Cool Tips to Make Your Autumn Walks the Best Walks Ever!

I will confess freely and openly: I LOVE WALKING IN THE FALL! It’s my favorite time of year to get my walk on. The more hours I can be outside walking, the happier I am. I think I store up the Vitamin D, the golden light, the smells and sounds to replay and re-experience during winter’s long dark hours. Although winter walking is really fantastic too if you know how to layer, which brings me to my cool tips for you, the first of which is layering.

I’m a fan of being comfortable when I’m walking and the key is layering. I keep it simple and make sure I have a warmish layer (fleece or a light wool sweater) to which I can add a windbreaker--with a hood. I carry light gloves and an ear band or hat in case the temps drop or the wind really picks up. I’m more of a fan of hiking pants than jeans or leggings/tights, the main reason for that being versatility and pockets. And on my feet? Lightweight hiking boots with good support and socks that fit and wick.

This combination of layers is lightweight, easy to grab and go, and keeps me comfortable for a power walk or a full day of outdoor exploration. Layering is the key.

My next tip has to do with the two essentials for autumn walking: water and your camera! We too often neglect hydration when the summer heat is gone. That’s a huge mistake! Take water with you and drink it often. If I’m going for a power walk I’ll hydrate before I start and make sure I drink a full glass when I return. If I’m out for the day, I carry at least two liters with me.

And your camera is critical this time of year. The golden light--the incredible color of trees, the slow revealing of the contours of the land as the leaves fall away--capture all of this because this fleeting season is truly one of the most beautiful! The camera on your phone is more than adequate to record your walk so that you’ll have a visual memory later on. Do this--you’ll be so glad you did!

My last tip is to walk at different times of day and in different places. Get a group of pals together for a sunrise walk in your local park or snag your significant other for a weekend away. The light at sunrise and late afternoon to sunset is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and worthy of some effort. And a lunchtime walk under fall’s blue sky is a walk to remember and be grateful for.

There is a sense of aliveness that comes with being outside during this transition season. A glow about the day that you bring back inside with you and keep going with a fire and a sense of satisfaction. Revel in these golden days by layering up or down for comfort, hydrating, walking wherever and whenever, and capturing the moments that speak to you. They’ll speak to you for years to come.

Happy walking!

National Walk to School Day

Today is National Walk to School Day. Communities all across the U.S. will celebrate the benefits of walking to school today. Many of those communities will use today’s celebration and awareness to create safe walking and biking routes for their children and youth. It’s a good day!

Growing up on Signal Mountain, outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, we walked to school when the weather was good. The school bus stop was at the street corner just by my house but on nice days, walking to school was a neighborhood thing. We were an ever expanding group of kids walking the the blocks to our local elementary school. I remember scuffling along through leaves with friends, watching for the crossing guards at roadways, and the elbowing to get to the water fountain before the first bell rang.

Walking home from school was something I looked forward to. The same group of neighborhood kids would gather up and walk home together. Many were joined by their very enthusiastic dogs as they got close to home. We were a big pack of kids and dogs, heading homeward, dropping off by ones and twos at our homes or the homes of our friends. I recall that I felt free, I felt at peace, I daydreamed and walked and the stress of the school day disappeared.

Granted that was a long, long, time ago and times have changed. But the sensation of bookmarking my school day with a welcomed walk has stayed with me.

I’m obviously a fan of National Walk to School Day for many reasons but they all boil down to one: health. The health of our kids, which is enhanced by walking to school. The health of our neighborhoods and communities, which is enhanced by having safe walking routes for our kids. The health of our connections to one another—the shared activity of walking to school means that we’re aware of our neighbors, aware of what’s going on in our neighborhoods, aware of and caring of, one another.

National Walk to School Day is a good thing. Let me know on the 1MWW FB page if your community is participating—I’d love to hear from you and learn how your community is getting its walk on.

Seen on My Walk: Lake Tahoe!

It’s been 35+ years since I’ve been to Lake Tahoe and my memories from that time are vague at best. I recall Ponderosa pines, an enormous vibrant blue lake, big mountains, and some ski runs. Fast forward to early September of this year and I was wowed in the best way!

I was in Tahoe on a combined business/pleasure trip—more of an emphasis on pleasure truth be told. A wedding and the opportunity to spend time with old friends plus the incredible bonus of seeing my daughter took me from Nashville to Tahoe via Salt Lake City, Reno, and a little drive through Nevada. I am (and most likely always will be) amazed at how we can travel across this enormous country in a day. Incredible! Delta Airlines you were fantastic.

My time in Tahoe was too short but the time I had I spent wisely! The best hours were spent walking on the beach with two of my favorite people whom I love dearly and hadn’t seen in seven years! It may seem a small thing but in reality it’s a huge thing. Years from now I’ll remember the feeling of that walk—the joy in being with old friends, the awe I always feel in the presence of natural beauty, the coarse sand underfoot, the wonderful wind off the lake on a hot summer day, and the deliciously cold water. (Yes I did a bit of aggressive “wading”!)

