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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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The Growing Challenge: Come On In And Chat Away!

The Growing Challenge The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition:  From Seed To Seed

 

Check In

 

Welcome, everyone.  Come check in – tell us all how your garden is growing, plus ask questions, vent, and show off, too!

 

 

There are 154 participants signed up for The Growing Challenge: From Seed To Seed, and 202 participants in The Original Growing Challenge.  You can join either challenge at any time.

 

Together we’re an awesome support network for learning new things! Welcome, everyone who has recently joined. And if you haven’t already, please join us in taking a new step toward sustainability by growing your own food from seed. Participants of The Growing Challenge From Seed to Seed are listed below, and participants of The Original Growing Challenge are listed here.  Let’s visit, support, and learn from one another – visit each others’ blogs and ask questions!


  1. Jules, The Garden of Plenty, Melbourne, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  2. Jena, Married To The Farm, Caro, Michigan – zone 5
  3. Amanda, You Reap What You Sow, South Central Pennsylvania – zone 6-7
  4. Jen, Toward Arcadia, Michigan – zone 5-6
  5. Deb G, Bee Creative, Pacific Northwest – zone 7
  6. Greeen Sheeep, Wisconsin – zone 4
  7. Kory, Kicking And Screaming, Central New York – zone 5
  8. Abbie, Farmer’s Daughter, Connecticut – zone 6-7
  9. Margaret, Margaret’s Ramblings, Nottingham, England – zone 8
  10. SusanB, Southern New Jersey – zone 6b-7
  11. Karin, Fleecenik Farm, Central Maine – zone 4
  12. Kelsie, Hobbit’s Feat, Kentucky – zone 7
  13. Monica, Northern Ohio – zone 5-6
  14. Jen, Aaron-N-Jen: Living Life Simply, Iowa – zone 5
  15. Di, Path To Greendom & World of Yardcraft, Southern California – zone 10
  16. TomB, My Simple Home Garden, Central Massachusetts – zone 5b
  17. Judy, My Freezer Is Full, East Central Iowa – zone 5a
  18. Julie, Towards Sustainability, Newcastle, NSW, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  19. Dina, Hip Chick Chronicles, Portland, Oregon – zone 8-9
  20. Alana
  21. Milkweed, Milkweed Diaries, Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina – zone 6-7
  22. Melanie J, Ember’s Lighthouse, Jacksonville, Florida – zone 9a
  23. Risa B, Stony Run Farm, Western Oregon – zone 8
  24. Maureen, Fotos By Meg & Suburban Sharecroppers, Central Valley, California – zone 9
  25. Amy Crump, Crump Family Blog, Chapel Hill, North Carolina – zone 8
  26. Rob, Rob’s World, Burien, Washington – zone 8
  27. The Rachface, This Evolutionary Life, Virginia – zone 8
  28. Janice, Going Off Da Grid Janice, California – zone 8-9
  29. Green Bean, Green Phone Booth, Bay Area, California – zone 9
  30. Daphne, Daphne’s Dandelions, Winchester, Massachusetts – zone 6
  31. Briel
  32. Jimmy Cracked-Corn – zone 5
  33. Lisa, Domestic Accident, Southern Coastal Maine – zone 5-6
  34. Hannah, The Purloined Letter, Takoma Park, Maryland – zone 7
  35. Suzan, Scrub Oak, Rocky Mountain southern foothills (6,700 feet) – zone 4
  36. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener
  37. Onemotherslove, What’s He Up To Now?, North Central Texas – zone 8
