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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Day 31 Create a goal and walk toward it!

Day 31 Create a goal and walk toward it!
The shirt says it all!  Super Early Bird registration is on until Friday November 1 at midnight ... sign up and have a great goal that will get you out there!
Well, the Halloween walk tonight was very wet and windy but we did it anyway ... walking30 can be a pain sometimes but it just has to get done. Tomorrow is November first and it was 2 years ago that I started walking30 ... walking 30 minutes every day for 30 (or 31) days until the next month rolled around and I started again with another 30 days. 

It hasn't always been easy to get out there and there have been a few days that have been less than 30 minutes but there have been far more walks that have been more than 30 minutes and I feel better ... much better than when I didn't make the effort to walk30 every day.

How do you get out the door every day? Create a goal ... join me in November and promise yourself that you will walk 30 minutes every day in November. It really is that easy. When that is done maybe you could give it a try for December ... and on it goes.

Another way to get out there is to sign up for an event and the Minds In Motion K W Walking Classic  is an event for walkers only .. no running ... just walking and lots of great spirit and bling for good measure.  It is the only event of its kind in Canada and this year it is happening on May 11, 2014. You can walk 5K, 10K or 21K half marathon and spend the next 6 months getting out there walking 30 every day ... and sometimes longer ... and you will be ready for any distance and feeling a lot healthier in your body and your mind.

We raise funds and awareness around mental health ... a subject we should all care about. Walking can make a difference in everyone's lives and we are spreading the word as far and as wide as we can through this inspiring event.
Come and join us and start training right away
To register ... just go to www.kwwalkingclassic.com and click the register button on the home page and it will take you to Active Network and our registration page... or just go to this direct registration link. Take a look around the website too ... there are some great stories there.

Let me know that you are walking30 in November ... I would love the company!!

Walk On Strong!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Day 21 Walk 30 minutes every day and that is a Half Marathon a week!

Day 21 Walk 30 minutes every day and that is a Half Marathon a week!


Okay everybody ... I think it is time to make a commitment.

If you have been following this blog for the past 2 years you might have noticed 2 things ... the first is that I am a walking advocate and that I like to challenge myself, and others, to walk30.  That means 30 minutes a day for 30 (or maybe 31 days) in a row. The second thing is that I am a mental health advocate and I am one of the founders of the Minds In Motion K W Walking Classic which is a race for walker's only ... just like a running race but for the walking athletes of the world ... and those that want to support our mental health cause.  Fast or slow we take everyone who wants to set themselves a goal whether it is raising funds to get people into shoes that will get them walking to wellness or to just get themselves out the door for 30 minutes a day.

So how about joining the HALF MARATHON A WEEK CLUB?

All you have to do is walk 30 minutes a day (approximately 3K at 10 minutes per Km) and do it every day which will net you 7 days X 3Km which = 21K and a Half Marathon.
That's correct ... if you walk 30 minutes a day you will be walking a Half Marathon a week.

Come and join the club and make sure you register for the Minds In Motion K W Walking Classic. You can commit to the 5K race, 10K race or the 21 K and if you start walking30 every day you will be well on your way to being ready for the big event on Sunday May 11 2014.
Let me know if you are committing to the 21 K club.
It will change your life ... guaranteed!
If you would like to be a part of the Walk On Strong Team we would love to have you! Just register as a team member and send me an email.
To register for the Classic just go to www.kwwalkingclassic.com
and click on the registration button.

and ... Walk On Strong!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Day 15 Exercise and the Brain

 Day 15 Exercise and the Brain

Have a goal ... being the best you can be for many years to come! Just Walk!

I was asked to write a review of a book that I love that has a message of hope for us all. This is a longer blog than I usually write but I want to recommend that everyone read Spark by Dr. John Ratey.  This book will give you the reason to Walk30 every day! Walk On Strong ... Sue

Over the past ten years I have had a growing passion for understanding the brain. I wanted to know more about how and if it has the capacity to repair damage that is associated with stress, anxiety and other forms of mental illness. This search for answers has grown from our family’s experience with mental illness and the need to find answers and hope in the progress that has been made in the area of neuroscience.

