walking away

As we grow older and wiser, we begin to realize what we need and what we need to leave behind. Sometimes walking away is a step forward.

 

It is time for me to move on, step away from my walking blog. My path is nudging me in other directions.

Developing this blog has been one of the most rewarding and transforming experiences I’ve done for myself in quite a long time. I do believe I have become a new person.

Shedding old skin is never easy. Breaking out of it though, is the most energetic feeling in the world.

Lucky me! I have spent time with an old friend each day. The old friend turned out to be a part of my original self. An original self that was buried and dormant. I am so happy to be back in touch with this part of me. I felt like the blog held my hand through a period of my life in which a big change took place. A change that put me on a path to find my original me. Voila! It worked! Here I am, a newly bloomed person, open to possibility, and ready to become whatever I’m to be next. So…

I might be back and I might not. For now, it seems fitting to leave with a quote from Brian Andreas…

She left pieces of her behind her everywhere she went. It is easier to feel sunlight without them , she said.

Gratitude to all for the support.

Please keep walking and talking, especially with yourself.

Peace out until the next time.

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strawberry moon walk

Last week the media was buzzing about the ‘strawberry full moon’ destined to arrive in our area on Tuesday night. The farmer’s almanac says it is so named because it signals time for the June strawberries. (Hmm, I  did notice mine are budding like crazy.)

My spouse and I were very fortunate because on the very night of the strawberry moon we had the pleasure of dining out with a friend. As it turned out, we walked from our friend’s house into her suburb’s lively downtown area to have our dinner. After a satisfying meal, we decided to take advantage of the warm evening temperatures and the rising strawberry moon with a late night stroll around the town.

Our nightcap wander led us up a little hill where we could look down on the downtown park which was teeming with all sorts of activity. The evening lights twinkled on the basketball courts full of twenty somethings prancing and practicing their hoop dreams under the stars. The luminescent volleyball nets wiggled and jiggled with dumps and dinks, spikes and blocks, and the golden sand of the outdoor courts sprayed and splayed up into the sky, almost dancing on the moonbeams. Frisbees were gliding softly across stretches of green lawn, and bicycles pedaled piously around the pavement. The nighttime air so invigorating that we were all the same age.

An empty outdoor theater in the round beckoned. To sit for a moment, and wonder…could we be the actors upon its inviting stage?

More interested in the moon than anything else we watched it rise above the treeline, full and bright. Maybe, just maybe… it had a slight tinge of strawberry. That’s all we needed!

With a couple silly selfies to commemorate our adventure, we were off again strolling back to my friend’s house. There was something about walking and talking in the dark night that made our conversations richer and deeper.

I was reminded how much I love taking walks at night with my friends. If you haven’t had a night time walk with some friends you might want to work your way into one, I highly recommend it!

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walking speed may someday predict longevity

Happy June!

I like to think of June as Pre-Summer, when the the days and nights are long and intoxicating. This is a perfect time to change up a walking pattern.

My focus this month will be on increasing my interval duration, not a lot, but just enough to keep my heart rate in the zone a bit longer. Last month I started 3 minute intervals of slow walk – fast walk – jog. I’ve noticed my average heart rate is beginning to adapt and come down. (Yay!)

Going forward, I’ve decided to alternate between three and four minute intervals of slow jog – walk. My goal is threefold…to tinker with my mile times, to burn some more calories, and to continue to improve my training heart rate. I want to vary my weekly routine – alternating short duration and long duration training days. I will schedule interval walks for 30 minutes at least three times a week, and hour long four milers on the other days.

With all of my prior conditioning, increasing my walk speed might be good for my longevity. (Someday)

A 2011 walking study in the Journal of American Medical Association states

Gait speed has been recommended as a potentially useful clinical indicator of well-being among the older adults. 

The authors suggest this is because

Walking requires energy, movement control, and support and places demands on multiple organ systems, including the heart, lungs, circulatory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems. Slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high-energy cost of walking.

This study is one of the first to find a direct relationship between walking speed, health, and longevity for people over 75.

Science is quick to point out that gait speed may have potential for medical interventions, but it is too soon to tell how this information can be used for the greatest effect. In other words, we shouldn’t be urging those septuagenarians to get out and power walk just yet. But for doctors, tracking a person’s walking speed over time could be an indicator of a potential health problem.

The benefits of walking keep growing.

