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Monday, May 25, 2020
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There's an App for That!

    By Paula Moore Hurtt

      Walking is a good weight control tool, especially for maintenance. How many calories we burn depends, of course, on how strenuously we walk, our weight, our diet and other factors.  According to the Mayo Clinic, if we add 30 minutes of brisk walking to our daily routines, we could burn about 150 more calories a day. (To lose a pound a week, we generally need to eliminate 500 calories a day.) Of course, the more we walk and the quicker our pace, the more calories we’ll burn.   Still, it’s tough to lose weight only through walking.  Results are more positive when a walking regimen is combined with a healthy, doctor supervised weight loss diet. 

     For our purposes, it’s more important to realize that walking helps keep our metabolic engines revving efficiently.  We are very adaptable machines, and when our bodies get the message that we will be asking a bit more of them every day during our walks, they will make the changes necessary…right down to the cellular level. 

     Here are some tips to help us get the best results from our walking.  And be sure to check out the apps at the bottom of the page. 

  •  Break it up.  Studies show that three 10-minute walks in one day are as effective as one thirty minute walk.  If thirty minutes seems overwhelming, 10 minutes might feel more manageable.  The important thing is to move more.  This can be as easy as not trying to find the closest parking space at WalMart.  Click here for some tips to get you started.  http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/The-Walking-Club/Resources-for-Walkers/Walking-Tools/Develop-Your-Personal-Walking-Schedule.aspx 
  • Sometimes the easiest way for us to start a new habit or routine is to connect it with something we already do routinely.  For instance, most of us eat three times a day.  Walking ten minutes before or after each meal will connect the two activities in our minds and promote the adoption of the new habit of walking.  If we go to the mailbox every day at the same time, we might put on our walking shoes and go for a walk before we pick up the mail.   Many of us enjoy going for a walk right after dinner, which is an obvious way to connect the habit of dinner time with the habit of walking.  It also promotes healthy digestion and a good night’s sleep.
  • There is something about doing an activity for several days in a row that encourages us to want to keep doing it.  It’s sort of the same concept our teachers used in grade school when they gave us gold stars.  Once we had three or four of them, we wanted that streak to continue.  Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, of all people, used this leverage technique for joke writing.  He made a big calendar and determined to write a new joke every day.  Each day, after he wrote the new joke, he would put a big red X on that day.  After a couple of weeks, he realized he didn’t want to break that long chain of X marks and it became an important aspect of his success. (lifehacker.com) So, every time we take a walk, we might want to make a mark on our calendars or add a marble to a glass jar or even get some gold stars and use them to keep track of our walking…whatever it takes to keep the streak going. Here is a link to a pdf of a walking log.  http://www.bidmc.org/~/media/Files/YourHealth/Walking%20Club/walkinglog2013.pdf
  • A daily walk has great potential to be daily fun.  It’s almost always more fun to walk with someone else, as long as he or she is good company.  Walking and talking makes the time go by faster.  Our dogs are the best company for some of us, are always delighted to go for a walk and pretty much appreciate anything we have to say! We can also listen to music or books on our electronic devices to make the walk fly by.
  • We are particularly blessed by the fact that Shelby County has miles and miles of walking trails in our county park system.  We can walk beside the baseball fields and golf course at Clear Creek Park, along the water at Lake Shelby or even on the horse trails at Shelby Trails Park. Red Orchard Park has a huge fenced in area, and it’s fun to walk the perimeter while our furry friends play with their other furry friends.  There are also almost four miles of trails open to hikers and horses. Trail maps, dog park passes and other information can be found at the Family Activity Center at Clear Creek Park.  More information can be found at www.shelbycountyparks.com It is also fun to park the car downtown and Shelbyville.  If it’s a rainy day or too hot or cold, several local churches, including First Baptist Church of Shelbyville have walking tracks.  Just be sure to check with the church office about schedules and rules.
  • Use technology.  Most all of us have smart phones or tablets or some other device that uses apps.  There are numerous fitness apps available such as “Map my Walk” on i-phones and “Walk Logger” on Android; and many of them are free.  “Everybody Walk” is available for both Android and iPhone.  These apps allow us to set our phones to remind us that it’s time to go for our walk, keep track of our mileage and even show a map of our journeys.  There is even an app called Habit Streak that will keep track of our streak of success…sort of the equivalent of electronic gold stars!  

            Following is a list of apps of interest provided by Glenn Ellis:

               FitStar Personal Trainer

            FitStar Yoga

            My Fitness Pal

            Weight Watchers

            Lose It!

            Thermos Hydration

            Nudge Health Tracking




            Spark People