Walking to help lower high blood pressure.

Walking to help lower high blood pressure.

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

Jan 16, 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, I know you encourage us all to walk frequently, but I am wondering, will that help those of us with high blood pressure?

A:  An AARP Bulletin reported last January that high blood pressure is just one of half a dozen ailments that can be improved by taking regular walks – but at different speeds and durations.

Here is an excerpt from the article by Sara Altshul, describing what walking can help:

  • HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE – “Shoot for at least 1.75 miles at a moderate rate (3-4.5 miles per hour) most days of the week to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, says Paul T. Williams, a life sciences researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.”  woman in walking shoes that are orange and teal

  • ARTHRITIS – It may seem counter-intuitive that people with joint pain can feel better if they walk more, but that is what the research shows. Start with 5 minutes and build up to 30 minutes per day of walking at a leisurely pace for 5 days per week, suggests Leigh F. Callahan, assistant director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, U. of North Carolina.  “If the pain is worse two hours after the walk than it was before the walk started, take a less intense walk the next time.”

  • DEPRESSION – Walking fast “increases the production of serotonin, dopamine, and other brain chemicals that lift your mood, says John B. Arden, author of The Brain Bible. “Start with 10 minutes of strolling, then walk briskly to 75 percent of your maximum effort – a pace that makes talking difficult.  Keep that up for 2-3 minutes, then resume a strolling pace.  Repeat these intervals for 20-30 minutes.”

  • INSOMNIA – Exposure to daylight can help. “Bright light inhibits the body’s secretion of melatonin, our natural sleep agent,” says Donald W. Greenblatt, M.D., director of the Medicine Sleep Center at the U. of Rochester, New York. “When you block melatonin in the morning by walking outside, it then bounces back later in the day, helping to promote sleep.”  Late afternoon walks also can be effective.  Try for daily walks at a comfortable pace for 15-30 minute, finishing your walk at least 3 hours before bedtime.  “Be patient:  some evidence suggests that it can take a couple of weeks to get the full benefit of exercise, so don’t be disappointed if you are not experiencing an immediate effect, Greenblatt says.”

  • OSTEOPOROSIS – Did you know that walking helps preserve bone? Walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, can make a difference.  “Three 10-minute walks a day are as bone-strengthening as one 30-minute walk,” says Andrea Singer, M.D., of the national Osteoporosis Foundation.

  • TYPE 2 DIABETES – “Walking after eating sweets can prevent a blood sugar spike. Walk for 15 minutes at an easy pace about a half-hour after breakfast, lunch and dinner.…Because people with diabetes can develop foot infections due to reduced blood flow to the feet, it’s important to get properly fitted for walking shoes.”

So, you see, that’s even more reason why you should…

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!

How to Cut the Stress of Christmas

How to Cut the Stress of Christmas

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

December 18, 2018

Q: Mr. Pedometer, I love the holidays but sometimes they can be so overwhelming.  Any ideas on how to cut some of the stress at Christmas?

A: This article from Organized Home has some great ideas on how to slow down and enjoy the Holidays instead of getting caught up in Christmas madness…

Sure, you love the holiday season–but just not so much of it! This year, you’re hoping to cut the crazy out of Christmas: to trim the celebration back to one that is sustainable and calm.

Question is, just how do you do less–and enjoy it more–during the Christmas holiday season?

If you’re aiming to simplify Christmas, take time to ponder ways to cut stress, save money and tame over-the-top traditions. Setting simplicity strategies in place early will keep you from being swept up in holiday madness.

Get armed! Try these ten simple strategies to calm holiday chaos and rein in the seasonal overkill this year.

10 Simplicity Strategies

  • Prune the to-do list. Ask, “If I don’t do this, what will happen?” Stressed lady wrapping gifts with Christmas tree in backgroundAim to knock down the list of chores to the rock-bottom necessity.

  • Cut the gift list. Rein in gift exchanges that have been outgrown or lost their meaning. Limit gifts to children only, draw names, or organize a gift exchange.

  • Wrap as you go. Who needs to spend Christmas Eve catching up on wrapping chores? Sticky notes will help you keep track of gift contents.

  • Buy, don’t bake. Turn your back on the oven this year. Supermarkets, bakeries and the freezer department of the discount warehouse are a great source for delicious, pre-baked holiday treats.

  • Call, don’t send cards. Reach out and touch someone … the easy way. Online greeting cards are easy, inexpensive and fun to send. No more lines at the post office!

  • Scale back décor. Substitute a simple door wreath for outdoor lighting, a tabletop tree for the over-the-top Tannenbaum. Focusing holiday decor on the Big Three–front door, tree and focal point–can bring a festive feel to the house without day-long decorating sessions.

