Thursday March 6, 2014
Happy Sleep Awareness Week. Are you fooling yourself that you get enough sleep for fitness, weight loss, and mental sharpness? Do you burn the candle at both ends and spend most of the day looking like Grumpy Cat?
More and more activity monitor pedometers are adding sleep-tracking functions. These include the popular Fitbit models and advanced newcomers such as the Basis Health Tracker watch. I compared them head to head - wearing four of them at a time and using an app each night for several nights. The Basis earned the top spot for having not only great details, but also rewarding you for developing healthy sleep habits.
Sleep-Tracking Activity Monitors and Apps
Postmenopausal women should workout for a half hour each morning to get the best sleep at night, according to a study. I know I usually sleep better on days when I've had more exercise. Tracking my sleep with a fitness monitor worked much like wearing a pedometer. I made myself stay in bed longer because I was tracking my sleep and didn't want it to show how little I was getting. If you track both your walking steps and your sleep, you may be able to reinforce that both are good for your well-being.
Screen Capture of Basis Health Tracker Sleep by Wendy Bumgardner
Monday March 3, 2014
I decided to sign up for our local Fort Vancouver Run 15K when the race director assured me that walkers were welcome. I'm familiar with the course -- it's one I often do on my own for training, so why not get a medal? The day was cold and the rain was at times semi-frozen. I had on my racing rain gear, covering up my race bib number. There were only a few true walkers in the 15K pack, so for most of the race I could see only some folks a few blocks ahead of me and behind me. No problem, I had my tunes and I put in a good racing pace.
The first water stop was unstaffed, so I self-served. No problem, I always wear a hydration pack because I expect this sort of thing at the back of the pack. We joined in with the 10K route at mile four and I realized that somewhere the 15K was going to have to put in an extra mile.
But when I reached mile 7, there was a turn sign labeled 10K, but nothing for the 15K. I could see the race equipment van patrolling and realized that they were removing the 15K route markings ahead of me. To do the full 15K, I'd have to guess where it was supposed to go.
As I finally crossed the finish line and there was nobody handing out medals. I went to the nearby registration tent to ask about that and a friendly staffer said yes, indeed, I'd earned a medal and so I went back to the finish area and collected it.
Walkers and slower runners often encounter these sort of race fails, even when the organizers are trying to provide a good experience for every racer. Be prepared.
10 Race Fails for Walkers and Run/Walkers
I went onto the race's Facebook page and thanked the organizers. Yes, they failed me in a few ways. But it was a big win over staying at home on the couch whining about the gloomy day. I love the creative bottle-opener medal. I had a good workout and can add it all to my war stories.
But it isn't always the race organizers who are to blame. Avoid these 10 Race Mistakes for Walkers.
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner
Thursday February 27, 2014
It happens to walkers and would-be walkers alike. Does your foot hurt horribly when you first step out of bed in the morning or after sitting for awhile? You may have plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament on the sole of your foot.
This condition is all too common, and a real show-stopper for walkers until it clears up. Dr. Lance D. Barry has been emailing me about his research that showed the best treatment for plantar fasciitis includes wearing a night splint. I'm a believer in that, it's a simple tactic to keep you from re-injuring the foot each morning. Find out more about what to do for plantar fasciitis.
Photo © Stockbyte / Getty Images
Tuesday February 25, 2014
If you are looking for new walking friends, it is always good to play things as safe as if you are going on a blind date. One of my walking friends recently met a new walking partner, and she wisely took precautions to meet him in a safe place and have her other walking friends meet him and give their opinions as well. The result is that we now all have a new walking friend. Here are my precautions to take when meeting a new potential walking buddy.
Many walking clubs and informal walking groups are using Meetup.com to announce group walks. I joined in a few walks recently with a women's walking group. It's been fun, I walked on trails I wouldn't have explored on my own. I got razzed by my office buddies who thought Meetup sounded like a dating site. Not so! Check it out if you want to find others to walk with in your area.
Photo © Depositphotos