What a wonderful experience to travel across the country, find old friends in a new(ish) place, and create a vital memory. Next time I’m in Tahoe—and there will be a next time—I’ll walk these memory miles with a smile on my face, joy in my heart and soul, and gratitude that something as simple as walking can be so profoundly powerful.

Walking makes life better—get your walk on!

P.S. I’ve shared more photos from my Lake Tahoe walk on the One Million Women Walking FB page. Jump on over and see if you recognize that handsome fellow next to me!

Where To Walk When You Travel for Work.

One of the big conundrums we walking women face is where to walk when we travel for work. We want to stick with our Self-care basics--moving more throughout the day and a brisk daily walk of at least 25 minutes--but sometimes travel makes that goal a bit more challenging than we’d like. Here’s a few tips to keep you walking no matter where you are!

First of all, airports = walking! And sometimes that walking is speed walking pulling a carry-on and throwing in moves worthy of a running back. If that’s not a walking workout then I don’t know what one is. Do not discount the walking you do at the airport just because it’s not your “normal” routine. You’re on your feet and you’re moving--that counts!

If you have time before your flight or significant layovers during your travel, use those minutes/hours to move more! Many airports have relatively empty concourses and gorgeous art displays. On a recent trip I walked through the Salt Lake City, Reno, and Atlanta airports for a cumulative 8 hours. As a result I got in my walk, I moved more, and I wasn’t too jet-lagged even though one of my flights was a red-eye.

Walk at airports and stand when you’re waiting for your flight and, once you’re on the plane, commit to being THAT passenger who gets up and walks every 30 minutes. Remember that after just 30 minutes of sitting, your metabolism has slowed by 90%. You need to get up and move to reset your body, refresh your thinking, and renew your spirit.

The biggest tip I can give you to guarantee walking at your destination is to plan ahead just a bit. The first step is to make sure that your hotel has a gym or workout room. This is a must! Then, before your trip, call the front desk of the hotel where you’re staying and ask the following questions:

  • Do your treadmills or ellipticals work? (This is an important question!)

  • Is there a park nearby that’s safe for walking?

  • Is there anywhere else nearby that you’d recommend for walking?

If the treadmills are working, you have guaranteed walking--that’s the perfect fallback. However, if your schedule allows for it and the front desk was able to recommend some local walking areas, map them out in advance online, pack for the weather, and look forward to seeing some new sights while you’re there. Just make sure that the areas are true walking areas: well lit, accessible, safe, and beautiful!

Also, hotels have stairs and halls! Use the stairs more than the elevator and do some extra laps down the hall past your room to get in a bit more walking. These little extra steps add up! In fact, I’ve used hotel stairs and halls as my workout on more than one occasion when the weather was horrible and the gym’s treadmills were all being used. A little creativity and determination go a long way when you’re traveling!

My last tip is to make sure you stand and move more throughout your day, even if your day is filled with meetings or day long conferences. Do your best to get up every 30 minutes and walk briskly down the hall and back, to the water fountain, to the ladies room etc. This won’t feel like your normal pattern but make it your normal travel pattern and commit to doing what you can, where you can, when you can.

Travel doesn’t have to disrupt your health and wellness if you plan ahead and stay determined and committed to caring for yourSelf every day. Get your walk on when you travel for work and let me know how it goes in the comments here or at One Million Women Walking on Facebook. I can’t wait to walk with you!

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Making a Decision That Really Changes Your Life

You’re at your favorite coffee shop deciding whether you’re going to order a cappuccino or an espresso. You like them both and you know either one will be made and delivered right away. Ahhh--immediate gratification. So the decision here really boils down to which one you're in the mood for.

Other decisions, like deciding to lose weight, get in shape, and build your self- confidence, can’t be dependent on whether you’re in the mood or not. They are going to take time. And dedication. And commitment. Alas, your coffee will be long gone.

Here’s the difference between a coffee decision and a life-changer--with a life- changer aka a change in habits--you need to return to the core of the decision over and over again as you feel yourself wavering/faltering. You need to decide to really change your life and stick with that decision over time. Deciding something, truly deciding is a profound act--it’s your promise to yourself. It sets your intent for what’s to come and holds you in that intent.

Wanting to change something about your life means you are yearning for the life transformation it will bring you. What’s required is that you give yourself the opportunity for that transformation to take place. If you can’t do this as the first key step, you will sabotage yourself.

There are four steps you'll need to take to avoid the trap of self-sabotage. They are:

  • Be willing to take action.
  • Be willing to suspend judgement of yourself and whatever process you're using to make the change.
  • Be willing to give the process the time required for change to take place.
  • Be willing to ask for and receive help when you need it.
     

