© Jacquelyn Johnston, M.Ed.
How many machines have you tried out at the Gym? I enjoy using most of them at mine, from the rower to the abduction and adduction ones, plus the elliptical and the ones for the pecs and glutes. When it comes to cardio, however, I prefer a power-walk in the open air, preferably in the park, where I join forces with the scampering squirrels, the ever-nibbling bunnies and the stunning, teal-coloured mallards. Where do you walk?
I was out walking in the snow on the weekend when I espied a machine in the window of a health food store. Curious about this increasingly popular fitness device, I stepped in, and was given the opportunity to try out what I’d call the “stationary earthquake”. This is a machine that makes you feel as if you’re standing in a safe earthquake zone—how’s that for an oxymoron! You can stand on it as it tips you forward, backward and sideways, all the while buzzing up and down your muscles in a controlled and safe way.
It was a great experience. In many gyms around Richmond people are offering free tryouts; if you’re open to a new fun sensation and don’t have any of the health conditions listed on a chart on the wall, I would recommend a try. It gives you an awareness of muscles we take for granted, and muscles that need toning. And you’re tingling afterwards, aware of areas that need better circulation.
And no, you don’t have to rush out and purchase a machine—there are ample opportunities to get some basic muscle tone just by walking. You can get off the bus a stop earlier, walk your dog, walk to and from work if you’re close enough, do walking exercises at home by stepping in place or up and down stairs, and so on. Even if you happen to have hurt your feet you can simply do some pedaling while lying down on your bed or on a yoga mat.
The key is to get those muscles toned. Walking is an inexpensive way of getting your daily cardio boost. It moves those hormones around, stimulates the lymph glands, improves digestion, and leaves you feeling happier, brighter, and more flexible.
Here in Canada we have had a rather snowy December, and there’s still a good foot or two of snow on the ground. I have been getting a terrific cardio workout just by donning those boots and tackling the uneven surfaces, grooves and snow-banks in the city. Ten minutes into the walk you get so toasty-warm you wish there were a coat-check booth right there on the sidewalk! Bonus: if you’re walking in the park the birds will follow you.
When you get home you will have done your heart a favour, your brain will function more efficiently, you’ll have inhaled some invigorating oxygen into your lungs, and you’ll sleep without counting sheep. You’ll have given your entire system a workout, one we badly need in the months we spend largely indoors. And if you’re at work all day you’ll give yourself a break from all that fluorescent lighting.
Does a lunch-time walk outdoors tempt you? “What about lunch?” you say. Call me, and I’ll show you how to take care of that one. Even two lunch-time walks outside per week will help. I can think of at least 5 different ways they can benefit you while you still get all the nutrition you need.
This could also be step 1 towards shedding unwanted pounds and preventing diabetes; better still, avoiding membership in the Diabesity Club that is opening franchises all over the world.
To discover more, download the free report on the right of this screen. I look forward to seeing your comments in this blog post.
I’m off to the snowbanks now: join me?
Jacquelyn Johnston M.Ed.
Professional Health Coach and Educator