Slow and over time it may not be such a bad idea to…

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the trees wear sweaters in Evanston

Last weekend, my walk took me through a portion of downtown Evanston. I detoured away from the Lake to see what was going on near the coffee shops. I couldn’t help but notice many of the tree trunks and branches were full of color. Not just the usual spring color, but a fabulous homemade intertwine of rope color. My new route was already proving to be mildly psychedelic!

Passing close by one of the trees, I could see it was adorned with a novel type of sapling stitchery. Macrame? Crochet? A random hybrid of colorful cord lacery? I’m not sure. Upon closer inspection of the artwork, I could see flowers and plastic fasteners embellishing and attaching the disconnected parts of the adorable wrap. Someone obviously cared a great deal about this tree and their interlaced weave of multicolored timber cloak.

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What a lovely and tender way to honor trees!

As I continued on, I looked for any hint or explanation for why the trees were so decorated. Was the breeze off the Lake too much for them this year? Were they sick? Could this be some college student’s community project? I could find nothing.

The next tree I passed, looked as if it were wearing braided leg/branch warmers. The cordage had been thoughtfully applied in a warm, kaleidoscope of jazzy fashion. My imagination wondered…Art or necessity? Project or providence? My mind reminded me…this is just the sort of thing one would find in Evanston. A conscious and caring community, tolerant, diverse, youthful, yet, classy. Not just a patron of the arts, but a place where nature and art live and breathe on the same street.

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If you take a second look at the above picture, you will see another tree (across the street) also conspicuous in a very vibrant trunk wrap.

All the trees on the block were wearing these sweaters! Too many to photograph. A mystery with no explanation.

Oh well, maybe someday I’ll find out, but for now – who cares? I’m content to immerse my walk in the lovely spirit of Evanston.

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time to make a walking schedule

When the summer breezes begin to blow, they never fail to whisper “tennis” in my ear. I can’t wait for the first warm days, when I can grab my racket and bounce the luminous green ball on the deep sky blue of the court. The sunshine makes my ‘older than the hills’ game seem crisp and new, the boundary lines are fat and white, my shots spin and pop off the racket, my footwork is spry and hopeful. As I look forward to the upcoming season, I can’t stop thinking “I will be a beast this year!”

I also love the big tennis tournaments that are broadcast on major television networks – the French, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. I follow tennis players like teens follow pop stars – what are the popular shots this year? How are they conditioning? And, most important -what are they wearing?!! Yep, I have been a devout student of the game since I was fourteen years old, it’s in my DNA.

I especially love the French Open which is taking place now. The French is extra fun to watch because the clay surface is like a crumbly, chocolate, graham cracker crust. Players can chase after a ball and then finish with a graceful slide or dramatic chasse. On this type of surface, the athleticism of tennis closely resembles dance, with a little bit of the food network thrown in!

Maria Sharapova is a French Open favorite. Having won the tournament two times, she is the defending women’s champion this year. Recently, I stumbled upon this quote of hers, and for some reason it has stuck in my mind…

I don’t follow other players or the tournaments they play. I have my own schedule and do my own thing. I never really think, ‘Oh, I want to be or play like so-and -so.’ I just like being myself.  -Maria Sharapova

When I first started playing tennis as a nerdy kid in grammar school, I would make a monthly schedule of shots I wanted to practice and learn. I would include days for serving, days for conditioning and days for whatever strategies Billie Jean King and Chrissie Evert were using. This helped me focus on specifics and kept my practices from getting boring. (What can I say? I was a nerd then and I am still *proudly* one today.) Eventually, I evolved into finding my own game. The schedule helped me find my own rhythm and kept me committed. It reinforced “my thing” and I was the boss.

Schedule "me time" and stick to it! As moms we don't have the time, we have to make it! YOU are important too!
With summer about to open its big wide door of extra time, this is the perfect moment to make a walking schedule. Find a weekly chart and write in times and types of walks you would like to do. In this way, walking becomes a priority, “your thing that you do for you, your way.” Take a moment to creatively plan for a variety of short, long, beach, interval, park, neighborhood, lunch time, after dinner, meet a friend type of walks to alleviate any boredom in the routine. Be your own personal trainer!

work out planner, every day it says gym...or walk the dog for a longggg time

If you find success in one week of planning, go out on a limb and try planning for one month. It’s amazing how good one feels checking off completed walks. Making a schedule just might move you through the summer without thinking or effort. Like Maria, you are happy being yourself in your own style!

