women's health and fitness

Walking Women: Karen Bacon

Today’s Walking Women Interview is with Karen Bacon of Queensland, Australia.

Q. Karen, what inspired you to start walking?

A. I am not sure that I had a bolt of inspiration to start walking, but I do know it started as time out on my own, when my kids were young. It was a mental reprieve from being Mum, a wife and an employee. Time to just be me.

Literally, I would sneak away to the beach to collect my thoughts, gain back mental clarity and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, which I have always found so very soothing to my soul! In those early days I had to wait until my husband was home to watch the kids, to have the chance to be alone!

Q. How long have you been walking?

A. I have been walking regularly on that same stretch of beach now for 30+ years and I have such a love for it! I feel it’s my sacred place, comforting when needed and inspiring most of the time. It’s the place I also go to sit quietly to reflect and be in my own thoughts. I also love to walk in any of our beautiful National Parks here on the Gold Coast in Australia, and I’m happy to say I live nearby quite a few.

Laguna Park, Karen’s fave to walk around.

Laguna Park, Karen’s fave to walk around.

Q. What changes have resulted from your walking?

A. I think anything you love to do has the capacity to change you, not only physically but in mind and spirit equally. There is nothing I love to do more than walk away my problems, it is a great equalizer for me. I have in my younger years, suffered from mild depression, and walking, along with exercise in general has been a lifesaver. Physically it helps keep the weight down, particularly getting older, so I can have the extra piece of chocolate if I desire! Yes please!

Q. What happens if you don’t walk?

A. I feel very sluggish when I miss a day of walking. My attitude is off and I don’t have the same clarity at the start of my day. I feel lazy, and don’t have the same focus in my work. One day I will allow myself falling off the bandwagon (I’m human after all) and obviously when not well, but most of the time the benefits of my walk far outweigh the occasional day of apathy.

Q. What does walking mean to you?

A. Getting into nature and being surrounded by supreme beauty helps me understand that we are so small in the scheme of things. It gives me a perspective I can’t find doing anything else. It is empowering to understand the world and everything in it does not revolve around you. As a physical exercise there is no better; you need nothing special and it requires of you simply to place one foot in front of the other. It’s availability to all is simple and pure!

Q. What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t--yet?

A. Definitely the mental health benefits are worth talking about. If more women walked, the reduction in stress, anxiety and depression levels would be noticeable. To any woman who suffers from any of the above, I would love to say please walk every day for one week and see and feel the changes within yourself. It is enough to keep you going back for more.

Make walking easy for yourself. Go somewhere close by, local parks, the beach, your neighborhood, anywhere you can get to quickly and easily, so you can incorporate walking into your everyday routine. If something is easy for you to do, you will choose to do it more readily, and then it becomes habit!

Being in nature involves all of your senses, it allows you to feel grateful in every moment, and alive! It has a way of wrapping you in its arms and carrying you forward with joy! It sets you up for the day and is possible for everyone. Fight your excuses and reap the benefits of walking. You’ll be so glad you did!

Karen’s neighborhood in Palm Beach, a suburb of Queensland. What great walking!

Karen’s neighborhood in Palm Beach, a suburb of Queensland. What great walking!

Karen, thank you so much for sharing your walking story with us, you’re an absolute inspiration!

Karen Bacon is a Certified Life Coach, Spiritual Rutbuster, Writer, Speaker, and member of One Million Women Walking. She lives in Palm Beach, a suburb of beautiful Queensland, Australia.

Prior to becoming a life coach, Karen was a partner in a six figure, all-female trade service business in the construction industry. She was also a wife and mum, with a family she loved very much! Despite her successful career and beloved family, she always knew she was meant to be doing something else, something that fulfilled her and gave her meaning and purpose. Karen found it by looking within! Now she helps other women find their life calling, “Finding their Mojo”, so they too can live and work feeling fulfilled, happy and successful. As Karen says, “Life Coaching from the inside out”! Learn more about Karen and her work at Karen Bacon, Rutbuster Coach.




10,000 Steps Too Many

How many steps do you need to take each day to be healthy?

If you answered 10,000, you’re in good company. And you’re wrong. Welcome to the club.

Turns out the 10,000 step per day standard isn’t based on science, it’s based on marketing. Excellent marketing if you measure by sheer impact given the vast majority of people “know” 10,000 steps is the magic number to reach.

The 10,000 step standard began in Japan in the 1960’s with what is believed to be the first wearable step counter. The counter was named manpo-ke, which translates to “10,000 step meter”. The company that launched manpo-ke felt that 10,000 steps was a good number--indicative of an active, healthy lifestyle. That simple assumption brought us, some 50+ years later, to 10,000 steps per day being the ultimate goal. Today’s science, however, begs to differ.

Recent research, like this report published by JAMA , measured whether an increased number of steps per day were associated with lower mortality rates among older women. Their findings showed that 7,500 steps per day would do the trick. Additionally the report revealed that sedentary women averaged only 2,700 steps per day but those who averaged 4,400 daily steps had a 41% reduction in mortality. Mortality rates continued to improve with an increased number of steps per day and then leveled off at 7,500 steps per day.