I did not have to search too far to find a book that had answers to my questions and a bountiful measure of the hope I was looking for.  The book is Spark and the author John Ratey is a clinical associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Ratey puts together the cutting edge science that has developed over the past 10 to 15 years that demonstrates how exercise can repair the brain. In his own words:
“I’ll explain the science of how exercise cues the building blocks of learning in the brain; how it affects mood, anxiety and attention: how it guards against stress and reverses some of the effects of aging in the brain.”

“ I want to cement the idea that exercise has a profound impact on cognitive abilities and mental health. It is simply one of the best treatments we have for most psychiatric problems.”

Ratey outlines the undeniable consequences that accompany the presence of mental health stressors. There is damage to the brain and resulting cognitive impairment that is suffered by anyone who experiences ongoing mental or emotional stress. Toxic levels of stress limit the connections between the billions of nerve cells in the brain and chronic stress shrinks certain areas of the brain. One of the areas most affected is the limbic system which is often referred to as the ‘emotional brain’.

The World Health Organization warns us that “Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada, ahead of coronary heart disease, any given cancer and Aids.” 
We also know that the economic burden of mental illness and addiction in Canada is estimated at $51 billion annually. (CAMH)  We understand that there is a problem and that we, as a society, experience more demands on our time and increased levels of stress and that ongoing generalized stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

In his book Spark John Ratey brings us an answer and hope in the form of exercise.  “In a way, exercise can be thought of as a psychiatrist’s dream treatment. It works on anxiety, on panic disorder, and on stress in general, which has a lot to do with depression. And it generates the release of neurotransmitters—norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine—that are very similar to our most important psychiatric medicines. Having a bout of exercise is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin, right where it is supposed to go.”

In each chapter Ratey delves into the various areas of mental health stressors that effect us throughout our lives and how exercise can be the answer to preventing or alleviating damage to the brain. He looks at intellectual productivity, stress, addiction, hormonal changes, aging and more,  exploring how all of these life experiences can be positively impacted through exercise.

Ratey outlines a Build Your Brain exercise regime in the final chapter of the book that will give the
reader a clear road map to follow toward increased mental health.

Ratey brings clarity to the research behind our understanding of how our brains function and recover, not only from serious mental illness but also the stress that we all face on a day to day basis. I struck gold when I found this book, it has given me the tools and the hope that I was looking for but above all it is a call to action. Once you know what exercise can do for you and your loved ones it is up to you to move!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Day 4 Why Run? When you can Walk!!

The first Minds In Motion Walking Conference is sold out!!

Day 4 Why Run? When You Can Walk!!

We are really, really excited about the Move Your Body Change Your Mind Walking Conference that is happening in Waterloo tomorrow.  We are sold out and we have an amazing roster of presenters from all over southern Ontario that will be here sharing their wisdom with the attendees.

We are featuring workshops that are geared for all levels of walkers from the beginner to the novice race walker and even a fairly new flavour of walking technique that is called Chi Walking!
Check out our race website for details at: www.kwwalkingclassic.com

This is the very first conference of it's kind in Canada with a focus on walking as an athletic endeavor. There are a growing number of us that want to get out there and walk and reap the benefits that can be derived from an increase in muscle power through employing higher levels of technique.

At the conference I am presenting a talk relating to exercise and it's effects on the brain.  This is an area I have been investigating for many years, not as a neuroscientist but as a family member, concerned member of the fitness profession and society in general. 

We need to spread the word that exercise is a holistic path to better mental health for all of us and that we can inoculate ourselves against the devastating effects of the unending stress that faces us on a daily basis. Walking is great and some of us love to set walking goals and do races but we are doing far more for our brains than most of us realize. 

A huge thank you goes out to our conference presenters:
Lee Scott of WOW Power Walking in and around Toronto
Rogers Burrows of the Bytown Walkers in Ottawa
Dick Felton  Certified Chi Walking instructor, Sarnia
Rebecca Thompson  Homewood Health Center, Guelph
Stephen Filipowicz  of K W Pilates, Waterloo
and Dave Lewis of Walk On Strong! in Kitchener Waterloo

Let's start a movement ... around movement ... Walk On Strong!