  38. Red Icculus, Red-Icculus.com – zone 5
  39. Jocele, Knitting On Call, Idaho – zone 6-7
  40. Matt, Florida – zone 9
  41. Sara, Mama Craft, Canada – zone 3a
  42. Tyra, Tyra’s Garden & The Greenhouse In Tyra’s Garden, Vaxholm, Sweden – zone 6
  43. Inadvertentfarmer, The Inadvertent Farmer, Western Washington – zone 8
  44. Lauren
  45. Melody, Merrie Melody, Utah – zone 6
  46. Melinda, One Green Generation, Seattle, Washington – zone 8
  47. Michelle, Alpaca, Chook, Garden, Travel and…., Hobart, Tasmania, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  48. Laurel, Nefaeria, North Bay, Ontario, Canada – zone 4a
  49. Mary, Freedom Gardens Journal: Mecar, Crete, Illinois – zone 5
  50. Susan, How Green In My Garden, Southern California – zone 8b
  51. Mary, Cat’s Fiber Adventures, Oregon – zone 8-9
  52. WIlla, Plants And Animals & Yumminess Ensues, S. Central Pennsylvania – zone 6A
  53. Jenn, Attempted Simple Life, Osgoode, Ontario, Canada – zone 5a
  54. Shibaguyz, Here we go! Life with the Shibaguyz…, Seattle, WA – zone 8
  55. Tina, Bee Content Ranch, California
  56. Cassandra, The Urban Trowel, Southeastern BC, Canada – zone 5
  57. Nico, Self Sufficient Life, North Germany – zone 8
  58. Sadge, Firesign Farm, Carson City, Nevada – zone 6
  59. Leanne, At The Good Life, New Zealand – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  60. Jenny, Studio J
  61. Sarah S, Life At The Ranch, Northern California – zone 9
  62. Sarah Z, Ward Road Garden, Northern California – zone 9
  63. Christy O, Farm Dreams, Georgia – zone 7
  64. Jason L, Vegetable Garden Planner
  65. Annette, Ward House, Hot Springs, Virginia – zone 6
  66. Paige, Clausen In The Hausen & Out In The Garden, Saint Peters, Missouri – zone 5
  67. Rhonda, FarmHouse Style, North Georgia Mountains – zone 7b
  68. Kelly, Taurus Rising, Adelaide Hills, Australia- zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  69. Laura, Mas Du Diable, France – zone 9
  70. Christina, A Thinking Stomach, Altadena, California – zone 9b
  71. Latigoliz, Cowgirl Up, Enumclaw, Washington – zone 8
  72. Lisa, Natural Gardening, Upstate South Carolina – zone 8
  73. Chris, Chattagarden, Chattanooga, Tennessee – zone 7
  74. Mary B, Tampa, Florida – zone 10
  75. Kathy, Birmingham, Alabama – zone 7-8
  76. Kathy and Skippy, Skippy’s Vegetable Garden – zone 6
  77. Katrien, MamaStories, suburb of Boston, Massachusetts – zone 6-7
  78. Maggie, Mama What The
  79. Christa, Lazy Toad Farm, New Hampshire – zone 4-5
  80. Emma, The Berry Patch, Sydney, Australia – zone 10 (Aust. 4)
  81. Jenny, Seeded, Toledo, Ohio – zone 6
  82. Melissa, Rabbit Hill Farm, rural North Carolina – zone 7-8
  83. Jessie Earth Momma, Pacific Northwest – zone 7b
  84. Catherine, Love Living Simply, Texas – zone 8
  85. Ian, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – zone 6b
  86. Christy, Growing Human, Coastal Virginia – zone 7b
  87. Amanda, A Homegrown Life, California – zone 9
  88. Robbie, Going Green Mama – zone 5
  89. Pamela, Suburbancrunch – zone 6-7
  90. Beth, Potager Gardening, Columbus, OH – zone 5
  91. Tammy (+ her 6 cherubs!), Simply Beck’s Bounty, SE Tennessee – zone 7
  92. Ottawa Gardener, The Veggie Patch Re-Imagined, Ottawa, Canada – zone 5a
  93. Laura Chandler
  94. Lisa Cohen, Life Is In The Details
