Walkers: We Need to Chat

We live in a politically correct era.  No one wants to tell or hear the real truth  We are busy being polite, but all the while we are constantly lying to ourselves and to others.  My goal isn’t to pick on walkers, just to make them more aware.  Disclaimer: if you are politically correct and you are a walker, please do not read this blog as it is likely to offend you.
This blog was inspired by my recent run across the Golden Gate Bridge.   It was a gorgeous 55 degree day with low humidity (my ideal running weather), so my husband and I woke at the crack of dawn to run over the Golden Gate Bridge.  
There were two lanes to be shared by runners, bikers and walkers.  The bikers going to work were bustling past us to get to work heading out of Sausalito to San Francisco, while respectfully remaining an appropriate distance from pedestrians.  
Bikers require the most focus on the bridge. They are going fast, sometimes faster than the speed limit and they have limited reaction time at that speed.  Runners are engaged, making sure their pace and breathing are well-coordinated.  Walkers tend to be oblivious, swaying their bodies and arms erratically while taking up most of the lane without a care in the world.  They never walk in tandem, only side by side ensuring that no one can get past their width.  Runners and bikers must come to a complete halt before the walkers even notice that anyone is trying to get around them.
Walkers also have a false perception of how much exercise they did.  Walking 3 miles burns 300 calories.  A 3 mile run can burn up to 50% more calories because running consumes more oxygen than walking.
While walking, legs are mostly straight and the center of gravity is over the top of your legs.  Running requires jumping from one leg to the other which raises the center of gravity and lowers it once we land.  You fight gravity with the rise and fall of your weight which requires considerably more effort.  Cycling is also a quicker exercise than walking and will burn more calories than walking depending on the speed of the rider.
Last but not least, walkers tend to believe that a small amount of walking allows them to consume an extra 500 to 750 calories a day.  I have heard on numerous occasions “I walked around the mall so now I can eat this cheeseburger and fries.”  
A walk around the mall may burn 200 calories and the cheeseburger/fries combo is often over a thousand calories resulting no health benefit and no weight loss.  A runner knows that he/she needs to run about 10 miles to negate the calories of that same meal and will opt to avoid the calorie load  altogether.  
Walking is a great way to exercise and it can be done anywhere with just a pair of sneakers.  I encourage all forms of exercise.  Walkers, please just be aware of the moving traffic around you, and please share the road.

Running Can Alter Your Body And Mind

After my mother completed her breast cancer treatments in 2014, I made a decision to run the half marathon “13.1 with Donna” race in February of 2015.   At the onset of my training, I was faced with multiple challenges.  First and foremost, I didn’t believe I was an athlete. I wasn’t sure that I could complete 13.1 miles, even though I finished the Gate River Run, a 15K race.  Next, was an achilles injury 2 weeks before the race that prevented me from running.  After three months of training for this race, I was devastated.  Next, I suffered from a hamstring injury while slalom skiing just a few months prior to the next training season.  I had to go to physical therapy in addition to doing many exercises at home daily to improve my mobility and decrease my pain.
I have always enjoyed running alone for the peace and solitude with my thoughts. However, I found that the more I ran, the longer it took to get my runner’s high. The long runs became boring and I didn’t have the will to challenge myself.  I started running with two of my girlfriends and all of a sudden, the intense training started to feel like a social encounter among friends who happened to be running long distances while catching up on life. Running became more about being with my friends and my commitment to physical fitness and recharging my mind than a chore.  I eventually started looked forward to waking up early on a weekend to run 11 miles while feeling energized and ready to tackle the challenge the moment I woke up.
There have been multiple positive physical changes I have noticed after running the “13.1 with Donna”. However, the bigger changes have been to my psyche.  I now consider myself an athlete – a word I would have never used to describe myself before.  Additionally, I now know that despite multiple physical setbacks, I will still stand true to my commitment and reach my goals.

How to Start Enjoying Running

A recent article in Glamour about running caught my eye. I constantly hear people tell me they hate to run, but wish they enjoyed it.  Before you throw on your shoes and hit the road, make sure you’ve set yourself up for success. 
Glamour lists these as the main points in enjoying running:

  1. Wear the right shoes
  2. Ease into it
  3. Run on gravel, dirt or a treadmill
  4. Think about running light and tall
  5. Cross train
  6. Commit to finishing at least one mile

These are great tips. However, there are three more that would have made it to the top of my list. The following may help you to start running and enjoying the sport or hobby . . .

  1. Wear the right shoes AND CLOTHES.  The development of Dri-FIT fabric has done wonders for my running. Now, I can remain comfortable.
  2. Cold or warm weather?  My favorite temperature to run is 55 degrees.  I am not a fan of the heat or humidity and, therefore, I do not run in the summer.  It is best to pick the time of year you most enjoy to make running more pleasurable.
  3. Run/walk.  There is no shame in taking walk breaks since they allow you rest, assess any injuries, and minimize stress to your joints.  Rather than committing to a full mile of running (which may be discouraging), beginners should start by alternating walking and running instead of attempting to run the full mile. You will gradually be able to run a full mile once you get acclimated.

