Benefits of Walking

The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part II

In Part I of this blog series, The Five Ws of Women Walking, I shared WHY women have to walk. (WHY tidily encompasses WHEN and WHERE, illustrating the multi-tasking magic inherent in walking.) In today’s post I’m going to share WHO walking is for. To cut to the chase: EVERY WOMAN!

Walking is for every woman!

Having said that, here’s some questions for you:

  • Have you ever said, “I want to workout but I don’t have the time”?

  • Have you ever confessed that you actually hate they gym?

  • Have you ever despaired that you’ll never find a workout that works for you?

  • Have you tried yoga, Pilates, hot boxing, etc all to no avail?

  • Do you feel guilty and ashamed that you aren’t getting the workout you want and need?

  • Do you sit at work all day?

  • Do you feel lethargic, depressed, brain-fogged?

  • Does your body ache?

  • Has your doctor prescribed walking?

  • Is every day of your life packed full to the point of bursting?

  • Do you yearn for a break from it all?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then walking is for you.

Walking solves all these problems, obstacles, challenges and more!

I can hear you now saying, “Oh I know I should walk but . . .

My rebuttal is, “But what?”

  • But walking isn’t real exercise?

  • But walking isn’t enough?

  • But, you’re thinking, “I hate walking”?

  • But walking is boring?

I hear you still but no worries! In next week’s post, where I wrap up this series, I’ll address your “buts” by sharing WHAT walking really is. (And I’m throwing in a bonus HOW.)

In the meantime, sign up for the 1MWW newsletter, This Beautiful Walk, to stay updated on walking tips (for instance, a recent study showed walking backward improved short-term memory; I cannot make this stuff up), my own walking thoughts (walking increases creativity by 60%—it'‘s my moving muse), and news from the One Million Women Walking movement (how your $1/month membership is powerful beyond measure!)

The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part I

The Five Ws (who, what, when, where, why) are frequently used as a formula for information gathering, problem solving, or getting the complete story on a topic. In this 3-part blog series, I’ll be sharing the five Ws of women walking, but I’m beginning at the end: WHY. I’m starting with WHY because, as you’ll see, it’s the logical place to start and because WHY very neatly encompasses WHEN and WHERE when it comes to women walking.

So, WHY walk? A great question with a wonderfully layered answer.

First, because walking quite elegantly solves the problem that most of us women have with getting a daily workout: we want to workout but we don’t have the time.

(DYK 80% of women aren’t getting enough exercise for optimal health?)

Instead of trying to squeeze a yoga class or gym visit into your already overwhelmingly busy schedule, you can walk WHEN and WHERE you already are: over your lunch break at work, when you’re waiting for your kids at their piano lesson or football practice, or take mini-walking breaks throughout the day.

(9-5 desk workers: DYK that taking walking breaks every 30 minutes has been scientifically proven to be more effective than a hard daily workout?)

Walking fits your life vs you fitting a workout into your life.

Second, because walking solves the problems women have with the health and wellness industry:

  • Despite all the workouts in the world, our health and wellness needs are not being met.

  • We feel underrepresented and underserved in the health and wellness industry.

  • Much of the messaging in the health and wellness industry is inherently shaming and blaming for us and makes us feel self-conscious and ashamed.

  • We want accountability and support without competition.

Walking is all-inclusive, non-competitive, no-gym-membership required.

(DYK 80% of people who have gym memberships never use them?)

Third, because walking creates whole Self health for women. That capital S is no mistake. It stands for your whole Self--your body, mind, and spirit. What we do to create health must nurture our whole Self to be sustainable, otherwise it will just become yet another item on our endless TO DO list--something we must do vs love to do. Here’s what walking does to create the love:

For your BODY: Walking treats or prevents over 100 diseases including heart disease the #1 killer of women and walking is the #1 doctor prescribed exercise. This alone is WHY--walking is an “entry level” activity that can’t be matched for effectiveness, efficiency, ease, doability, cost or time commitment. It’s what you need to get the exercise you want on a daily basis so you can live the happy, healthy life you deserve.