  95. Darlene, Stover Lane, Kansas – zone 5-6
  96. Sherri M, Sherri’s Mad Blabber Blog, Erin, Ontario, Canada – zone 5a
  97. Chad M, Minnesota – zone 4
  98. Shelby, Eat Local Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM – zone 5-6
  99. Linda, Garden Girl, Chicago, Illinois – zone 5b
  100. Stacy, Canada – zone 5b
  101. Joan, Young Girl, Old Life, Northeastern Missouri – zone 5
  102. Kim & Victoria, Living And Gardening In Idaho, Boise, Idaho – zone 5-6
  103. Sinclair, Nature With Me, Oregon – zone 7
  104. Jenette, Sacramento, CA – zone 9b
  105. Jennifer, Jen & The Bean Stalk, North Idaho – zone 4-5
  106. Laurie and Tim, Golden Gaits Garden, Colorado – zone 5b-6
  107. Phoebe, Cents To Get Debt Free, Southern Missouri – zone 5-6
  108. Megan, Raised On Sunshine, Dallas, TX – zone 8a
  109. Crunchy Chicken, Seattle, WA – zone 8
  110. Jenn, Jenn’s Coop, central valley, CA – zone 10
  111. Veriance, Michigan – zone 5
  112. Sande, Sow This, Sew That, Southeastern Michigan – zone 5
  113. Jenn, Newlyweds!, Texas – zone 9
  114. Carri, Home Of The Petersonclan, South Central Kentucky – zone 6
  115. Amber, Cloud9 Design, Texas – zone 9
  116. Jo, Little House By The Railway Line, England – zone 8
  117. Andrea, Colorado – zone 5-6
  118. Kendra, A Sonoma Garden – zone 9
  119. Stuff, Proactive Bridesmaid – zone 7
  120. LiBBy BuTTons, US – zone 6
  121. Healing Green, Gaylordsville, Connecticut – zone 6
  122. Carpe Diem, British Columbia, Canada – zone 3
  123. Trish, The Promised Land – zone 8-9
  124. Diana, Backyard & Community Gardening, Northern Colorado – zone 4-5
  125. Tricia, Little Eco Footprints, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  126. Juliette, Abielle A Miel, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – zone 8-9
  127. Ciera, Ciera’s Garden, Pittsburg, PA – zone 6a
  128. Kara, Garden of Eatin’, Canada – zone 4
  129. Vickie, In The Acorn, Winnetka, CA – zone 9
  130. Paula, Buckets Of Gardening Ideas, Idaho – zone 4-5
  131. Jennifer, Seeds In The City, Bay Area, CA – zone 9-10
  132. Anne-Marie, Cheeseslave, Los Angeles, CA – zone 10-11
  133. Shea, The Lion And The Little Red Birds, Australia – zone 4
  134. Vermontmommy, McKinney, Texas – zone 8
  135. Christina, Closer To Fine, Bay Area, CA – zone 9-10
  136. Transition Housewife, Suffolk, UK – zone 8
  137. Lori, Life In Webster Groves, St. Louis, MO – zone 6a
  138. Nature Deva, Colorado – zone 5-6
  139. Bettina, Unterm Walnussbaum, Alsheim, Germany – zone 7
  140. Kelly, Simply Dawson, Columbia, SC – zone 8
  141. Berryvine Farm, NE Georgia – zone 7b-8
  142. Plant Lady, Trillium Grove Farm, Southern Ontario, Canada – zone 5b
  143. Saara, Garden Journal, North Cascades, WA – zone 6b
  144. Melissa, Melissa’s Ramblings, Kansas – zone 6
  145. Cheap Like Me, Denver, CO – zone 6
  146. Maybelline, Maybelline’s Garden, Bakersfield, CA – zone 9
  147. Heather, Heather’s Homemaking, Massachusetts – zone 5-6
  148. Aimee, Project GROrganic, Ohio – zone 6a
  149. The Cottage Comtesse, River Rock Cottage, California mountains – zone 3
  150. Rodney, Rodney Harrington’s Blog, Warren, OH – zone 5
  151. Xan, Mahlzeit, Chicago, IL – zone 5
  152. Jude S, Greenhouse
  153. Kelly, Patio Farmers Guild, Oregon – zone 8a
  154. Wendy, Greenish Thumb, Maryland – zone 6