So, what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to lace up those sneakers and give running a try!

Being Healthy Isn't About Being Lucky

“You are so lucky!”
For some reason, when people tell me I am so lucky to be thin or have nice skin, I tend to cringe. I do realize that it is meant to be a compliment, but this statement offends me since I work hard at keeping myself fit and take good care of my skin.
To some, that may sound shallow and vain, however I see it differently. For me it is about taking care of my body and keeping it healthy for as long as possible. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 79 years for women, and I plan on staying as healthy as possible, for as long as possible, so I can stay alive and active for a long time!

It starts with your body

I encourage keeping one’s diet as healthy as possible. Our foods are over-processed and filled with chemicals. I avoid processed food, soda, and fattening condiments as much as possible. The cleaner I keep my diet, the cleaner I keep my organs. I have noticed the better I eat, the better feel. It gives me more focus and better clarity.
Regular exercise keeps fresh air in my lungs and keeps my joints moving. If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, then you know one of my favorite ways to stay in shape is by running.

Don’t forget your skin

Given that I’m the creator of a plant-based skin care line, you might not be surprised to learn that I’ve also always placed an emphasis on protecting my skin.
For example, in high school, many of my friends would sleep with their makeup on. I would painstakingly remove all of my makeup before bedtime. I would also wear a hat and sunscreen while in the sun and my friends surely thought I was crazy. I didn’t care what they thought and continued to shield my face from the sun.
Ironically, I was shielding my face from the sun so I wouldn’t get too much darker. Being of Indian origin, I turn 10 shades darker with 10 minutes of sun exposure.
Luckily, this worked in my favor. All those years of shading myself from the sun, I avoided the UV rays that cause photo aging, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, among other skin problems including cancer.
I would only consider myself lucky if I stayed trim and healthy by eating cheeseburgers and fries or if I bathed in the sun daily without getting wrinkles. For me, these things are part of a commitment to myself that I honor on a daily basis.
What practices and precautions do you work into your daily or weekly routine to keep your body in good shape?

Women, You Can (And Should) Strive to be More Confident

Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own unique abilities and qualities. Confidence will motivate women to create a plan in moving towards their goals while giving them the ability to stay on course. Many of today’s women lack confidence for a variety of reasons.

Are you in the wrong relationships?

Women must carefully analyze the relationships they are in. For example, if you are not valued in a relationship, whether it is romantic or a friendship, it may cause you to lack confidence. Verbal and emotional abuse may cause women to have self-doubt which can result in a lack of confidence. Women should focus on emotionally stable relationships where both parties can gain a positive outcome from the union.

Sometimes you have to put yourself first

Women tend to focus on everyone else’s needs without much consideration of their own. Here’s a tip… by taking time to do something for yourself each day, you can improve your self-confidence.
Society today places great value on physical appearance and fitness. Women who take care of their looks and physique feel more confident in themselves. They stand taller and maintain better posture.
When women feel good about themselves, they are less likely to settle for a less than adequate spouse, friend or job. They feel worthy of all the best things that life has to offer.
A suggestion is to spend a few minutes in front of the mirror each day and find something you like about yourself. This does wonders in improving your self confidence. If there is something that you do not like about yourself, seek a way to improve it. There are many high-quality, natural and chemical-free skin care and cosmetic products available along with minimally invasive skin rejuvenation procedures to enhance your appearance. Be sure to indulge yourself.

Become the best version of yourself

Confident women do what they believe is right – even when others may mock or criticize the efforts. More and more women are willing to take risks to achieve better things for themselves and they are seldom happy with the status quo.
Sure, mistakes may be made, but mistakes should be used as tools to learn from and for improvement. Confident women accept consequences for their actions and do not blame others for their shortcomings. They apologize for mistakes when necessary and keep moving forward.
With a positive attitude and the ability to recognize and appreciate your inner and outer beauty, confidence is a goal that women can easily work toward and attain.
What are your biggest struggles when it comes to confidence? 

Three Reasons to Run When Nothing is Chasing You

When I tell people that I love running, there are two reactions I encounter the most.  Some people are impressed and commend me for being able to such run long distances.   However, the grand majority of people will mock the idea and say, “I would only run if I was being chased!”
Running is not easy – and I guarantee you, if you are being chased, your chances of not getting caught are much better if you are a runner.
Here are the reasons why I run, especially when I am not being chased:

  1. Running significantly improves my stress levels and my sense of well-being.  Because I have trained my body to run up to 13 miles, I truly believe there is nothing I can’t accomplish.  After all, many things in life seem easy in comparison to a 13 mile run.
  2. Running improves your mental focus. My life is complicated. But when I run, I am able to solve problems much more easily.  I have also come up with my most creative business plans when I am on a run.
  3. My level of physical fitness in my mid 40s sets a great example for my children. Although they don’t enjoy running, they are both physically fit and are extremely conscious of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I would rather be running and inspire them to be fit as opposed to inspiring  them to be potato chip munching couch potatoes.

Leave us a comment and let us know what you do for your mental and physical health.