For your MIND: Walking boosts self-esteem, is a natural anti-depressant, and increases creativity by 60%. Women battle low self-esteem, depression and anxiety for a variety of reasons. Walking effectively combats these issues and creates a time and space for a mental break. Caring for your mental health in a meaningful way is as important as caring for your body. Walking does it all--it’s your multi-tasking miracle--part workout, part timeout, part moving mediation (see below).

For your SPIRIT: Walking is spiritual renewal. We ignore our spiritual health at our own peril. As women we possess unique knowings and intuitions that get snuffed out in our overwhelmingly busy lives. The simple act of walking opens those inner doors and helps you to feel connected and whole--tapping into your innate wisdom that this world desperately needs. Historically speaking, walking is a spiritual practice. From the pilgrimages to walking the labyrinth to taking a break from work, walking is a moving meditation, a much needed method of renewing your spirit so you are living from a place of true wholeness.

Summary: Why Walk?

  • Walking fits your life vs you fitting a workout into your life.

  • Walking solves your problems with the health and wellness industry.

  • Walking creates whole Self health. Your body, mind, and spirit benefit from walking in amazing, transformational ways.

Walking works wonders for women.

It’s been said, “You can handle any HOW with a big enough WHY.” (That’s WHY I started this series with WHY). Next week I’ll cover WHO walking is for. In the meantime, sign up for the 1MWW newsletter, This Beautiful Walk, to stay updated on walking news, tips for walking women, and the scoop on the One Million Women Walking movement.

Wondering Where I've Been? Well . . .

It’s like this: I’ve been gone for the past months due to mold poisoning.

The good news is that I am detoxing successfully and recovering. I cannot fully express how profoundly grateful I am to share that good news.

These months have been terrifying, confusing, frustrating beyond words and extremely humbling. I found myself disabled by a silent, invisible enemy that had the audacity to maliciously invade my body and brain and wreak havoc. The worst of it has been the impairment of cognitive function. That’s a fancy way of saying I couldn’t think or remember or strategize to save my soul--thus the terror.

Blessedly for me I have a phenomenally supportive family who circled around me with some really good group decision making, much needed resources, and endless amounts of patience. Thanks to them I got to my sister’s home in Florida where I have been detoxing and recovering.

Recovery has been slow, with a few setbacks. The setbacks are almost always brought about by my impatience with the process and my frustrations at not being able to do what I used to do. It won’t surprise you to know that when I hit a setback, I go for a walk. I walk a lot. In fact walking is once again saving my life--literally.

I’m also following a detox protocol with doses of activated coconut charcoal, which bind with the mold mycotoxins and remove them. I’m taking very high quality supplements to support the process. I walk, I eat live foods, I drink at least a gallon of water a day, I meditate, I swim, I sleep as much as I can. And I’m healing.

Recovery time from mold poisoning can be anywhere from 6 months to a year or more. (I’ll keep you posted.) For now what I want you to take away from this post is this: if you suspect there is mold where you live or work, do something about it. If you suspect you have mold poisoning, get help now.

I am not an expert on the subject matter, just a woman deep in detox and recovery. That being said, here’s two excellent resources where you can learn more. I highly recommend that you do:

Dr Ann Shippy, MD. Check out her “Could It Be Mold?” Fact sheet and her book, Mold Toxicity Workbook.

Dr Mark Hyman, MD’s Broken Brain Podcast with Dr. Shippy: Is Toxic Mold Causing Your Symptoms?

I’m on my way back now, I’m working a bit again, the 1MWW movement is growing, and I’m grateful. That’s where I am now. Next week I’ll be back to talking my walk! In the meantime, please take a moment to sign up for our newsletter.

This Beautiful Walk, the 1MWW newsletter will arrive in your inbox twice a month filled with walking news, walking inspiration, and most likely some of my truly awful puns. I’ll see you there!

Feel Better Today

“What keeps you motivated to walk every day?”

I was asked this excellent question by an audience member at a speaking event last year. My response?