I’ve added everyone’s name, blog, location, and hardiness zone. Please check your info to make sure I have it right as I had to guess on some of them.  And if I’ve left you off, be sure to tell me.  And again, The Original Growing Challenge participants are all listed here.


Chat Away

 

Question, vent, show off… or otherwise offer up some fodder for gardening conversation!

 

 

How Is Your Walking??!

Hello everyone!  I’m alive but not particularly well.  I’ve been fighting off the flu.  So please forgive the intermittant posts this week.  I’m severely lacking energy.


But I wanted to learn how your walking is going!


10,000 Steps Challenge


Here’s a Bit from My Experiences:


I pledged to walk just about 5 miles every day:  from home to work, then from work to the community garden and back home.


Up until a few days ago (when I became ill), I was really enjoying the walks.  I walk right through the heart of downtown Seattle, passing walking commuters, bicycle commuters, bus commuters, and of course some cars, too.  I LOVE being a part of the hustle and bustle of life, and wondering with interest how different (and at the same time how similar) people are.


My walks consist of daily observations, smiles to friendly people, and a whole lot of good thinking.  It has become quite a meditative experience.  I’m able to clear my mind of many stresses and really focus on things that matter to me.  The brainstorms I’ve had while walking have been incredible!


I love it!


That said, it hasn’t been perfection.  Or rather, I have not been perfectly on top of walking.  A couple of times I’ve been running late – or feeling ill – and have taken the bus about 2/3 of the way to or from work.  And I have yet to make it to the community garden on the way home.  I’m thinking I need to re-evaluate that and do it on the way to work when I’m fresh, rather than on the way home from work when I just want to go home, see my husband, and eat dinner.


So I need to change my original plan a bit.  On Monday, assuming I feel better, I’ll begin my routine with walking to the garden in the morning, and then going to work from there.  Then I need to figure out how to eke out a bit more time in the day – it seems crazy, but that extra hour of walking has taken its toll on my schedule, so I need to rearrange my daily schedule a bit.  Live and learn.


How Are You Doing With Your Walking Schedule?


And if you’d like to join us, please feel free!  Good for your health, your emotional well-being, and brings you closer to your community!


Our Luscious Community Garden Plot

I want to apologize to all of you – here I said I would be gone for a weekend and I was gone for a whole week!  Thanks for continuing the conversation while I was gone.  I will look for some updates from you all in the next few days, regarding your walking and your gardening – I can’t wait to hear how it’s going.


In the meantime, I realized it has been a VERY long time since I’ve showed you my community garden. Here is the evolution of the plot since April:

 

The Plan

The Plan – good to have it, didn’t quite stick to it.

 

The Plot - Before

The Plot – when we first saw it

 

After Amending The Soil

After amending the soil with 1.5 yards of soil mixed with compost

 

Planted P-Patch

Little plants beginning to rise

Our Beautiful Patch!

Grown!

 

This little 10 x 10 ft plot is providing loads of salad greens and basil, and soon we’ll be eating carrots, beets, and bulb fennel.

 

Close-up on the right side of the patch

Melons, nasturtiums, greens, and carrots

 

Our melons and eggplants are full of flowers but no fruit yet (planted it a bit late).  Our rhubarb (way back behind the amaranth) is doing wonderfully and I suspect we’ll be able to eat some next spring.  Most of our broccoli went to seed before producing any heads – I believe it got too hot, since we went from winter to summer without much of a spring this year.  But I have some small ones just coming up that will be ready by early fall.

 

Amaranth, 4 feet tall

Amaranth, now 4 feet tall


And the amaranth – isn’t it gorgeous?  We ate the small leaves as salad greens, the larger greens like spinach, and we’ll wait for the rest to produce grain seeds – they’re just starting to bud.  It is the easiest thing I’ve ever grown – these heirloom seeds were a gift from Botanical Interests.


If you’ll remember, most of what we planted went into my parent’s back yard.  I’ve also started a garden with my grandfather at his community garden patch.  And I have a few herbs on our fire escape as well.  Yes, I have my hand in 4 gardens – it’s true.  No wonder I’m battling to find the time for everything!  (See my post today at the Co-op.)

 

So, there you have it.  I’m proud of my little patch, considering that we just found out we had it during the second week of April.  It’s already time to start planting a second crop of greens!

 

Discuss!

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments, emails, and Facebook notes about our one-year anniversary.  We’re going for two!

 

Quick Mentions

 

I’ve had a lot of fun reading your comments lately.  Red Icculus, love the different perspective you bring here.  Deb G, Risa B, and Katecontinued, I love the kindness you bring.  And all of your gardens!  Ian, and any of you – please feel free to start any challenge at any time.  You don’t need a blog, you don’t need to do it all at once either – just work toward it.  And if any of you would like to add an extra bit of spice to your personal challenge (Ruchi) please do – by all means!  Challenges are a way to push us all a bit harder, and put a little fun into it on the way.  Augment as you will!


