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Guest column: Start the New Year with a good walk

Posted on December 28th, 2022 By: Kurt Grimmer

So you joined the “Y” or signed up for Zumba or Pilates.  Have you tried hot yoga?  I fainted my first time.  Maybe you started running.  And what about that diet?  Man, I’m so hungry for a good burger and fries!

Most of us have been in this situation and often revisit this scenario. Here is the best tip I learned to get into shape and lose those winter pounds:

“Keep it Simple”

Take a walk

Tomorrow, put on your walking shoes, wear a waterproof windbreaker, open your front door, and walk your neighborhood.  If you haven’t exercised in a while and have added some pounds, don’t over-do it the first outing, but do walk briskly.  Try and do a couple of miles.

The next day, do the same except add a little more distance.  Remember to walk briskly (not like a speed walker, but with the some pace).  Your goal should be to get up to four to five miles per day.  Once that is achieved, look for walks that include hills.  Keep working on your pace. And, walk regardless of the weather.

You will find the simple act of walking to be an enriching experience.  You will feel good, your legs will get in shape and your lungs will feel healthy.  Walking for exercise is just as beneficial as running and less stressful on your knees and feet.  Your goal should be to get to four miles in one hour and when that happens, try and get to five miles.  Take Sunday or Monday off.

Walking for exercise is just as beneficial as running, and easier on your knees and feet.

Oh, and be sure to wave and say high to people you see along the way.  They will wave back.  Who knows?  You may get to meet and know your neighbors.  You will develop friendships and may end up in a walking group.

A sample diet

Now for that diet!   There are some great diet programs out there and some that can be disastrous.  My recommendation:  Start each day with a bowl of “old fashioned oatmeal”.   I like it with almond coconut milk.  Add fresh fruit (blueberries and pineapple, perhaps) for fiber and sweetness.   Oatmeal is a complex carb and some brands are gluten-free.

But even before the oatmeal, start each morning just out of bed with an 8-ounce glass of water.  Your brain and body will thank you.

For lunch, have a can of chunk tuna mixed with mustard, pickle relish, chopped olives & pepperoncini. Have a handful of carrots (preferably not the minis) and a grapefruit.  For dinner, have some protein, a kale and shredded cabbage salad with some veggies (peas).

Treat yourself with the salad dressing of your choice, but beware of those that add tons of sugar or substitutes.

So you want some bread, too.  Try a good sourdough and spread it with non-hydrogenated butter or substitute.  Keep it to one slice, please.  Of course, a slice of whole-grain bread would be better.

Want a snack during the day?  Have a banana or other fruit.  Try a handful of nuts. Nuts are a power food, but not in large quantities as they do have a lot of calories.  Got a sweet tooth?  Try a piece of bittersweet chocolate (not the whole bar).

By all means avoid dessert.  Treat yourself with a dessert on Sundays and special occasions.

Note:  I have eliminated some bread, sugar, and bad fats in this diet plan.  It is all whole non-processed foods.  It is all whole non-processed foods.  This diet is nutritious, provides essential nutrients, fats and oils to keep you energized during your walks and day.

You’ll feel better

You will begin noticing the results and benefits in the first week.  After six months, you will never go back to what you were before.  If you have a bad week or a vacation gets in the way, no worries, this plan is easy to get back into and you will look forward to doing so.

I enjoy feedback and fresh ideas on what works for you so send me a note.

Kurt Grimmer is an outdoor and recreation enthusiast.  He serves on the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District Board of Commissioners and is a long-term Gig Harbor resident. To submit a guest column, email [email protected].

Gig Harbor’s Cushman Trail offers a great spot for long, brisk walks.