Tag Archives: Couch to 5k

Walk in the light

You have no doubt heard someone say light is associated with that which is good. When something is exposed is said to be brought to light. In the same manner darkness is said to be associated with that which is bad or concealed.

Perhaps the idea comes from the Bible, where light and darkness are compared and contrasted from its opening verses all the way through to the closing chapter. The fourth verse of the very first book reads:

“God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:4 NIV

I unknowingly participated in an experiment the other day contrasting the difference between light and darkness. I noticed the direction I am walking matters (towards the light or away from it) in a darkened room. When walking away from the light in a large room filled with obstacles, I noticed those pitfalls became harder to see and navigate around the further I got from a source of light. I also learned the opposite is true when I walked towards the source of light. The closer I got the light the more defined obstacles became and easier to avoid.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 NLT

I put the contrast between light and darkness to the test every time venture out for an evening workout. Carrying a light and wearing reflective clothing when I’m walking in the dark lights my path, but it also keeps me safe.

Abstaining from late night holiday snacks

Here is a suggestion anyone attempting to eliminate snacks from your diet after 6 p.m. on the days leading up to the Christmas holiday. One common decoration found in many homes is a nativity set featuring Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus lying in a manger, and a host of other figures that were drawn to the place of our Savior’s birth. Instead of grabbing a handful of Christmas cookies and washing them down with a glass of eggnog, why not abstain from munching and add a figurine to the manger scene each day instead. As you are adding the figurine, reflect on something you are thankful for. Perhaps you will feel inspired to pray for someone also.

For those who do not consider themselves people of faith, you could substitute adding an ornament to your Christmas tree. Make a deliberate ritual out of it. While you’re adding the ornament, could set your mind to recall a song such as The twelve days of Christmas and add an ornament each day while reflecting on family or friends. Additionally, you can try to come up with a good deed you could do for someone else in keeping with the spirit of giving.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

Homemade applesauce snack

I mentioned in a previous post I was trying not to eat after 6:00 p.m. This goal was to help me manage my weight and ward off late night binging. When the 6:00 hour draws near or slips by me without noticing, I try to look for healthy snacks to minimize the damage. This led me to a new discovery

I like crispy apples…a lot. However, there are times when I accumulate a backlog of them because I either buy too many or the ones I did buy are a little mushy and therefore less desirable. Recently, I came up with a solution to use up those less desirable apples.

I wash and cut two old apples in half and remove the stems and seeds. I put the four clean halves into a microwave safe bowl and add about 1/4 cup of water. I cover the bowl and microwave it for 4-6 minutes. The heated apples turn to sauce. The sauce is extremely hot so I carefully use a fork to retrieve the skins out of the bowl and stir. I suppose you could drizzle some honey and nuts on your applesauce to give it some added sweetness and texture.

There is nothing like a hot snack to satisfy a craving. This also serves to use up unwanted apples.

Couch to 5k: The benefits of walking

walk-2635038_960_720About 30 days ago I sat in a doctor’s waiting room waiting for my six month check up. A year earlier I had been prescribed a small dose of blood pressure medicine to manage my blood pressure.  From periodic pressure readings, I knew my blood pressure had been rising recently.  A nurse confirmed my bp was high.  I knew what was coming, they were going to prescribe a higher dose of BP medicine.  Would they need to increase my meds again next year, and what about the year after that?

I had given up on cardiovascular exercise earlier in the summer.  I didn’t want to subject my knees and hips to jogging anymore.  I didn’t plan to run anymore 5ks so why keep jogging?  I questioned whether or not walking would give me any cardio benefit.  Besides, I considered myself active.  On work days I averaged 10,000 steps on my Fitbit.

However, In the last 90 days (minus any cardio) my resting pulse had risen significantly as had my BP.  To make matters worse, I was coping with a stressful family medical situation.  I am grateful my doctor didn’t overreact.  He calmly recommended the D.A.S.H. diet, some cardio, and said losing a handful of pounds would make a big difference.

It was time to draw a line in the sand.  The next day I started walking for at least 20 minutes a day.  I focused on trying to keep my pulse in the cardio range, 110 to 130 beats per minute as defined by my Fitbit.  I also started making better choices on the food I ate to lower my salt intake.

The results have been noticeable.  In just a little over 30 days my resting pulse has fallen almost to what it was when I was jogging almost 90 days. ago  My BP has fallen below my doctor’s suggested ideal range (that’s with taking my BP meds).  I have also shed a couple of pounds in the process. My Fitbit now declares I have excellent cardio vascular health!  Cardio walking for 30 minutes or more a day 4 or more times a week does make a huge difference!

Couch to 5k: when your body says no

walk-2635038_960_720I’m posting a long overdue update on my couch to 5k progress.  Last year (9/2018) I was successful in completing a 5k run after a thirty plus year hiatus from running.  This year proved to be a different story.  I did go out for a handful of runs this spring and summer but the aftereffects gave me pause to stop and reevaluate my long range goals.  Sporadic knee pain and hip twinges led me to a crossroads.

Since I’ve managed to keep most of the weight off I lost last year and I’m still walking a lot, I’ve decided to step away from running.  I didn’t plan to compete regularly in fun runs anyway.  In the meantime I’m counting on my dogs to give me sufficient motivation to keep walking.  I’ll be content to be counted among the walking crowd for now.