And last, I want to give Melanie and Tricia virtual hugs – both have had terrible gardening woes.  If anyone has any advice for them, I’m sure they would be all ears.  Tricia has found lead contamination and Melanie has found low light and mysterious critters…!

 

Discuss!


Well, last time I went out of town for pleasure.  This time I’m going out of town for work.  I’ll be working all weekend long, so I may be able to check into the blog occasionally to read your comments, but I won’t have time to post.


So… let’s converse again!  It was interesting for me last time, but let’s pick it up a bit.   Any questions or thoughts you have are fair game (as long as they are constructive and respectful of course!).  Here are some conversation starters…


Last week there were a few unanswered questions:


1. Has anyone had good experience growing peanuts or grains at a backyard level?  (This is a combined question from Deb G and Maureen.)


2. How do you keep people focused and communicating when you are community building?  Can anyone share some things they’ve tried?


and

 

Long, Fat, GIGANTIC Worm!


3. Check out this crazy worm I found in the garden!  How long do you think it is?  (Hint:  I do not have baby-sized hands.  Click the image to enlarge it.)  And here’s a harder question:  how old do you think it is?


Thanks for participating – I look forward to learning from you all!


It Has Been One Whole Year!

 

Hi everyone.  What a difference a year makes…. A year ago, you and I together started this website.  Can you believe it has been a year?  Your comments, emails, and participation help make this site an informative, supportive, and enjoyable community.  Thank you.


In case you haven’t read it before (or haven’t read it in a while), here was the first post:  Who We Are & Where We’re Coming From.  And our About page, where I dubbed this website a Meeting of Great Everyday Minds!


Since then I’ve created a page full of Recipes, and we’ve spent a lot of time discussing Community Building, Living Locallly, and Growing Food.  Not to mention the many, many personal changes we have all made as we Redefine Normal.

 

11,118 Comments.  241 Posts and Pages.  280,826 Visitors just since January, from almost every Country on the planet (113 different countries just in the last week). 


So what do you think?  Shall we continue on this journey together?


I would love to – how about you? If there is anything you are missing here at One Green Generation, please let me know – any constructive suggestions are welcome!


Thank you again for joining me on this journey!

 

The 10,000 Steps Challenge

10,000 Steps Challenge


Yesterday I explored all the many reasons I have been motivated to walk.  Please read it if you haven’t already!  Essentially, 10,000 is the magic number of steps needed to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and keep your weight in check.  Walking has a number of other health benefits as well, including emotional and spiritual health.  Plus if you walk instead of driving or taking public transportation, you will reduce the amount of non-renewable energy used and CO2 produced.  And lastly, when you walk you tend to become a more active part of your community.


Do read more here if you need more motivation!


So here we go…


The 10,000 Steps Challenge


I am ready to make my pledge to you to work toward walking 10,000 steps every day.  Will you join me?


Don’t worry, this is not an all or nothing pledge, it’s a pledge to work toward 10,000 steps.  When you sign up for this challenge, you absolutely do not have to walk 10,000 steps tomorrow.  But you do have to actively work toward it.  Start walking 1,000 steps.  Or even 100.  Then every week add more.  Even if you can’t do it every day, start doing it as often as you can.  And then work on doing it a little more every week. 


Break Down Those Barriers!


The first step for you may be to address the barriers that keep you from walking.  Is there a voice say inside your head, giving loads of excuses why you can’t join this challenge? Or why 10,000 steps just is not possible for you?  Ok.  Pay attention to that voice.  Now – break down those barriers!!


For instance, are you saying “I don’t have any walking shoes”?  Ok, go buy some.  “I can’t afford them.”  Get some on sale or at a thrift store, borrow some from a friend, or go into your closet and take another look – maybe you can make do with what you have.  “I still don’t have any shoes.”  Ok truthfully, do you need new shoes?  Just use the most comfortable shoes you have and get on with it!  That’s what I do.  : )


“I don’t have time.”  Guess what?  Walking can add years to your life – that is years longer to spend with your grandchildren.  And walking can make you feel better, age more gracefully, and be able to do more active things.  And it helps contribute positively to the planet you’ll be leaving behind for your kids.  “But I just don’t have time.”  So, work on finding the time.  Rearrange your schedule so that you can do it.  You might find that when you add the time to get in the car, drive to your destination, park, and walk up to the spot – versus the time it takes to walk there… it’s nearly the same amount of time.  Plus, you can multi-task – listen to podcasts, books on tape, or music.  Or make all those phone calls you always put off.


