INSIDE: Beauty is health. We can’t see inside to the workings of our bodies, but we certainly can make choices that help insure everything in there is in working order. And amazingly, a simple exercise that you can do almost anywhere, in any type of weather, with little cost–helps major organs in your body stay healthy. And you already guessed what that exercise is–WALKING.
The American Heart Association states that walking vigorously for 30 to 60 minutes three to four times a week is your best choice. The AHA also states that low-to moderate-intensity walking is certainly good for you, and so is just walking 20 minutes a day at a moderate pace.
WALKING PACES: To break it down:
- A 20 minute mile is a stroll, low intensity but you are still getting exercise. Examples would be walking through the mall or going to pick up something at a nearby store. It’s an estimated 120 steps per minute for a person of average height. This helps your health. See below.
- A 15 minute mile is brisk walking, the general pace of most walkers, about 135 steps per minute for a person of average height. Breathing: noticeable but you can carry on a conversation using complete sentences.
- A 12 minute mile is advanced walking for aerobic fitness and for burning calories. It is typically about 150 steps per minute.
To maximize your time walking:
- Walk outside where the unevenness of pavement, grass, sand etc gives your muscles a better workout. You also benefit from any inclines or wind resistance—both help you burn more calories. Walking on a treadmill? Crank up the incline and add bursts of faster movement.
- Use a pedometer which will increase your activity by 27% a Stanford University study says.
- Make sure you have the right shoe—a lightweight walking sneaker that bends and flexes with the rolling action of a walk. Running shoes are often too stiff. Talk to a shoe expert.
- Walk without weights as even the lightest ones can increase you chances of shoulder injury.
Here’s how walking will make your insides more beautiful:
- You will maintain a healthy weight which is so good for all bodily functions
- Keep your energy level up
- Strengthen your memory
- Strengthen your bones
- Maintain and improve your balance and coordination
- Prevent or manage chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Decrease the risk of some cancers
- Just plain make you feel good, elevating your spirit and sense of wellbeing.
Here’s a link to an app that keeps track of your miles, calories burned, ascent, descent, and keeps it all in a history.
NOW THE OUTSIDE: How we present ourselves to the world is often a biggy, something we worry about and at the same time truly care about. I really enjoyed these five tips from Dr. Val Jones who shared them after visiting her dermatologist–it’s about the skin we are in.
1. Throw away your 10X mirror. The dermatologist actually said this: “Honestly, no one sees your skin at 10x, so why should you worry about what it looks like so close up? The best way to make your pores look smaller is to quit looking at them under a magnifier.” In some ways I do find this comforting.
2. Lather on the physical block sunscreen every day. And what you must use is a zinc-based sunscreen that physically blocks incoming UV radiation. The hardest part might be remembering, so this is the final step after cleansing and makeup–if you use it. Also cover your hands and any other exposed skin that you want to keep youthful. And take a tube with you so you can reapply.
3. Remind yourself that you don’t need so much moisturizer. “Women think they need to apply moisturizer multiple times a day, but there is enough moisturizer in sunscreens and anti-oxidant serums to make additional products unnecessary.” Of course you know there’s a dermatologist who will disagree. Dr. Michael Lin, who practices in Los Angeles, recommends adjusting moisturizer usage to the weather. “…winds and indoor heating work together to remove skin’s protective oils and moisture. In extreme conditions the thicker the moisturizer the better. Vaseline is the ultimate moisturizer because nothing gets through it, but it clogs your pores. ” He suggests Aquaphor Healing Skin Ointment as an alternative. He also likes: moisturizers with hyaluronic acid and additional ingredients like mineral oil, beeswax, lanolin and aloe vera. He says it’s okay to layer two or three to get it all.
4. Sun damage. This is the big issue for Boomers who didn’t know we were ruining our skin while getting a tan or just living in the world. Skin-lightening creams often use hydroquinone that can reduce the appearance of sun damage. Hydroquinone acts to down-regulate melanin production in melanocytes. But this help can be easily reversed if you are getting UV sun exposure. So it will even out skin tone and lessen sun spots but only if you also aggressively avoid sun damage by using sunscreens.
5. Avoid the following: dryer sheets! Why? Dr. Jones’s dermatologist says: “Most contain a horrible chemical that no one can pronounce.” And this gets into your clothing in the dryer. Then while running, exercising or walking the ingredient gets reactivated by heat and moisture and the irritating chemical gets on your delicate skin, often guaranteeing a contact dermatitis in places where you sweat. If this is you, consider stopping the dryer sheets to see if the dermatitis clears up.
6. Don’t overuse Neosporin or other antibacterial ointments as they can cause the colonization of antibiotic-resistant organisms.
7. Cut back on using battery-operated exfoliating brushes. Dr. Jones’s dermatologist says they are overkill and might harm delicate facial skin. Consider if you are using products that contain exfoliating acids or you are also using scrub creams. It’s just too much. If you are cleansing your face regularly, you shouldn’t need other aggressive cleaning measures. But Dr. Michael Lin thinks using something like Clarisonic once a week is fine, he does say: “…don’t overdo exfoliation, particularly if you have sensitive skin or acne, or you’ll make your skin worse.”
Now that I’m living in California it is very easy for me to get out at least five days a week and walk. BUT….I am also now exposed to the sun–and a very strong sun–more than I was in the Midwest, so there are tubes of sunscreen in my jacket pocket, my car, my bag. Everywhere. And caps and hats too.
Though it can be challenging, getting outside to walk is good for your body and your spirit no matter what the weather. Read more in my post Nature Deficit Disorder: Why We Need to Go Outside and … You’ll be beautiful inside and out. Happy walking, happy sunscreen!
Thanks to BLUE, Winter 2014
Thanks to Google Images