The very best part of a preplanned schedule is when you need a sick day. We all need a day off every now and then. With a schedule, if you miss a day you can always get back into your routine – immediately. One day off doesn’t turn into a week off or quitting altogether. You give yourself permission to let go of one day and then…you resume the schedule!  What a great way to prioritize your health.

motivate yourself

life is short, stretch your time with a walk

Walking takes longer than any other form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed.  – Edward Abbey

We speed through life. (I have sped through life.) In America we can’t help it. Our culture wants us to get going as soon as possible. Babies demolish developmental benchmarks. Toddlers and tweens begin competing for high flying education tracts. Teenagers accumulate advanced placement classes and college kids need to have their first job lined up before graduation.

Then we work. And our work is who we are. We devote ourselves to the organization, to coworkers and those we service. We begin to chase time. At some point we realize we chase time because we want it all – the home, the family, the car and vacations.

It is during the vacation, when we finally have time to slow our pace and reflect. We allow ourselves time to pause and wonder “why does life go by so fast?” So, we buy a t-shirt from a tourist gift shop which reminds us…

                                 Amazing quote. Put yourself first... not talking about the ego.. but YOU. Do something spontaneous today... listen to your heart!Life is too short to be anything bu happy    ~  #life  #quote  #taolife
                                         We ALL like coffee, can it be HEALTHY? www.javabyeva.organogold.comLife is too short to not do these 25 things

And we return to work. For the next 20 or 25 years we juggle all of it. We begin to get the mantra in our head that “time is money.” They tell us we will need a lot of money for this and that, especially if we ever want to slow down or stop. We wear our “life is short” t-shirt when we hurry off to the gym or the grocery store, or our volunteer commitment. We may even sleep in it because in America we get really tired, we are stressed because the competition of the fast track (or any track) never ends. Seriously, we aren’t lazy, we are usually exhausted from chasing the time to get more of the money. We begin to forget how to slow down. Then one day, we lose the t-shirt from our vacation in the laundry that we don’t have time to fold.

My advice for today and the weekend comes from Simon and Garfunkel…

“Slow down, you move to fast. You got to make the morning last. Just kicking down the cobble stones. Lookin’ for fun and feeling groovy.”

This weekend, take off the life is too short t-shirt. Try to spend some time outdoors and go for a walk. Take in the beauty of this marvelous May. Slow down and see if you can find the feelin’ groovy in life. Stretch your time and lengthen your life with a walk. That’s the t-shirt we need…

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exercise improves sleep improves exercise

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.  – Walt Whitman

We all enter phases of our life when we can’t sleep. When laying in bed is like listening to a clothes dryer with shoes tumbling inside. When the worries or events of the day continue to circulate, thumping and clunking back and forth, around and around through our brain as we lay in the silence, anxiously awaiting the annoying cycle of the night to end.

There are many causes for insomnia, some include:
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Jet lag
  • Aging
  • Depression
  • Pain

The good news…studies indicate exercise improves sleep improves exercise!

Yes, regular exercise can help manage insomnia. And, regular exercise in the fresh air works even better. But wait, there’s more – regular exercise in the fresh air and early morning sunlight is the best antidote for sleeplessness.

It’s true, exposure to early-morning sunlight can help you sleep at night. Taking a walk in some direct sunlight outdoors for at least one-half hour produces the most benefit.

So, before you search the shelves of the local pharmacy in comatose desperation for a helpful, short term sleep aid, try this alternative, natural prescription – one dose of a 30 minute early morning sunlight infused walk, four times a week, at 75% of maximum HR for about 16 weeks.

Pair the walking with a program of sleep hygiene education and odds are those nights full of wakefulness will disappear – permanently!

Of course taking a pill is faster, involves far less commitment and behavior change, and does the trick for a short term emergency. But long term – there are those nasty side effects which develop over time. The body builds up a tolerance, the mind becomes psychologically dependent and eventually, the pill loses effectiveness, interfering with the bodies ability to naturally fall asleep. The insomniac is back to square one.

Studies indicate it takes at least sixteen weeks of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity to improve sleep quality. Long term side effects – a fitter body, a healthier heart and reduced stress and anxiety. Sounds like Walt Whitman had the right idea!

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