Find solutions rather than continue to offer excuses.  It’s that important.  Break down those barriers – for your sanity, your health, your community, and your environment.


Be Safe


Please be safe, everyone!  Some little things to remember…


Bring water with you, and make sure you stay hydrated.  Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.  If you aren’t very active, work yourself up to an hour a day – don’t try to do too much all at once.  Walk slowly during the first 5 minutes of your walks, to warm up your muscles.  Walk in safe locations.  Of course, but make sure you do!  I always bring my phone just in case – so far I’ve only used it to report a traffic accident, but that is worthwhile.  And do protect yourself from the sun with a hat and/or sunscreen.


Doo-Dad


Please spread the word about this challenge, and use one of the following doodads to remind you, too.  You can post it on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, you can post it on your fridge (if you click an image, it will take you to a bigger size)!


10,000 Steps Challenge


Check In


I don’t know about you, but there is certainly extra motivation for me, knowing that I have to tell you all how I’m doing with my 10,000 steps.  Remember – this is not a competition.  We are all living differently, with different barriers.  At the same time, we can all learn from one another and help motivate one another.  That is what community is all about!!


So I’ll post check ins here.  And if you’re antsy and would like to check in between postings, you can always visit this post and check in below, in the comments.


Pledge!


When you sign up below in the comments, please let us all know two things:  1.  when you will start and 2.  how you will begin working toward 10,000 steps.  And remember, you don’t have to have a blog to join – just sign your name if you don’t have one.


My Pledge:


Next Monday, I will walk to my new office, to the p-patch, and back home every weekday.  For my sanity, for my health, for my community, and for my environment.  This challenge is my extra motivation.  You all are my witnesses.  You’ll be keeping me on track!


Let’s Walk Together – Who’s Walking With Me?!


The Importance Of Walking

by Eric Perrone

 

I have become a huge fan of walking lately. I know I need daily exercise, yet the gym costs money, biking is a bit scary in our urban neighborhood, and running is really hard on my body. But walking – ah! I love it for so many reasons – what a perfect low-impact way to relax, become more healthy, get stuff done, learn about my community, and reduce my overall environmental impact!


For Community


During the walk to my garden plot, about 1.5 miles away from my apartment, I become a part of my neighborhood.  I say hello to people I recognize.  I notice new stores, restaurants, and gardens.  I watch the trees and flowers change with the seasons.  I see birds migrating and squirrels hiding nuts in nooks and crannies.  I watch the impact of the recession on local cafes, boutiques, and condos.  I learn of neighborhood events from posters, people chatting, or occasionally by just running into them.  And mostly, I just feel like I am a part of my surroundings. I understand my community better, I know more about how I can help people and improve our neighborhood in the future, and I know where to find the resources I need.  I enjoy being a part of my community.

 

by jypsygen


For Environment


This one is simple:  every mile walked is a mile not driven. That means no fuel, no greenhouse gases, no car maintenance.  I run most of my errands by foot.


For Health


I learned recently that in order to maintain health and weight, an average person needs to walk 10,000 steps per day.  Apparently it’s a common number – supported by study after study, and even quoted by my own physician.  That is the amount that you need to live a healthy, active lifestyle.


What does that mean?


Well, depending on your size, 10,000 steps is between 4 and 5 miles.  Per day.  It may sound like a lot, but an average person walks 10,000 steps in about one hour.  (Probably about as long as you would spend going to the gym, right?)


What do you get with that 10,000 steps?


Speaking as someone with chronic asthma, I can tell you that walking is a low-impact form of exercise that has slowly reformed my lungs so that they are much healthier than when I was living a sedentary lifestyle.  (However, if you live in a particularly smoggy city, you should probably walk indoors, breathing filtered airYou might want to join a gym or YMCA.)


