Friday, April 8, 2011

2011 Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

To me, walking is a great form of exercise. It requires almost no equipment, except a decent pair of shoes. You can walk by yourself (as long as it's safe!) or with one or more friends or family members. It can be enjoyed together by the young and the old. You can walk briskly or simply stroll, either way the important thing is simply being in motion. Walking is also a great way to catch up with friends (have you ever noticed how fast time goes when you are chatting with friends) or to take some time to take in the sites or simply observe nature.

Yesterday, we all had the day off and my mom came over to visit. After we got back from lunch, the kids wanted to go for a walk, so my mom, the two kids and I set out on a walk around the block. The weather is just starting to break and it was nice to get out and get some fresh air and a bit of exercise. We walked just about a mile in total.

When the weather (and my work schedule) allows, I love to be able to take a walk at lunch. We have a path that we walk that is just about 3 miles long. Sometimes, we take a shorter route, but when we have time we walk the whole thing. The walk can be almost therapeutic. It is a great stress reliever and taking the time to catch up with friends feels great. Sometimes we talk about things at work, but never about work. Sometimes it becomes a vent session. Other times, it is just a great way to catch up on what has been going on in our lives. The fresh air and the sunshine provide a sense of renewal and we return energized to finish the work day.

At home, I enjoy walking around the block with the kids. When they were younger, I would push them in the stroller or pull them in the wagon. Sometimes, we would stop and visit with friends playing in their yards. Now that they are older, generally, they like to take their bikes or scooters, which generally means that they are stopping to wait for me or riding back to me after a while, so as not to get too far ahead.

Of course, as of late, my daily exercise has been using assorted workouts from the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home collection of walks. It's a great way to get in a workout, even in my own living room. On one of the walks, her walking team are all people that have lost over 100 pounds through walking. Through out some of the walks, she comments on aerobic exercise and how people don't like to think of walking as exercise, but it really is.

I'm not really sure when I started to enjoy walking, but I feel like I have been doing it for years. When I was a child (5th or 6th grade), I can remember my mom and the neighbor going for walks on a regular basis. I'm not sure it was daily, but it was probably close. They would walk about 2 miles through the neighborhood and they were fast walkers. On rare occasion, I was allowed to join them (they generally walked at night and it seems to me that it frequently was dark, so I'm guessing it was pretty close to my bedtime) and I thought the world of being allowed to join. It took a lot of effort for me to keep up with them, but now, as a result, I am a fast walker.

I can also remember participating in many local Volksmarches as a child. The whole family would go and walk. Sometimes we would be joined by, or catch up with, family and friends. Honestly, I'm not sure how often we went, but there seemed to be all sorts of different walks in both urban and rural type settings, perhaps even a few at the local nature preserves and parks. Looking through the current local walks on their website, there are many coming up in the next few months in my area (being in Ohio, it makes sense that there might be a few more now that it is starting to warm up). It seems that many of the walks include a 5K or 10K option.

Are you a walker? Have you been wanting to get started? Here are some tips from Weight Watchers:
    * The first step is getting up and moving – start slow and increase your speed and distance over time. Be sure to set reasonable goals.

    * To help motivate you, sign up for a future 5K. Having that date on the calendar is sure to keep you focused.

    * Be sure to add strength training to your routine. Before you know it, you will have a new you!

    * Finally, listen to your body. If you need to rest, take a day off. And have fun!

Looking for an upcoming 5K that you can train towards? It is once again time for the Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge.
    Team up with your friends and family and start training to walk - or run - a 5K (3.1 miles) on Weight Watchers Walk-It Day, May 22! Use our interactive, step-by-step, six-week training plan and fitness tips to prepare for the event. Connect with other walkers in our Community for ideas and encouragement. Read inspiring blog posts. Take part in our Walk-It Challenge Community Challenge or create or join a Walking Group.

You can find more information about the Official Weight Watchers Walk-It Day 5K in your state here.

No compensation was received for this post. As a Weight Watchers Insider, I was provided with information about the Walk-It Challenge and will be receiving a Walk-It Toolkit. All opinions expressed are my own.