10 tips to start fitness walking today
By Angie Sutton, www.momsapronstrings.com
Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to stay physically active. In fact, it is one of the most important things we can do to improve our health. Many doctors and health professionals cite moderate physical activity, including walking, as a “magic pill” for excellent health.
Walking is a good prescription for health because it’s virtually available to everyone. Walking burns calories, improves your heart and bone health, increases energy levels and contributes to better mental health.
Between work, school, running errands, and family commitments, finding ways to fit a walk into your busy schedule can sometimes be a challenge. How do you boost results when you squeeze 30 minutes to an hour of walking in your day? Once you have medical clearance, try these 10 tips to see your steps start adding up.
Making the time commitment is up to you. By choosing to do something else, no matter how vital, you are making the choice it is more important than your health. Put it on your schedule and treat it like a meeting you can’t miss.
Exercise guidelines generally suggest that for health purposes, adults should engage in 30 minutes of moderately-intense activities most days of the week or 150 total minutes for the week.
Invest in good shoes.
Shoes are the main equipment you’ll need. Be sure the fit and quality of your shoes are suitable. I recommend having a professional fit you the first time and conduct a video gait analysis to ensure appropriate footwear selection.
Before starting any new exercise program you’ll want to check in with your doctor if you have concerns and if you experience any pain during exercise, make your doctor aware.
Use the correct form.
Walk tall, look forward, gaze out about 20 feet ahead. Your chin should be level and your head up. Bend your arms slightly and swing them front to back. Push off with your toes and land on your heels, rolling through the step. Breathe evenly.
Find creative spaces.
There’s no excuse to blame the weather for keeping you from your walk. Many shopping malls and public buildings offer walking routes that are free and easy to access. Walk every aisle at the grocery store, even if your list doesn’t include items from that aisle.
Vary the terrain.
As an alternate to taking the sidewalk in your neighborhood, explore paths, treks and rambles in area parks and nature preserves. Check municipal websites for locations and maps of public trails and pathways.
The easiest way to burn more calories is simply to walk farther than you normally do. According to the EverybodyWalk movement, a moderately-intense pace would be about 15 or 16 minutes per mile. Once you’ve built up your capacity to walk at a brisk 15-minute-per-mile pace, your calories burned per mile is 80. Walk for an hour, or four miles, and burn 320 calories.
Add speed intervals to your walk.
Change up your pace during your walk to add intensity and burn a few more calories. Interval walking means alternating bursts of intense high activity with bursts of lighter activity. According to a study by Paul T. Williams, a statistician at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, there is a significant health benefit to pursuing a faster pace. Pushing your body, he said, appears to cause favorable physiological changes that milder exercise doesn’t replicate.
Learn to walk fast or racewalk.
The biggest advantage of walking faster may be that you can walk farther in the same amount of time. Assuming you will walk for one hour, your total calories burned over the four miles would be 320.
At speeds over a 13-minute mile pace, you are burning more calories per mile as you use more muscle groups during your stride and you are also building muscle. At this pace, you are burning 89 calories per mile or 356 calories for four miles.
Add hills to your path.
Walking uphill burns 60 percent more calories per mile according to Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) measurements from research conducted by Barbara A. Ainsworth. In her research, they measured the actual calories expended by people walking uphill with those walking on flat, firm ground at the same speed. The difference was an increase of calories burned by 60 percent or by an additional 48 calories per mile for a 150-pound person. Climbing stairs burns four more calories per minute.
Incorporate steps into your work day.
Host a walking meeting with co-workers and take a lap around the building while you talk. Walk during your lunch hour alone or with colleague. Stand up and walk around the office every hour to give yourself a mental break and physical perk up. Park a bit farther away from the front door.
These 10 tips pave the way to getting the most out of your prescription for fitness walking. Whether you walk in sweat pants or dress pants, on a city street or country road, your steps toward better health start adding up today.
Serve the manicotti with sour cream or guacamole. Pair with Spanish rice.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (16-oz.) can refried beans
1 (1-oz.) pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 c. tap water
12 manicotti shells
1 (8-oz.) container cottage cheese, drained well
1 (16-oz.) jar salsa
2 c. sour cream
2 c. shredded fiesta cheese blend
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and season generously with salt. Cook the pasta shells according to package directions until al dente, rinse with cold water, drain and pat dry.
3. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain if necessary. Fold in refried beans. Stir together taco seasoning mix and water and then stir into the beef and bean mixture. Cover over medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese and 1 c. fiesta cheese blend. Stir into meat and bean mixture.
5. Spread a couple tablespoons of salsa on the bottom of the baking dish. Fill the manicotti with the meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining salsa over the top completely covering shells. Sprinkle the remaining cheese of the top of that. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces.
6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until heated through and the sauce is bubbly. Let stand for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.
Apron Strings Tips: Do not overcook the manicotti shells in step 2 or they will be difficult to stuff and will tear. Add a quarter-cup of diced onion when frying the ground beef. Add sliced black olives or jalapenos on top before baking.
Beef Pot Pie
Comfort food at its best! I use a deep dish pie plate with a crust on the bottom and the top. This will make one pie. You can also use two smaller pie plates and put on a top crust only. The key to this dish is the golden mushroom soup which is richer in taste than cream of mushroom soup.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 c. diced yellow onion
1 (10.5-oz.) can beef consommé
1 can (10.75-oz.) condensed golden mushroom soup, undiluted
3 potatoes, sliced or diced
3 carrots, sliced thin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. corn starch
1 pkg. refrigerated double-crust pie
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Gather two 9-inch pie plates or one deep dish pie plate.
2. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and onions until beef is cooked through and onions are translucent, drain if necessary.
3. Continue to cook at medium high heat and stir in the two cans of soup, potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper. Whisk in cornstarch and continue to cook until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Divide evenly and pour half into each pie plate.
4. Unroll pie crusts. Lay one crust over the contents of a pie and seal and flute edges. Cut three slits in top. Repeat for second pie. Bake uncovered for 30-to-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.
Apron Strings Notes: If you prefer a top and bottom crust, you can purchase a second box of pie crusts. I often short-cut this recipe with frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, or a large can of Veg-All, drained. If you use a top crust only, be sure you firmly seal the crust to the edge of the pie plate to keep the contents from bubbling out in the oven.