Walking can slow the aging process. Risk of death from heart disease could by reduced by 34% by walking at least 2 hours per week. Walking 7 hours a week is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer and Type II diabetes (from CDC).  Regular walking can reduce your risk of colon cancer and glaucoma, and even reduce the risk of catching the common cold – by up to 50%.


by Amodiovalerio Verde


Kids should walk, too.


Have your children walk to and from school, practice, friends’ houses, and so on – safely, of course (eg, with friends or family). According to the Centers for Disease Control, regular walking can improve  kids’ academic performance and alertness, improve self-image and independence, contribute to a healthy social and emotional development, increase the likelihood that they will grow into healthy and active adults, reduce the chance for early-onset diabetes and obesity, and build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.


For Sanity


We’ve discussed here the need to rejuvenate, to unwind, and to give ourselves time to relax so that we can do the many things we all want to do.  One of the ways that I relax, is by exercising – particularly walking.  I can move at my own pace, to my own rhythm.  I feel the wind, watch the wildlife, smell the flowers, and listen to the sounds of my neighborhood.  I let my mind wander, and often come up with ideas for articles, solutions for a challenge at work, or a new way of looking toward the future.

 

by felixp7


How To Start


Ok.  So you know why.  But how do you start?


  • Walk to work. We just moved to a new office location that is 1.3 miles away.  If I walk there, then to my p-patch garden, and then home, I walk 4.5 miles.  Perfect!  It may seem far at first, but it gets easier, and I really enjoy it.

  • Walk to pick up your kids from school. Is the school 1-2 miles away?  Walk!  It’s good for you, and it’s good for your kids, too.  It may seem overwhelming the first few times.  “Oh, the time!”  But leave yourself lots of extra time to get there, and take it easy.  Enjoy your surroundings.  And let yourself have this time for your health, and for your children.

  • Walk at lunch time. If you have an hour for lunch, spend 30 minutes walking and then eat your lunch.  You can bring a comfortable change of clothes to change into if you like – keep it in your locker or in a bag beneath your desk.  Matt goes to the gym during his lunch hour – you can do this, too, if it’s too hot outside or if you are more motivated by the gym atmosphere.

  • Walk with your friends. Get a group of friends together for a midday, after-work, or evening walk.

  • Walk with your loved ones. Matt and I often go for walks around the neighborhood at sunset – you can’t beat that for timing and company.

  • Walk your dog… further. Do you normally take your dog around the block?  Take him or her another block. In a week, add another block.  It will get easier.

  • Walk to your community garden, to the store, or to do other small errands. Our local grocery store is about 1 mile away, as is the video store, the library, and many other stores we use.  We walk to them.

  • Park your car at the far end of the lot, take the stairs, or walk downstairs to talk to someone in person at the office. There are loads of little tricks you can use throughout the day to get yourself to walk a bit more.  It all adds up!  Try some as you go about your day – I bet you’ll find several little ways to add steps to your day.

  • Listen to music or podcasts. It’s amazing how time can fly this way.  Just don’t tune out your surroundings entirely – make sure you pay close attention when crossing streets, and that you can hear sirens above your headphones.

  • Make those phone calls you don’t ever seem to have time to make. I call my grandfather and my mother often while walking.  These are often long conversations and they’re nice to have while enjoying my surroundings.  Again, though, make sure to pay close attention while crossing streets.  When I do this, I find the walking combined with getting things done really decreases my stress level.  And the walk goes very fast this way!

  • Buy a cheap pedometer. Many studies have shown that when you have a pedometer keeping you true to your goal of 10,000 steps a day, you are much more likely to get there.  A little psychological trick you can play on yourself.  And it’s fun – I have a pedometer on my phone and it’s loads of fun to see how far I’ve walked throughout the day.

  • Map out a route on Google maps. You can plan one route or several routes this way.  Google makes it easy to change routes and save routes and such.  So find a nice route that avoids the busy streets and goes past neighborhood parks and gardens – or a route that hits the several little errands you need to make – or both!

  • Keep track of your walks. If you are someone who likes to keep track, it may be an extra motivator for you to keep a walk log.  There are lots of options out there.

  • Take a challenge. Ha!  Several readers have been asking for more challenges here.  So stay tuned…


If you have been meaning to start exercising, and this seems like a good way to start, join me – come sign up tomorrow, and we’ll motivate one another!!