is just a happy by-product of exercise,
not the end game.
There have been too many times I’ve lost weight and then once I reached that goal, I got complacent and guess what, the weight came right back, far easier than it was to take off!
Back to the drawing board for me so… no matter what your fitness level the least expensive and highly effective way to maintain or ramp up that level is by walking.
To keep myself accountable and to help others reach their health and fitness goals, I’ve started a walking group called The Foothills Mile Markers. We’ll meet at 7:30am every morning, Monday through Friday, rain or shine at a local fitness trail. The only time we’ll not meet is if the weather is so bad the schools close.
Everyone is welcome to join me. If you are not in my area, consider starting a walking group where you are. Here’s some tips on how
You likely already know the health benefits of walking. Here’s what else you get when you walk with others:
Simple 4-part fitness test
One of my intentions is to associate exercise with losing inches and gaining flexibility, strength and stamina. Therefore we’ll be tracking everyone’s progress at the start and every two weeks with this simple 4-part fitness test.
Waist Measurement: Using a cloth tape measure, measure the waist just above the hips. Record your waist size.
Sit & Reach:
- Place a yardstick on the floor. Secure it by placing a piece of tape across the yardstick at the 15-inch (38-centimeter) mark.
- Place the soles of your feet even with the mark on the yardstick.Ask a helper to place his or her hands on top of your knees to anchor them.
- Reach forward as far as you can, holding the position for two seconds.
- Note the distance you reached.
- Repeat the test two more times.
- Record the best of the three reaches.
Push Ups: From the toes or knees with arms straight, hands under your shoulders, see how many pushups you can do to a measured count of down, hold, up, one, down, hold, up, two, etc. Record how many you can do.
Ab Crunches: On your back with your knees bent, feet shoulder width apart, place hands sort of cupping your ears. Belly button in, exhale & contract the abdominals, keeping neck straight and raise your shoulders off the ground to a count of up, hold, down (inhale) one, up, hold, down (inhale), two, etc. Record how many you can do.
Always remember to stretch before and after your walk to help prevent injuries. Here’s 5 easy stretches. Ease into each until you feel the tension in the muscle you want to stretch and hold until it feels looser.
- Calf stretch: Stand at arms length and lean against a wall or fence. Put one leg straight back and the other bent underneath you. Keep back straight and lean hips forward. Keep rear leg straight with heel on ground. Repeat for other leg.
- Side stretch: Stand and stretch both arms over head reaching as high as you can. Drop and rest your right hand at your hip and bend to the right while reaching your left arm overhead for a count of 10, then repeat for your left side.
- Torso twist: Stand with both arms out to side with elbows slightly bent. Feet should be at shoulder width or slightly wider. Twist your torso to the right and then the left, alternating back and forth slowly.
- Quadriceps (thigh): While leaning against a wall, reach back with your left hand and grab your right ankle. Pull your foot back and up toward your buttocks. (If this is easy, pull your foot back and up away from your buttocks.) Repeat for other side.
- Hamstrings (back of legs): Put your right leg out about 18 inches from your body with toe pointed up. Bend your left leg slightly. Reach down with both hands toward your right foot. Repeat for other side.
The camaraderie you experience in a walking group and the shared fitness success can help you walk your way to better health.
The Foothills Mile Markers walking group is free, but I ask everyone to chip $5 each week into a kitty. Each month half of the kitty will be donated to the Tryon Youth Center and the other half divided and rewarded as follows:
- Most Inches Lost
- Most Improved Fitness
Getting support from others by walking together will actually help us stick with our health and fitness goals.
Each day we show up makes winners of all of us!