“I walk for 90-year-old me. I walk today for her—for the woman I’ll be tomorrow. Because I want to be walking when I’m 90 and beyond.”

This is absolutely one of my primary motivators for moving more throughout my day and taking a walk every day. However, it’s not the only motivator by far. In fact I have a much more immediate, incredibly satisfying, instant gratification motivation:

I feel better.

I feel better every time I walk. It’s that simple and yes, that self-serving. I like feeling better. I really like being able to get up and do something, on my own volition, that makes a significant difference in how I feel: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

That’s the beauty of walking.

Walking makes you feel better right away. This has been proven by countless researchers in a variety of areas. Walking boosts self-esteem and mood, resets your metabolism, refreshes your thinking, and renews your spirit. You can make yourself feel better by walking. You can chose walking every day as a way to feel better. And who doesn’t want to feel better? Because feeling better, is better.

FEEL BETTER TODAY. GO FOR A WALK.

PS Here’s how I can help:

  • Download my free e-book, The Truth About Women Walking, to learn more about how and why walking transforms your life.

  • Join the 1MWW movement on Patreon.

  • Hire me to speak at your next event!

  • Form a 1MWW Chapter at work, for your bookclub, for your professional group, for your women’s church group! Contact me and I’ll share the simple 1MWW Chapter Guidelines with you. Note: All members of your Chapter must be members of 1MWW on Patreon.

Top Three Benefits of Winter Walking for Women!

Ladies it’s official—it’s winter. Granted I am writing to you today from sunny Anna Maria Island, Florida where I’m “snowbirding” for the holidays but I’ll go back to winter and have just come from winter—in Wisconsin! (The photo above was taken on a walk last week at Willow River State Park in Hudson, WI. I love the falls in winter!)

I lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin for 25+ years so I know a thing or two about winter walking. In my last blog post I reviewed how good gear and the right route make winter walking truly wonderful. In today’s post I highlight my top 3 benefits of winter walking for women.

  1. Combat SAD! Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in women than men and, having suffered from it myself, I am particularly sensitive to how devastating it can be. Walking is a fantastic way to combat SAD because of the exposure to sunlight, which in turn helps us produce much needed vitamin D. Some studies suggest that a Vitamin D deficiency might be an underlying cause of SAD. Just 15 minutes of sun on your face and hands 2 or 3 times per week means getting enough sun for vitamin D production. This sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin, which helps combat SAD. And ladies here’s a great side-benefit of winter walking/vitamin D production—our bones need vitamin D to make our bodies absorb the calcium we need to keep our bones strong.

  2. Burn more calories! I’m not a huge proponent of calorie counting but I am a proponent of being aware of what you eat and why. I’m also very aware that in winter it’s easy to eat more carbs and sweets and exercise less. That’s why winter walking is a great exercise choice. We burn more calories because our bodies are working harder to stay warm. Win-win? I think so!

  3. Boost self-esteem! Studies have shown that outdoor exercise can boost self-esteem. When we feel good about ourselves, we make better choices for ourselves. In this way boosting self-esteem becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-esteem is defined as, “Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.” This is something I want for all women—that we feel confident in who we are and we care for who we are! Deliberately boosting our self-esteem with a winter walk seems like a very natural self-care choice!

Winter walking has benefits for your whole Self—that’s body, mind, and spirit—that will help you get through winter with a joy and resilience you’ve never experienced before. I highly recommend you get your walk on this winter to be happy, healthy, and to have a spring in your step no matter the season.

Happy Walking!

Join 1MWW on Patreon for the inspiration, empowerment, community, connection, and accountability you need to transform your life by simply walking. I can’t wait to walk with you!

Giving Thanks

Many of you know how walking saved and also transformed my life. That experience inspired me to found the One Million Women Walking movement. Looking back at those dark years and how walking kept me going forward, literally one step, one walk, one mile at a time, I find myself grateful. Not—oh gee that was just so wonderful I want to do it all again. NOT like that. Not even a little bit. More along the lines of thankful:

  • for all I learned,

  • for the woman I became because of the seemingly endless challenges,

  • for those challenges having led me to here,

  • for One Million Women Walking,

  • and most importantly, for you.