Like all studies this one has its limitations but I invite you to look at the big takeaway: 10,000 steps per day isn’t based in science.

So what’s a person to do with their newfound knowledge? Well I am a big fan of going back to basics--an overarching approach to creating health that’s doable, easy, and that you can start today.

First, move more throughout the day. For those of us who work at a desk, sitting disease is real and deadly. Break the destructive cycle of sitting by taking movement breaks throughout your day. This is mission critical to living a happy, healthy, long life.

Second, get your walk on but measure time, not steps. The exercise recommendations from the U.S. Surgeon General are 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s a daily walk of just over 20 minutes per day. Grab a 20 minute walk on your lunch break and you’ll be meeting those requirements.

Creating health doesn’t have to be grueling or punishing or restrictive or shaming. It needs to be doable actions incorporated into our daily lives that become the healthy habits we live and thrive by. And if you feel reluctant to give up your 10,000 steps, then don’t! But know that however many steps you fit into moving more and taking a 20 minute walk will be just fine. Measure that and see how it feels!

If you’d like to Move More and Get Your Walk On in a community of Walking Women from around the world, join the 1MWW movement today. We can’t wait to walk with you.

This Day

Today, the day you have, is a good day to think of as this day. As in THIS DAY.

For instance, THIS DAY I will do one thing I’ve been putting off until SOME DAY.

By now most of us know that mythical SOME DAY will never come.

Unless we claim THIS DAY to be that SOME DAY.

And if one of the things you’ve been putting off is to go for a walk, today is the perfect day.

THIS DAY. The perfect day, not some day.

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The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part III

In Parts I and II of this blog series, The Five Ws of Women Walking, I shared the WHY, WHEN, WHERE and WHO of women walking. In today’s post I’m excited to share WHAT walking really is and HOW to transform your health and life with walking.

WALKING IS THE ULTIMATE WAY TO CARE FOR YOURSELF EVERY DAY.

That’s what walking really is--the ultimate way to care for yourSelf every day. Walking creates health for your whole Self , (that capital S means body, mind, and spirit), which means that all of you benefits from walking in ways too numerous to count.

Just walking? Yes. Walking.

The Surgeon General recommends adults do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity like walking to meet the guidelines for optimal health.

And did you know walking is the #1 doctor prescribed exercise? Doctors don’t prescribe exercise that isn’t “real exercise” or exercise that “isn’t enough”. Doctors prescribe highly effective, scientifically proven, doable exercise that works. If you are one of the 80% of women in this country who are not getting the recommended amount of exercise for optimal health, walking is the best place to start because you can start right now--right where you are!

Unlike grueling gym workouts or classes you have to squeeze into your overwhelmingly busy schedule, walking fits in wherever and whenever it best suits you--like right now!

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE TRUE HEALTH FOR YOURSELF ON YOUR TERMS, STARTING TODAY.

Walking is that power--your power to take care of your Self in a deeply meaningful, scientifically proven, incredibly effective way. That’s WHAT walking is for women.

Next, HOW to walk--the bonus I promised!

Before I get to specific How-to’s I want to share one of my favorite things about walking:

WALKING ADAPTS TO TIME AND PLACE, MOOD AND NEED!

If you find walking boring, become walking partners with a friend or group of friends and walk together. You’ll be amazed at how the time flies when you’re walking and chatting with pals.

If you’re working your way through some troubling problems, take a walk by yourself to let your inner wisdom bubble up. I recommend a walk in nature--in a park or by a river or stream to destress, relax, and listen to yourself.

And if you’ve decided that you hate walking, try walking with your 5 senses engaged vs focusing on your resentment. Again, get out into nature and drop into what you’re hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting. Really focus on your experience to have a different experience. You won’t know if you like it until you try it.

HOW to get started:

Members of the One Million Women Walking movement follow a simple, proven 3-Step Practice to create whole-Self health by walking. Follow these Steps or, better yet, simply join us for $1/month.

The 1MWW 3-Step Practice:

  • Step One: Move More Throughout Your Day

  • Step Two: A Brisk Daily Walk

  • Step Three: Your Superpower

Moving more throughout your day offsets the damage done by sitting. This is mission critical for 9-5 desk workers.

A brisk daily walk creates whole Self health for you and your life. Walking. Simply walking.

Your superpower is your caring. Women care about other women. Have you ever stopped your entire life to go help your BFF when she needed you? Dropped everything to help your sister through a crisis? Organized the meals for a woman and her kids who found themselves in deep need of assistance? YES YOU HAVE. That’s your superpower.

THE CONNECTIVITY AND CARING OF WOMEN IS AN UNTAPPED POWER--A VEIN OF UNSTOPPABLE ENERGY THAT RUNS THROUGH WOMEN LIKE NOTHING I’VE EVER SEEN OR EXPERIENCED. I BELIEVE IT’S OUR SUPERPOWER. WHEN WE CONNECT AND CARE IN COMMUNITY, WE CHANGE THE WORLD.