I won’t insult you by telling you change is easy if you're "really committed". Commitment is a big component of making a lasting change but it's certainly not the whole picture. To succeed you need to open your life to the entire opportunity for true change. Go into the experience open-hearted and open-minded and willing to practice the four steps I just mentioned. By doing so, you give yourself the gifts of time, energy, and curiosity that will create the changes you yearn for and so richly deserve. Most of us self-sabotage because we simply don't give change all of the resources it needs: time, energy, curiosity, and our willingness. And please, please ask for help! Going it alone is a sure way to fail!

Think seriously about the following questions when you are considering making a change in your life. These questions are a great way of testing your readiness and commitment to the change you want. Ask yourself:

  • Am I truly ready to take action?
  • Am I truly ready to suspend judgment of myself and this process?
  • Am I truly ready to give this change the time it requires?
  • Am I truly ready to ask for and receive help when I need it?

If you can answer yes to these questions then you're ready to change and ready for your change to succeed. True change requires a decision that you make over and over again during the change process. Back your decision up with appropriate action and thinking during the time required and make sure you get the help you need when you need it. Then and only then will you realize the change you want. 

Let's get changing!

Walking Old Paths and Finding New Joy

I've been away for most of the month of June. I was house sitting for my amazing mom while she was in Alaska for three weeks. Mom lives in Hudson, Wisconsin, which is just twenty minutes from Stillwater, Minnesota--the town I lived in for the better part of the last twenty-five years.

During my time in the Upper Midwest I reveled in the springtime weather--warm days, cool nights and long nights by the way. Sunsets lingered well toward 9 PM, which felt wonderfully indulgent when spent out walking or on the screened porch with a glass of wine.

I walked many times in Stillwater, daily in Hudson, and I took one big hike in Afton State Park to film an episode of Wander on Purpose. Here's the link: Wander on Purpose, Episode 11.

On all my walks I had that wonderful sense of having been there before but at the same time, seeing it anew because of my time away. What a wonderful way to time travel inside one's own life. I strongly encourage revisiting old paths with new eyes--it's a bit of magic!

I'll leave you with a few highlights from my time away--the bear in the neighbor's yard, the summer solstice sunset, and my geeky walking companions on Brown's Creek State Trail. I hope your summer finds you walking and smiling on paths both old and new.

 A very large bear. He was quite thrilled to find the neighbor's bird feeder. That's it in pieces at his feet--down there by his claws.

A very large bear. He was quite thrilled to find the neighbor's bird feeder. That's it in pieces at his feet--down there by his claws.

 Oh what a gorgeous way to mark the solstice. I was out walking when I took this photo! So happy to share it with you!

Oh what a gorgeous way to mark the solstice. I was out walking when I took this photo! So happy to share it with you!

 These two youngsters were doing their best to figure out the meaning of the yellow line on Brown's Creek State Trail. Shortly after I took this pic they jumped the fence and headed for the woods. Some folks just aren't meant for pavement. I completely understand . . .

These two youngsters were doing their best to figure out the meaning of the yellow line on Brown's Creek State Trail. Shortly after I took this pic they jumped the fence and headed for the woods. Some folks just aren't meant for pavement. I completely understand . . .

The Secret To Fixing, "I Want To Workout But I Don't Have Time!"

You want to workout but you don't have the time. Your 8-5 job eats up your days and the few hours you have before and after work are gobbled up and gone before you blink. But you know working out will help you feel better--mentally and physically--and you want to take care of yourself every day. You want to look and feel your best, you want to be the YOU you dream of--but your job, which keeps you sitting but earns the money you need--is the thing that's in your way. This problem is shared by millions of women every day in this country.

The secret to fixing the not enough time problem is to move more during your 8-5 work day. And no, I'm not talking about getting a standing or treadmill desk, I'm talking about doing 3 things at-work to create a rock solid foundation of health for you, starting today.

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Research has shown that moving more throughout your day is the key to being and staying truly healthy. That’s why I created the Move More program--because I want you to be healthy and stay healthy. This is the workout for women who work 8-5 and don’t have time to workout.


I’d love to help you become the YOU you dream of; get your Move More program and let’s start working together today! Learn all about it here: Move More! The Wellness Breakthrough for 8-5 Working Women Who Want to Workout But Don’t Have the Time.

P.S. Between now and Friday, May 25 you can get $20 off your Move More program by entering the savings code MM20 when you checkout!

It's National Women's Health Week!

National Women’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day every year. It’s a reminder for us to take care of ourselves ladies, and to make our health care a priority.

My belief is that health is not a static point we somehow arrive at. Health is a series of thoughts, choices, and actions throughout each day across all the days of our life.