For this I am grateful. For this I give thanks.

We never know where our path will lead, not really. Even something as mundane as the weekly grocery run can turn into an adventure with one flat tire, one stray dog, one elderly woman locked out of her car in the rain. One thing I’ve learned on this walk of life, and continue to learn every day, is to be present, take nothing for granted, and be grateful for everything—large and small!

Be grateful for your senses, for your beating heart and working lungs. Be grateful for your feet, your hands, your laughter. Be grateful for all the things, people, circumstances you take for granted and for all of your own gifts you take for granted—your passions, your talents, your skills, your interests. Never take yourself for granted.

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve been taught over the years of my journey. I’ll continue to learn them in all their magical, wonderful, confusing, frustrating, maddening, infuriating iterations and disguises. Turns out lessons are as stubborn as students. Who knew?

On this day before Thanksgiving, I give thanks for all I’ve learned, all I’ll learn again, all I’ve yet to learn. And I give thanks for you, for walking, for my walking practice, for the One Million Women Walking movement.

What are you thankful for? What lessons are you currently learning? Take them for a walk and make friends with them—that usually works for me.

I wish you and yours the most thankful of Thanksgivings. And after the main course, before the dessert, go for a walk together—around the yard, around the block, around the town. You’ll be so glad you did because you know what? It’ll be an adventure . . .

Walking Creates Health: Part IV

In the previous 3 parts of the Walking Creates Health series, we’ve looked at how walking is the ultimate multi-tasking miracle for women. Walking creates health for our bodies and our minds in myriad wonderful ways. In this final installment, we’ll be uncovering how walking creates health for our souls.

To recap, for the sake of this blog series, when I refer to walking I’m referring to the 1MWW Practice:

  • Taking mini-walks throughout the day.

  • Going for a brisk 25-minute daily walk.

Before diving into today’s topic, I’m going to offer up my personal definition of the soul. In my life, I experience the soul as an immaterial essence, which is spiritual in nature. Another way to say this is I feel the soul is the energy that causes life—a spark from the divine if you will. The soul has governance over the mystical aspects of our life that are just outside of our language to completely explain. However, wonderful advances in technology and quantum physics are bringing us closer and closer to a full understanding of this animating energy without taking away the mystery, the magic, the wonder.

Here’s how walking creates health for our souls! Walking increases creativity up to 60%. That’s stunning and wonderful and is the reason why I encourage all creatives and business owners to walk every day. Creativity comes from inspiration, which is defined as, “A divine influence or action; and the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.” We’ve all experienced inspired moments, walking has the ability to bring us those moments on a regular basis.

Walking also brings peace of mind, especially walking in nature. Walking outside is also linked to greater awareness of our Selves (body/mind/spirit) and the world we inhabit. We feel a greater sense of connection when we walk and engage our five senses.

Walking also enhances our intuition—our inner knowing—the “still, small voice within”. And walking is a known action for problem solving. The Latin phrase “solvitur ambulando” means “it is solved by walking”.

When we walk we create health for our bodies and minds, we activate our creativity, solve problems, experience peace of mind and enhanced awareness. Is it any wonder then, that in this relaxed yet vitalized state, our life visions, our dreams of who and what we can become reveal themselves. This is one of the elements of walking I most enjoy—a sense of stepping into the possibility of mySelf and my life.

This article would not be complete without mentioning two spiritual walking traditions: walking the labyrinth and taking a pilgrimage.

A labyrinth (not a maze!) is a patterned path, frequently circular in form used as a walking meditation in spiritual practices. The labyrinth represents a journey into our own center, our own Self and knowing, and back out into the world.

Labyrinths are used in all faiths as a moving meditation. It is believed that as you walk the sacred geometry, the different pathways actually help to calm the mind, open the heart, and rejuvenate the Self.