Community is what makes Steps One and Two of the 1MWW 3-Step Practice sustainable. When we focus our caring deliberately, first on ourSelves and then in a community of like-minded, like-hearted women who share the same journey and same goals, our superpower expands exponentially. For 1MWW members that exponential expansion goes beyond our walking community, a percentage of 1MWW’s annual post-tax profits goes to women whose walk of life needs our support. Members vote on where these funds go. In this way our steps count not only for ourSelves and the 1MWW community, but for a bigger vision that needs our superpower. In this way . . .

WE KEEP THE GOOD GOING AND GROWING

Please join us at 1MWW and walk your way to the happy, healthy, long life you deserve. I can’t wait to walk with you.


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!)

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!

Your Opinion Please!

One of the most entertaining activities on the 1MWW public Facebook page is voting for the cover for the upcoming month. I create at least two potential Facebook page covers and ask fans to vote for their favorite.

The photos I use are ones I’ve taken in years past, but they all correspond with the month they represent. I decided to broaden the monthly decision making by posting the choices here as well. Once you’ve chosen your favorite, jump on over to 1MWW on Facebook and vote. And while you’re there, LIKE our page!

Here’s the two contenders for March, 2019. The first is a photo I took in March, 2014 of a late snow, which stunned just about everyone, including this redbud tree. The second photo was taken in March, 2013 on a Sunday drive through the country south of Nashville. In a beautiful twist of fate, this same drive with this view is one I take frequently as my horse is boarded at a barn just down the road.

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There’s the back story on these two photos—the rest is up to you! Thanks for voting.

Walking Women: Peggy Hubbard!

Today’s Walking Women interview is with Peggy Hubbard of Lewisburg, Tennessee.

Q. Peggy, what inspired you to start walking?

A. Several years ago I was working a full time job and caring for a disabled husband. Each day melted into the next and I was losing my identity to my roles in life: business owner, caregiver, volunteer. One way to squeeze out some private time was to wake very early before the day’s caregiving duties began. One morning the sun was out and spring had arrived to Middle Tennessee. So, I leashed my beloved dog, Pepper, and we took off walking up a country road that led to our home. I discovered sights, smells and sounds I had not noticed from the car. I knew I had to give myself this gift over and over again. A habit was born! 

Q. How long have you been walking?

A. I’ve walked/hiked consistently for 6 years.

Q. What changes have resulted from walking?

A. Naturally my body changed as my legs and lungs became stronger. My soul opened to the joy of a sunrise, the smells of fresh hay, and the sounds of nature waking for a new day. I found joy in the baby goats at a nearby farm and took time to stop and watch their prancing and playing. I happily waited for the neighbor’s horse to exit the barn and head to the fence to greet Pepper with a quick snort. So, patience, a badly needed trait, was gained. The sound of my feet and Pepper’s paws hitting the ground became nearly hypnotic as I thanked God for all His goodness and grace.  

Q. What happens if you don’t walk?

A. Recently having a hip replacement has helped me understand how central walking is to my life. After a couple of weeks of being unable to move much I became stiff and unable to sleep well. Now that I can once again walk I’m limber, feel stronger and sleeping better. Mentally I find that walking keeps me grounded and causes me to take the time to practice gratitude which keeps me in tune with my blessings - which are many.  

“This photo is from Henry Horton Park. I love the walking trail there and love that this hollow tree looks like a heart...heart healthy walk!” ~ Peggy Hubbard

“This photo is from Henry Horton Park. I love the walking trail there and love that this hollow tree looks like a heart...heart healthy walk!” ~ Peggy Hubbard

Q. What does walking mean to you?

A. Walking is so much more than getting from one place to another.  It’s the opportunity to take in nature.  It’s the opportunity to find the path less traveled and saunter down while taking in the delicious sights, smells and sounds.

Q. What are your biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A. Like most people, time and weather are often challenges. But now that I get the senior discount at our well equipped Rec Center I have many options for rainy day walking and the hours give me a safe place to walk after dark. Sometimes my heart wants to tackle trails longer and steeper than my body desires! 

Q. What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t - yet?

A. Take it one block at a time. Start by perhaps thinking of things that bring your life joy and voice gratitude for them. Use the time to experience your own breath, the feel of your body moving and the sounds of your feet connecting with Earth.

Peggy, thank you so very much for sharing your walking story with us. You’re an inspiration in every way!

Peggy Hubbard is a State Farm Insurance Agent.  She maintains an office in Lewisburg, TN and conducts business throughout the state. She is also an adjunct instructor of Criminal Justice at Columbia State Community College, a Rotarian currently serving as an Assistant District Governor, a volunteer for several charitable organizations, a lover of nature, and a member of One Million Women Walking!

Peggy is married to the marvelous Paul Kingsbury who is her frequent hiking partner, travel companion and all-around best friend. They have two adored kitty cats, Libby and Lizzy. Peggy loves music of all kinds, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and exploring nature.  

Peggy’s passion is using her skills and talents to help others be their very best. She loves to be surrounded by positive, happy friends and believes in a hands-on approach to charitable work.