I spent part of the holidays in Los Angeles this year, surrounded by a sea of asphalt and traffic sprawling for hundreds of square miles. Shuttling between relatives and friends on the maze of 14-lane freeways, I soon felt spiritually exhausted by the visual din of billboards, power lines, parking lots, storefronts, neon signs and cars blowing past at 80 mph.
My feet have served me well.
Although I wasn’t an early walker, I have always been an enthusiastic one. Family lore has it that I was tied like a dog to a stake in the backyard because I was such a dedicated wanderer. Living close to a river meant that my trailblazing could lead me to trouble, so my mother kept me tethered. I maintain that she could have simply kept an eye on me but, it being the ’60s and all, perhaps that would have cut into her cigarettes and activism.
If you want to start a debate at the next party you go to, bring up birthing politics. Hospital or home birth? Drug-free or an epidural? Birthing tub or stirrups? And remember that not so long ago, there was only one option. It was called, “You’re doing this now, whether you want to or not.”
The National Institutes of Health, in monitoring obesity and overall public health, has announced the impact of “holiday weight-gain” on the long-term issue of obesity. Are the 5 to 7 extra pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas really an issue? No, not really. Most people will take the initiative after the new year and get most of it off. But it’s the most of it that’s the problem. There seems to be about 1 extra pound that lingers each year, and that yearly pound is beginning to look like a possible cause of the slow, age-related (upward) movement of the scale.
Why is it that we follow a doctor’s prescription to a “T” but then take additional advice like “no sugar” and “You need to exercise” with a shrug of the shoulders? If your exercise plan was written out for you on a tiny prescription pad, would you follow it? If you had to go to the pharmacy counter to get your grocery items, would it change the way you eat?
By The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee
Once fitting in a workout has become second nature to you, it’s sort of like brushing your teeth. You know you need it, you do it, and you feel better when it’s done. However, you may be in a place where you want to try something new.
A few weeks ago, I taught my Core Immersion Training at the Century City Equinox in Los Angeles, Calif. Each day, we valet parked our cars before entering the club. Those who live outside of Los Angeles may have to re-read the prior sentence: Yes, we VALET PARKED our cars to go to the gym, as do thousands of other Angelenos all around the city, where valet parking is an unfortunate fact of life in a city where the car is king, and vast distances separate us from getting here to there.
Amp up your walks with a set of poles. Taking a lead from cross-country skiing, Nordic walking is about walking with Nordic walking poles. Not only has it been proven to burn more calories, it targets more muscles than regular walking, all while making your workout feel easier.
It’s with a little embarrassment that I admit I’m an avowed NON walker-for-exercise. I walk when there’s a destination involved and rarely for the sheer sport of it. But it’s so easy — all you need is a pair of shoes and a place to amble — and walking for as little as 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of heart disease, breast cancer and colon cancer. And walking for 15 minutes, if researchers in the U.K. are indeed correct, lessens chocolate cravings.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Rebekah Sturkie
Which is more effective: A sprint? A marathon? Or is it something else altogether? When plotting your course to weight loss, you can’t help but wonder if you should plan to work out harder or longer. The answer depends on your time and ability.