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The minimum amount of recommended exercise per week is 150-minutes of moderate exercise. Walking qualifies as moderate exercise. If you divide that over seven days that comes out to about 20-25min per day. Meeting this requirement increases life span and enhances overall quality of life. Plus, it reduces the risk factors for COVID-19.

My son and I go on a walk/bike ride pretty much every day and some days I walk without him.

Today was especially poignant because he was riding his bike and I was walking/jogging along behind him.

At the beginning, he was riding at a good clip and I was jogging and he looked back and said, “Mom, you have to be more active.” “Yeah”, I mumbled to myself, sucking hot Arizona wind, “easy for you to say you’ve got two wheels.”

In a strange twist, my six-year-old had become the trainer and I had become the trainee.

Chances are that unless you have a trainer (6-years old or otherwise) pushing you along you may be feeling less enthusiastic about your daily walk than when you initially started.

I want to give you some ways to shake it up and challenge yourself… 

#1 – Start your walk hydrated – I recommend drinking 12-16oz of water before you leave your lawn. This gets fluids flowing and helps with detoxification. Recently, I have passed people walking around our neighborhood with travel mugs of coffee. Save your coffee for when you return from your walk. You want to pump your arms, and breathe deeply and coffee is dehydrating.

#2 – Pick up the Pace – It’s okay to start off slow but once your legs get moving and your blood gets pumping, see if you can speed walk for 100 steps and then slow down for 100 steps. This creates a type of interval training that will really get some oxygen to your brain. With my son on his bike, I often change up walking with jogging just to keep up with him.

#3 – Be aware of your belly – When walking it’s a good idea to focus on your posture. Shoulders down and back, belly button sucked back toward your spine, and with each step give your buttock a little squeeze. Usually I can only maintain this for 100 steps or so and then I forget but it’s a good little game to play with yourself along your walk.

#4 – Work in some lunges or squats – Usually I find a shady spot along my walk to do a few squats or lunges. I found a tree branch the other day that served as a seat. I used it to do squats just like I would do with a chair behind me.

#5 – Pump your arms – Elbows in at 90 degrees and fists loosely clenched pump your arms forward and back while you walk. This provides a gentle twisting in your torso and propels you along faster. You may even want to throw a few air punches and swing those arms around to loosen up your shoulders.

Happy Walking and As Always Wishing you well,

Dr. Purcell
(Catch up on my bi-weekly COVID-19 posts HERE)

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