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As women it’s very easy to say we know we should make our health care a priority but it’s another thing entirely to actually do that. We take care of our family, our friends, our work, our home and our other responsibilities before we care for ourselves. Frequently that means there’s very little time, energy, or money left for self care.

This is why I want you to start where you are today and take just a few baby steps in the direction of your health care. Today, choose to move more throughout your day. If your work mostly involves sitting at a desk, get up every 30 minutes and go for a brisk 5-minute walk. This simple action stops the damage caused by excessive sitting and will create a rock solid foundation for your health. Experts have shown that moving more throughout the day, (aka organic movement), is what humans are designed to do to be healthy. It’s that simple!

Once you’re moving more, add a 25-minute walk on your lunch break to up-level your health exponentially. This simple action can save your life. Walking lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity. And walking increases creativity, self-esteem and adds up to 7 years to your life.

Over time--just a few months--you’ll begin to see and feel changes in your body, your thinking, and your emotions.

SUMMARY:
To prioritize your health move more throughout your day and go for a 25-minute walk at lunch. Simple small steps that add up to a happy, healthy, long life.

Happy Women’s Health Week Ladies!

Move More!

Ladies, if you work 8-5 or if you run your own business, I bet this sounds familiar:

You’re:

  • Gaining weight
  • Bigger in the bottom
  • Bigger in the waist
  • Bloated
  • Constipated

And you’re feeling:

  • Frumpy
  • Exhausted
  • Overwhelmed
  • Foggy in the head
  • Depressed

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, guess what--excessive sitting is the culprit.

SITTING IS YOUR ENEMY


Excessive sitting has been linked to:

  • Heart Disease (The #1 killer of women in the United States, more than all cancers combined!)
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Muscle and joint problems plus neck and shoulder problems as well

That’s the short list and that’s enough for now except for this rather horrifying fact: after 30 minutes of sitting your metabolism has slowed 90%. (Ew, I know.)

So the reason you feel frumpy, overwhelmed, exhausted, and worried about your health and your expanding rear end is because you sit too much and you sit too much because you work 8-5 or more!

Excessive sitting is the problem! So what’s the solution? Most women believe that a hard daily workout is the solution but it’s not. Science has shown us that even a grueling workout isn’t enough to fully compensate for excessive, prolonged sitting. What is?

Moving More!

Moving more throughout your day reduces the health risks of excessive sitting. Moving more is your friend!

Science shows us:

  • Humans were not designed to sit at a desk all day hunched over a computer, even though that’s what most of us are doing!
  • Sitting all day is incredibly unnatural to our biology and our genetics.
  • Organic movement throughout our day is our natural pattern. It’s what we were designed to do.
  • Taking walking breaks (5-minute brisk walks for every 30 minutes of sitting) is the best way to offset the damage caused by sitting.
  • The first time you take a walking break, the positive effects are immediate.
  • This one small shift in your work day could save your life.

Some of the health benefits you’ll get from moving more throughout the day are:

  • Less pain
  • Less fatigue
  • Lowered risk of developing chronic diseases
  • Lowered risk of dying early
  • Reduced back pain
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood

Moving more throughout your day is as simple as taking a 5-minute walking break after you’ve been sitting for 30 minutes. Researchers have proven that this simple shift from prolonged sitting to moving more can offset the damage caused by sitting because it returns us to a pattern of organic movement, which is what we’re designed to do!

Moving more throughout your day is the rock solid foundation for a healthy, happy, long life. The easiest way to start moving more is to set a timer to go off after 30 minutes of sitting. The timer on your phone will do nicely. Then when the timer goes off, get up and go for a brisk 5 minute walk around your office to reset your metabolism, refresh your thinking, and renew your spirit.

Do this one simple shift for just a couple of weeks and you will begin to feel and see a difference--one you will love. Move more, look and feel better, establish a foundation of health to build on--what could be better?

Winter Walking Inside

It's true that sometimes the weather is just not user friendly when it comes to walking outside. Dangerously cold temperatures, blizzard conditions, or icy walking routes can make it almost impossible to walk outside safely. And why risk your health to workout? 

The best solution is to have a go-to indoor walking route in the location where you spend the most time. If you're a work-at-home person like me, that route can be as simple as up and down the stairs for 25 minutes--that's a workout, trust me. Or if your home is one story, the hallway and routes through connected rooms does just fine.

If you go to the office every day, look for long halls, stairs, and empty conference rooms to get in your laps.

The other great solution is your local mall. Many open their doors to walkers prior to retailers opening for business. This creates wide open walking areas that you might really enjoy. Granted you'll have to brave the weather to get there but once there you're in a heated location with facilities. That's not bad for a bad weather day!

If you know you'll have days when the weather is just too dangerous to be outside, prepare in advance by sleuthing out your best indoor routes--at home, at work, or at your local mall. Come springtime you'll be so glad you've been walking and you will welcome the warmer temps and better conditions with open arms and happy feet.