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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Eat Smart! Celebrate the benefits of tea during National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month and on a cold wintery day, nothing can be more refreshing than a steaming cup of tea.

A cup of tea has many health benefits

Tea contains antioxidants, has less caffeine than coffee and actually keeps you hydrated.

It is the second most popular beverage in the world, behind water. All tea – be it white, green, black or oolong – comes from the same plant and all varieties are beneficial. The difference is in the processing. For example, white tea is harvested from young plants. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and has more amounts of polyphenols than black or oolong tea.

Research shows that the amount of polyphenols in 4-6 cups of green tea a day can lower risks of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. But do not add milk to your tea. German researchers have found that milk blocks the beneficial polyphenols in tea.

Tea has no calories plus it has a third less caffeine than coffee, about 30 milligrams. Green tea may even help boost your metabolism slightly. In a small study, participants burned about 65 more calories a day when they drank tea as compared to an equal amount of water. The study also reported a significant increase in fat oxidation (turning fat into energy) with tea over water.

Drinking 4 cups of tea not only hydrates as well as a liter of water, but is a great antioxidant, protects the immune system, guards against a variety of cancers and even boost your metabolism.

And with flu and cold season upon us, there is nothing more soothing than drinking a cup of hot tea.

Brewing the perfect cup of tea

Take your pick – white, green, black or oolong – and brew a pot of refreshing and healthy tea. The key to a great cup of tea is in the brewing time – longer does not make it better, it makes it bitter. Follow these simple four steps to a great cup of tea.

1) Place one bag or one teaspoon of leaves for each 8 oz. cup of water in your cup or teapot.

2) Heat the water in a kettle, boiling for black tea, hot, not boiling for white or green tea.

3) Pour over the tea and step away from the cup or pot. Resist all temptation to dunk the bag or stir the leaves during the brewing process.

4) Keep an eye on the clock – it only takes a few minutes.

Suggested brew times:

  • White: 4-5 minutes
  • Green: 1-2 minutes
  • Black: 2-3 minutes
  • Oolong : 3 minutes
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10 healthy things to do when it’s cold outside

Unrelenting winter weather might be keeping you stuck indoors during these cold months. Though it may seem easier to hibernate than hustle to hit your daily step goal, it most certainly is not the healthiest alternative. Stay active and hit your walking goals with these ten simple, tried and true activities.

1. Go mall walking. You might just be surprised at how many steps you get in by spending the afternoon strolling the mall. We aren’t looking to speed walk the mall in record time but to get up, get out and get moving. Shopping optional!

2. Run up and down stairs. Of course, not everyone has a set of stairs at their house but keep this in mind if you do. Run up and down your stairs for 10 sets of 10. You don’t have to do it all at once, but say every hour on the hour, sprint up and walk down your stairs. If you can’t sprint, walk it. No stairs, no problem. Find a sturdy chair or stool you can step up and off of.

3. Clean the house. You’ll be surprised how many steps you can get in cleaning your house from top to bottom. Our modest home with two floors easily adds 5,000 steps in just a few hours time. Bonus: you’ll enjoy staying inside a freshly cleaned house.

4. Do bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to get in additional movement, but don’t let it replace your workouts. We aren’t looking to fatigue the muscles, but to use them, get the blood flowing and the heart rate up. Jumping jacks, lunges, burpees, pushups, squats etc. are all exercises you can do with no equipment.

5. Ski. Snowboard. Snowshoe. Yep, if you are bundled up with the appropriate outdoor apparel, you can head outdoors and enjoy winter sports. If you don’t know how, take a lesson. Don’t have the equipment, rent it.

6. Go sledding. Going down a big hill with snow being thrown in your face can be exhilarating. So can walking up the hill once you get to the bottom. Sledding is hard work. Golf courses usually have some great hills.

7. Play hide and seek. This is not just a game for kids. While this doesn’t provide a whole lot of movement, it is still more activity than sitting on the couch.

8. Go to the gym. Unless you are snowed in, the cold is no excuse to skip the gym. We realize it can feel like a chore, to warm up the car, bundle up, and traipse through a snowy parking lot while your cheeks are freezing, but make the best of it. Hit the weights, maybe walk a little on the treadmill afterwards, then instead of rushing to get home, use the sauna, steam room or hot tub. Instead of a quick, get in, get out mentality, if you are putting in the effort to get to the gym, take the time to reward yourself  with a little pampering when your workout is complete.

9. Self-Myofascial Release. Most of you are like, what the heck is that. If you haven’t heard of self-myofascial release (SMR), it is a form of self-massage done with a foam roller. The benefits of SMR are many, correcting muscle imbalances, improving joint range of motion, relieving muscle soreness to name a few. You can roll just about every muscle in your body.

10. Rearrange the furniture. As long as you are going to be cleaning your house, why not move the furniture along with it? Not only is moving heavy furniture a great workout, it can lift your moods as well. If you don’t like change, then when you are cleaning, be sure to pull the furniture away from the wall and vacuum behind it.

This list is of course not meant to be all-inclusive but just some ideas. If you live in a cold climate and find yourself sitting instead of moving, give one of these a try. Now it’s your turn… what is your trick to packing the most steps into your day? Especially when the weather doesn’t call for a walk around the neighborhood?

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