater, treat yourself to a reasonable portion of something that you love. Pick one treat. Don’t have chips, beer and wings. If you love beer, have one with a healthier meal. If you don’t love beer but you love wings, drink a low-calorie alcoholic beverage or water and indulge in a few wings. Stay hydrated. That way you won’t mistake dehydration for hunger. If you are attending an event at someone’s home, offer to bring something. That way you have at least one healthy option.

4. Make good Patio/restaurant food choices. Before going to a restaurant, preview the menu online and decide what you will eat. On arrival, don’t look at a menu. Order your predetermined choice. Place your cutlery down between bites so that your brain has time to register that you are full.

5. Make exercise part of your vacation. Don’t let a change to your routine be an excuse not to exercise. You don’t need a gym to get a good workout; you can move and be active anywhere! Explore your vacation destination on foot or on a bike. Use your activity tracker and take advantage of even higher step counts on vacation explore days.

Summer is full of fun and yes some indulgence, but it’s still possible to make healthier choices. It just takes some awareness and advance planning. If you make a choice you are not proud of, don’t feel guilty. Instead, use it as learning experience so you can make a more informed choice next time. Moderation is the key and your future self will be grateful.

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Foods for a Healthy Liver

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The liver is basically the filtering system of the body. It also removes harmful substances from the bloodstream and aids in the digestive process. Our liver also helps our immune system fight infections. So it is safe to say that our liver is a very important organ in the human body. We need to take care of our liver and put foods in our body that are beneficial to our liver. Here are so basic foods you can consume that are great for that hardworking liver of yours.

Garlic

Did someone say vampires? Garlic is a plant that often adds a bit of delicious flavor to our foods. When garlic enters your body, it helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins. Garlic is high in allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

Grapefruit

I don’t think that’s there’s a more satisfying citrusy fruit out there. Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out toxins. This fruit has high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. Cleanse the body with grapefruit.

Beets

Packed with nutrients beets are known as the farm vegetable that often gets overlooked. Beets are filled with potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B & C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine, folic acid and are high in plant-flavonoids, which can improve the overall functions of your liver. They are a wonderful boost for the liver and give it a nice cleanse.

Leafy Greens

Green leafy vegetables are recognized for their vigorous nutritional value and promotion of good health. Leafy greens have the ability to act as a protective mechanism for the liver. They carry out certain functions of the body such as cleansing and detoxifying the body naturally, gently, and effectively. Vegetables also help aid enzyme production for digestion.

Avocados

Guacamole anyone? This green fruit that is high in natural and healthy fats produces a type of antioxidant called glutathione, which is needed for our livers to filter out harmful materials.

Lemons

We may know that citrus fruits like lemons are full of vitamin C. Something that is not as obvious is that lemons also help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process. That is why it is recommended to drink lemon water when you are doing a detox.

Walnuts

They serve as more than just an extra tasty ingredient that you add to your chocolate chip cookie batch. Walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia as they are high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our liver through its cleansing process.

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