  • Cut the clean-a-thon. Focus cleaning attention on kitchen and public rooms; private areas can slide til season’s end. Better to schedule deep-cleaning chores like carpet cleaning until after the wear-and-tear of the holiday season.

  • Downsize dish washing. Hand-washing fine china is nobody’s idea of a good time, so move to everyday stoneware. Simpler still: paper plates!

  • Finger food, not feast. A smorgasbord of tasty tidbits is easier on the cook and kinder to the waistline than a sit-down dinner. Share the work by hosting pot-luck events.

  • Stay home! Cuddling down close to the hearth beats holiday travel any day. A holiday “stay-cation” allows for evening drives to see the lights, family camp-outs in front of the Christmas tree, and evenings spent with carols and popcorn. Fun!

Mr. Pedometer adds:  Make time to get out for a walk with family or friends and get some steps in walking and talking and enjoying your neighborhood lights and decorations.

Get depressed in the winter by gray skies and fewer hours of daylight?

Get depressed in the winter by gray skies and fewer hours of daylight?

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

December 4 2018

Q: Mr. Pedometer, I get depressed in the winter by gray skies and fewer hours of daylight.  Any suggestions of how to be “merry” despite those features?     

A: You are far from alone in getting the winter blues. A recent article in the Parade magazine insert of our Sunday newspaper offered the following suggestions on how to brighten these darker days…

VEG OUT “Plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables, feed the good Basket of fresh vegetablesbacteria in our gut that help produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, explains Karen Bush, a board-certified functional medicine health coach at Cleveland Clinic.  It doesn’t have to be fresh:  Frozen produce often retains its flavor and nutrition.”

EMPLOY FLOWER POWER People who woke up to flowers reported a better mood, in a recent study.  So place a vase of tulips or daisies on your bedside table.  When in doubt, opt for blooms that are yellow, a hue that’s often associated with sunshine, energy, and happiness.”

MAKE A PHOTO ALBUM – “Positive memories greatly enhance our present happiness and can even reduce depression, says Dmitry Golubnichy, founder of the 100 Happy Days Foundation and author of Can You Be Happy 100 Days in a Row?  Sort through your photos and assemble the happy ones into a book you can flip through again and again.”

LOL – “’Laughter reduces stress and overrides other emotions in the moment,’ says Donna Agajanian, a New York City-based certified life and intuitive coach. Laughter ‘therapy’ has even been shown to function similarly to antidepressants by raising serotonin levels….”

COLOR YOUR WORLD – “When you find ways to brighten your days physically, you’ll literally feel brighter, says Amy Spencer, author of Bright Side Up:  100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now.  Wear a colorful shirt or scarf.  Buy a pen with green ink or some turquoise sticky notes.  Get pillows for your couch in Kelly green or sheets in tangerine…  ‘Just a few shades of difference in your everyday items can make life feel more vivid all around,’ Spencer says.”

CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE – “’Small changes can bring big rewards for our spirits,’ says Agajanian.  ‘Routines are often connected with the past, so changing one that links to a past negative association can break that link and open up space for other feelings.’  One tweak that takes minimal effort:  Make your bed (if you don’t already).  “It’s a form of self-care and a way of telling yourself that you matter.  That alone can lift your mood,’ she says.”

MAKE FRIENDS WITH WINTER WORKOUTS – “Just 5 minutes of moderate-intensity Mr Pedometer and walking group walking and picking up trashexercise releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. Exercising outside will give you an even better workout.  For one thing, it tends to be more strenuous that indoor sweat sessions, so you’ll burn extra calories. Plus, researchers find that people who get physical outdoors enjoy it more.  ‘I tell people to go outside for 10 minutes,’ says Bush.  ‘But once they’re out there, they realize how beautiful it is and they stay for an hour.’”

WALK THE HAPPY WALK – People in one study who walked as if they were sad (slowly, without a lot of energy or body engagement) ended up feeling sadder. How to make your gait a mood boost?  Happy people walk with an upright, steady torso and swinging arms, reports Golubnichy.”

FLASH A SMILE – “It actually spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing hormones like dopamine and serotonin that increase feelings of happiness and reduce stress.  Even forcing a fake smile helps.  For best results, smile with your eyes and your mouth….”

The very good news is that you can accomplish all of the last three on the list if you come “Walk ‘n’ Talk” with us on Saturday mornings!  If you aren’t in our area, consider starting your own “Walk ‘n’ Talk” group.  Here’s to a cheerier wintertime!