Should I walk if I have the flu?

It is flu season. The best prevention is a flu shot and to stay as healthy as you can like washing your hands frequently, eating foods that boost your immune system and walking. Yes, your commitment to your walking routine is helping you keep healthy. Studies show that people who walk for exercise experience half as many colds as those who don’t, and when they do get colds they last shorter.

Also, use your healthy days to build or add to your step buffer so you will have enough steps to complete your challenge or step goal. Walking an extra 10 to 15 minutes a day – about 1,000-1,500 steps a day – is a great way to “bank” some steps.

But, if you do come down with a cold or flu, do the “neck test” to see if your body is up for exercise:

  • If your symptoms are above the neck – like a runny nose or sore throat – slow to moderate exercise is okay.
  • If your symptoms are below the neck – chest congestion, hacking cough – it’s better to rest and gradually return to walking when you are feeling better.
  • If you have a fever, chills, body aches, or upset stomach – don’t exercise.

And, when you return to your walking routine, do it gradually and use the steps you “banked” to help get you back on track. Listen to your body during your walk and throughout the day. Watch for signs of fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc., and make adjustments.

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Are you Walking Right? (Infograph)

Download this Walking Infograph for placing in your home or workplace.

Then check out the tips under the infograph on how to how to measure the intensity of your walk.

Measure the intensity of your workout
As you walk, measure the intensity. Knowing your level allows you to increase the intensity to maximize your workout or slow down to avoid overdoing it.

The Talk Test is one way to rate your intensity. You should aim for Moderate to Hard Effort.

  • Very light effort – you can carry on a conversation and talk in sentences
  • Moderate effort – you can talk, but not in full sentences
  • Hard effort – you can talk, but would rather not
  • Very, very hard effort – you cannot say a word

Keep track of your progress
Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Just think how good you’ll feel when you see how many miles you’ve walked each week, month or year.

Reference your walking using the Walkingspree pedometer activity tracking. Your walking history can all be found when you upload and sign in.

Cool down after each walking session
To reduce stress on your heart and muscles, end each walking session by walking slowly for about five minutes. Then, repeat your stretches.

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A Valentine’s Day Wish

We hope you enjoy this video and will share it with your loved ones as you continue to take steps everyday to live a longer and healthier life. What better way to say “I Love You”!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Walkingspree!

If you have trouble viewing the video below, please try our alternate video version.

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Walk for a healthier heart

women walkingSometimes thought of as a “man’s disease”, women account for nearly 50 percent of all heart disease deaths. Each year, more women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. And a greater percentage of women die within one year of a heart attack than men.

Fortunately, reducing your risk factors – not smoking, nutrition, diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, inactivity, excessive weight, and stress – will go a long way in reducing your risk of heart disease.

Studies show that walking briskly will reduce coronary heart disease risk in women by 30 to 40 percent. Even those who walk at a slower pace have a 32 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with those who don’t walk at all.

By walking 30 minutes every day you can strengthen your heart and reduce your risk of heart disease. By walking every day you will:

  • Improve your circulation
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Reduce stress
  • Help you reach and maintain a healthy weight

Here is a success story we’d like to share from Velda:

Since I began the Walkingspree program I have lost inches around my waist, lowered my blood pressure which in turn lowered my chances of heart disease which has affected my family. So I am grateful for the motivation that the Walkingspree program has provided me with to make me a healthier Me!

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Attacking cholesterol through diet and exercise

Haagen Dazs Fat Free Frozen YogurtPotato chips, burgers, ice cream or butter drenched baked potatoes. If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, these are some of the many foods you may want to avoid or reduce your intake.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, you are not alone. According to the American Heart Association, 107 million, or 1 in 5 adults, has cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL. A level above 200 is borderline high and extreme levels, those above 240, are at risk for heart disease. The association recommends no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. And if you already have high cholesterol, they recommend staying below 200 mg.

LDL cholesterol (think L for LOUSY cholesterol) clogs vessels while HDL (think H for HEALTHY) helps remove plaque from your blood stream.

A low cholesterol diet and exercise is one way to reduce your levels. Research shows that losing 10 pounds can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5 to 8 percent and regular exercise increases HDL cholesterol.

There are a lot of foods one should limit when trying to lower cholesterol intake, but what foods should you eat? Actually, the following foods can help improve your cholesterol numbers.

  • Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods
  • Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Foods with added plant sterols or stanols, such as beta-sitosterol and -sitostanol (typically found in margarine spreads such as Promise activ or Benecol)

Also, there are tasty alternatives to foods you love, so …

  • Instead of potato chips (which have 10.6g of total fat, 3.1g of sat. fat)
    try Multigrain SunChips (5.9 total fat, 1 g sat. fat)
  • Instead of a broiled ground beef burger (20.1g total fat, 7.6g sat. fat, 1.4 g trans fat)
    try a veggie burger like Morningstar Farms(3.5g total fat, 0.5g sat. fat, 0g trans fat)
  • Instead of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream (14g total fat, 8g sat. fat, cholesterol 75 mg)
    try Ben & Jerry’s hard fat-free frozen yogurt (0g total fat, 0g sat. fat, cholesterol 15 mg).
  • Instead of a pat of butter (2.3g total fat, 1.4g sat. fat, 6mg cholesterol)
    try some fat free yogurt which has practically no fat or cholesterol.
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