Monday, September 20, 2010

WK 24: The first pedometer walk went well...

Wilson Falls Road - Part of the Trans Canada Trail.
If you begin walking at Taylor Road and River Road here in Bracebridge 
and continue onto Wilson Falls Road up the Trans Canada Trail until you reach the Falls - 
and then make the return trip, that is just about the 10,000 heart-healthy steps some walking and health sites recommend per day. Unlike most of the other hiking trails which feature forest floor surfaces, Wilson Falls Road can be walked along almost every day of the year and so it will be my winter exercise of choice most days.

Almost all of the wildlife I saw this summer including ducks, deer, beaver, myriad birds including a mighty heron, raccoons and something else in the river I couldn't identify - an otter?, were located along the Muskoka River at Wilson Falls Road. I hope you will all give this diverse and very beautiful walkway a try if you are by this way!
Let me know if you do!


This week I stubbornly maintained focus on exercise, eating healthy and continuing to find a work/living balance in my life even while navigating through the busiest, nerviest part of my work year.

The rain has been fairly persistent the past week, but finally today the trails dried up a little and it was possible to get around the muddy bits. After saving up my Shopper's Drug Mart 'Optimum Points' for awhile, I took them to shop for a Omron Pedometer to help measure the distances walked in both km and 'steps', the percentage of those steps which were walked at a quick enough pace to be considered aerobic exercise during each hike and also the number of calories consumed. The burned calorie count is personalized on the pedometer by inputting one's body weight and it can be further manually adjusted according to age if that's an interest.  It is the distance - number of steps and km - that I am using it for mostly as another means of being aware of a balance between calories in and out -- and time away from work!

The first pedometer walk went well. I checked the 'steps' function a few times to make sure it was recording accurately which indeed it was. The light-weight gadget attaches easily (though not firmly enough, in my opinion) to the waste band or pocket or can even be attached to a purse.  The measurement at the end of the hike was dead-on and I was glad to see that my favourite trail - Wilson Falls Road - provides just the right number of walking steps to fulfill the 10,000 being recommended by many today as a healthy amount of daily walking exercise.  This is on top of the ordinary walking which varies depending on what we do throughout the normal course of the day. Obviously we all have different levels of health and walking distances and the benefits of that are going to depend on our own personal make-up. Some folks walk enough in their jobs and have little need of further walking during their day.

So that was step two this week to keep working on health.  Step one was just simply making the decision to get out the door each day!  Sometimes that is far harder than taking the actual walk which I quite enjoy - once I get out there!.  When set into a work 'groove' for the day, I get a bit obsessive and don't want to firmly put whatever the project is back down on the desk and drag myself out of the chair to grab the back-pack and shoes. The thing that seems to work is to remember how enjoyable it feels being out walking in nature, along the river and in ear-view of the birds. And every walk, there is some little surprise to behold.

Decision three had to do with food and portions and where and how I eat. Eating good healthy food has never been a problem for me. I am almost entirely a vegetarian with a few eggs and some fish thrown into the mix. I eat lots of beans and many varieties of them along with grains. This is my food of choice and certainly no sacrifice at all. But, some days, portions are. Especially when the workload is heavy and the hours are long. So one thing I am doing is to make eating a separate daily event - even if it is a brief one - instead of grabbing whatever and chowing down in front of the computer, the printer or the TV. And to ensure the meal is even more enticing and the portions are reasonably sized, I have decided to spring for a very special handmade dinner plate. It is smallish and square; a beautiful ceramic piece  decorated in a fine-art, understated sort of way. I have promised myself that when I finish losing the next 15 pounds, I am going back for a soup or fruit dish by way of reward!

None of this is easy.  This is the hardest time of year to lose weight, exercise and maintain health.  There is just so little time in a day and from the moment I fall out of bed 'til it's time to turn the covers back down again, it is work, work, work - right up until about December 23rd.  And because it is getting colder, the body seems to say more often - 'feed me, feed me, feed me something warm and comforting!' And then with winter coming on, there will be a heavy coat to get into and heavier still boots to lace up... it just all takes a little more effort.  But after a summer of regular walking, exercise and eating well, my endurance has increased, the weight is down a bit and so are the blood pressures. Nothing's perfect but it sure is improved. If I can make it through the busy season coming up - basically just 13 weeks - then I will finally be on the way of having achieved a lifestyle change and can be assured that walking, good eating, and a healthy life balance are taking root. Enjoyment of the maturing years has so much to do with health -  none of us want to spend those years in a chair - or worse still, in a bed!

Cheers, everyone. I hope you too, are getting out to enjoy the lovely fall weather. If it rains, then try walking round malls or just take an umbrella with you.  But do stay off the slippery forest trails which can be muddy and dangerous.

Thanks for your company and walking along with me on my footpath this week,

Supplemental photos of a downtown Toronto visit this week are here:
Page 1:
Page 2:

The crackers if any of you are interested for Thanksgiving are here:

PS:  The new  Muskoka Trails 'Map Clips' are available.
You can buy them at Muskoka Bean on Manitoba Street for just $5.
The Clip Book contains trail maps for 6 Muskoka Regions - each page is plastic protected, features a map, access points, parking locations and items of interest. Each trail also features a "Volkssport Rating" to indicate the walking difficulty.  I don't know if I particularly agree with these ratings for Bracebridge.  One trail which I find especially easy, is rate 5E - the most difficult level but another trail that I believe to be the hardest in town is given only a 3E.  So maybe some of this is subjective!
Anyway, these attractive Clips can be handily attached to your back pack.

For more information, Twitter here:

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