Ancient labyrinths exist worldwide and have been used in the spiritual practices of such diverse peoples as the ancient Greeks, Hindus, the Hopi Indians, and more. One of the most famous labyrinths is in the cathedral of Chartes, in France. Labyrinths occur in many parts of the world and in almost all religious traditions; they are experiencing a wonderful rebirth as we seek connection with something deeper, more profound, and more sacred in our lives. One of my dearest friends, who lives in Minnesota, creates a snow labyrinth every year in December to mark the holidays, the Solstice, and the inner journey. I love walking that labyrinth!

The pilgrimage is another form of spiritual walking. When you hear the word, pilgrimage, I imagine the following come to mind: Mecca, and the Camino de Santiago. These are the most well known but there are many more throughout the world, like Glastonbury Tor to Stonehenge in the U.K. and the Kumano Kodo in Japan. As I write this post I feel the strong urge to put several of these on my Walking Bucket List!

There is a simple yet profound connection in putting our feet on this planet and propelling ourselves forward. Every walk we take has elements of these ancient traditions and today we have the technology and science to more fully grasp how profound an act it is to go for a walk. What an exciting time we live in when we can acknowledge and validate the value of the intuitive traditions of our past with the technology and awareness of our time. Quantum physics is where I leave off but know this: every walk you take is creating health for your body, your mind, and your soul. What magic there is in this knowing and this practice.

The alchemy of walking is irrefutable, something we humans have known since we first stood upright and walked into our future. Keep walking, walking women. It’s a great privilege to walk with you.

P.S. Please post your comments on this article and the others in this series in the comment area below. I’d love to hear from you. Also, join the 1MWW movement to create health for your Self (body/mind/spirit) every day. To join go here: 1MWW. I can’t wait to walk with you!

Walking Creates Health: Part III

In Part I of this series, I shared my belief about what health is: “A series of thoughts, choices, and actions throughout each day across all the days of our life. Health is a living, breathing state of being.” I also shared that I see the self as a whole—a Self with a capital S—meaning the magical combination of body/mind/spirit vs the view that the self is unconnected or unrelated parts or “just our body”.

In Part II we reviewed how walking creates health for our physical self—our body. Those benefits are remarkable. Today we’re going to take a look at how walking creates health for our minds—a topic I’m quite passionate about sharing with women.

Here at 1MWW there are two components to our walking Practice:

  1. Taking mini-walks throughout the day.

  2. Going for a brisk 25-minute daily walk.

Those two components are what I refer to as walking in the context of this blog series.

So how do mini-walks and a brisk daily walk create health for our minds? Well for starters, walking improves self-perception, self-esteem, mood and (this is huge ladies) our sleep quality. Walking also lowers stress and anxiety. One point I want to really emphasize in this catalogue of benefits is that a regular walking habit reduces our risk of becoming depressed by up to 30% AND helps those who are depressed to recover. This is really important ladies because we are twice as likely to be diagnoses with depression than men.

Another important way in which walking creates health for our minds is that as we age, a regular walking habit can improve cognitive function, memory, attention and processing speed, and reduce the risk of dementia by 40%.

And here’s a bit of body/mind connectivity for you: As you begin to feel more fit, more energized, stronger and more vital from walking, your body image and confidence increase. That’s a fantastic benefit for us ladies!

I believe that our mind is not just the muscle we call our brain but an intelligence that runs throughout our entire body. An intelligence we can harness and fuel through simply walking. And I believe that once we begin walking, and walking becomes a habit, that habit will happily create more health for our healthy minds thus becoming a delightful and life-giving upward spiral of ever-increasing health and happiness. From simply walking.

Next week we’ll conclude this series with a look at how walking creates health for our spirit. Yes, walking is good for the soul! See you then!

PS. If you haven’t already done so, please download my free e-book, The Truth About Women Walking. I wrote it just for you to empower you with the life-saving, life-changing transformation walking can bring to yourSelf and your life. Also, please join 1MWW on Facebook—we’re a group of Walking Women who walk our walk and talk our walk every day!

