motivation

“The dog that trots about finds a bone”  Golda Meir

Even though fitness, wellness, health and athletic performance are and have always been my interest, every once in awhile I find myself in need of some motivation – especially with walking.

For the greater part of my life, I have chased, caught, thrown, hit, bumped and kicked all sorts of balls, birds (as in shuttlecocks) and discs. I have completed all kinds of aerobic and anaerobic fitness challenges which have included some form of jogging, running, stepping, swimming, climbing, hiking, cycling, skiing, shoeing, lifting and I have always used sport and individual competitions and new activities to keep myself from getting bored or burnt out. There have been times when I have lost myself so much in chasing down a tennis ball, I know I must have been a labrador retriever in a previous life! Participating in sports has always, always made me happy, and training for them – never a chore.

I now find myself at a point in time where a life of all of this incredible action packed activity has left me with body complaint.  A term I’ve coined to describe a body unwilling to participate in any more sports or intense training without waking up the next morning with a nagging skeletal hangover. I suppose this could also be arthritis. The tricky thing about arthritis is – it is a fine line between not enough and too much exercise. Trying to keep myself motivated with walking and to find the right balance, I’ve recently come across a very good book which has given me some daily incentives. The book is The First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds.

first 20 minutes copy

In the book, Gretchen shares some of the latest research in exercise science to stimulate the reader to begin moving – for the brain, for longevity and for overall health. For example in the first chapter, she describes the value of  high intensity interval training (HIIT) to be done in the first 20 minutes. Even walking can be done with intensity in mind. By walking three minutes at an extremely brisk pace, followed by three minutes of slower striding with repetitions of that set for five or six times, one should be able to get the heart rate elevated to about 70 percent of the maximum heart rate. A study is cited in the book which directly links walking and the incidence of colon cancer among women. “Women who walked briskly for five – six hours per week were much less likely to develop the disease then those who strolled for thirty minutes per week.” Since my Mom died prematurely at 48 years old of colon cancer, the results of this study grabbed my attention.

I think I’ve found my bone -I mean motivation – to set a goal in which I explore walking with intervals.

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