Walking Creates Health: Part II

In Part I of this series, I introduced this definition of health, “The state of being free from illness or injury.” When it comes to how and why walking creates that state, many women are familiar with the physical health benefits realized by our bodies.

I’m a huge fan of these benefits because walking truly is the magic pill we’ve all been looking for in terms of how to have a healthy body. Here at 1MWW there are two walking components to our walking Practice:

  1. Taking mini-walks throughout the day to avoid the damage done by excessive sitting.

  2. Going for a brisk 25-minute daily walk.

Mini-walks (optimally a 5-minute walk after every 30 minutes spent sitting) create a solid foundation for your health by offsetting the damage done to your body from sitting. (Learn more about that here.) A brisk 25-minute daily walk is a walk that’s fast enough in pace that you can’t sing but you can still talk. I recommend a lunch time walk, especially for 9-5 working women.

When put together these two simple steps bring you the following benefits:

  • Reducing your risk of heart disease up to 40%. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the U.S. This alone is a great reason to get your walk on!

  • Improving your metabolism, which allows you to manage your weight.

  • Burning an extra 1,000-3,000 calories per week.

  • Lowering your LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).

  • Increasing your bone density.

  • Maintaining healthy joints.

  • Toning your legs and core. (Core muscles include your abdominals and your pelvic floor muscles.)

  • Lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers.

  • Reducing back/shoulder/neck/hip and joint pain.

That’s a substantial list of benefits that add up to a greatly improved quality of life. And I have to say, that’s the tip of the iceberg. Walking treats or prevents over 40 diseases. If the pharmaceutical industry was able to package up all of the benefits derived from walking and put them into a single pill, that pill would be priceless! But you can have them all for free. That’s the beauty of walking.

Next week we’ll dive into the mental benefits derived from walking. Walking truly is a miracle “drug”—that’s why it’s the #1 prescribed doctor prescribed exercise. In the meantime, move more and take a brisk 25-minute daily walk. You’ve got some great reasons already!

P.S. If you haven’t already, grab your copy of my free e-book, The Truth About Women Walking. I wrote it to share the transformational power of walking with you. I believe every woman on the planet needs to know the truth--it’s that important. Why? Because walking can save your life, your mom's life, your daughter's life, your sister's life, your BFF's life. That’s important to me, to you, to all of us. Download your copy, get empowered and blown away, then share The Truth About Women Walking with every single woman you know.

Walking Creates Health: Part I

Health is defined as, “The state of being free from illness or injury.” Free from illness or injury sounds pretty good. Sounds like how most of us would prefer to be--every day. But health is not a static, fixed point we arrive at--health is a series of thoughts, choices, and actions throughout each day across all the days of our life. So health is a living, breathing state of being, fluctuating depending on all the variables we throw at it--some of which are doozies.

I don’t know a single person who is rigorous enough in their thoughts, choices, and actions to be “free from illness or injury” one hundred percent of the time. But I know some people who are right up there in the eighty to ninety percent zone, which is a great place to live. Most of those individuals practice health daily by eating whole, live foods, drinking plenty of water, getting outside, exercising, and getting the sleep they need. These health choices aren’t some enforced protocol to make them “free from illness or injury”; these health choices are the habits of their lives so there’s no stress, no forcing, no shaming/blaming/ugly self talk around any of it. They just live a healthy life and are, therefore, healthy.

That being said, for many people those health practices would feel forced, would feel like a tortuous way to live, would feel like punishment. Would be hard practices to adapt and turn into habits.

That’s why I’m a fan of starting with a really basic, yet profoundly effective activity that’s pretty easy to incorporate into just about everyone’s daily life: walking. Why? Because walking creates health.

Walking literally saved my life during the darkest years I’ve ever experienced and it became the foundation for my health practice. I’m a devoted daily walker.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring how and why walking creates health. We’ll do a deep dive into the benefits we realize for our whole Self (body/mind/spirit) when we choose two simple actions:

  • Taking mini-walks throughout the day.

  • Going for a brisk 25-minute daily walk.

These two simple actions have such profound results its like magic! I look forward to sharing the magic with you here.

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