The Benefits of Walking

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While we all know that we should walk more, there are now even more reasons to do so.  In a study published one year ago in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2047487316655466  low aerobic capacity was associated with increased mortality rates.  In other words, if you don’t walk, you will die.  Of course, this study was conducted on middle aged men, however, as with other studies, one can assume that it will hold true for women as well, since other scientific studies do show corresponding factors for women.  To back this assumption, there is another study http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288042.php  completed with 340,000 male and female participants showing that 20 minutes of brisk walking per day was enough to decrease the chance of early death by 16% to 30%.

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However, there are benefits other than fitness and lower early mortality rates to consider when a person walks.  For one thing, anyone can go take a walk.  We don’t need fancy shoes, we can walk no matter what our fitness level is, and we can control how long and how difficult our walk is.  Just the very fact of getting outside does wonders for our mental health.  We can get some sun (not too much), breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature.  All these factors are a mental health boost.  Not only that, walking in our neighborhoods gives us a chance to interact with our neighbors, boosting our sense of community.

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I go for a daily walk, and I find that it really helps me to be outside and getting some much needed exercise.  I love the boost walking gives me, and of course being in nature is so important to my own mental health.  Do you go for a daily walk?  Where are your favorite walks?  Do you prefer your own neighborhood or do you go to a park or a walking trail?  Have you felt the benefits of walking in your own life?  Let me know in the comments below.

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And of course, don’t forget to perfect your silly walk!

 

Nature

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Since it’s summer, I’d like to encourage everyone to step outside and just  breathe!  Watch the sun rise, or set – or both!  Sit on the grass and just be.  Let nature heal you.  Watch the clouds pass by, feel the breeze on your face.  Be quiet and still and just listen.  Hear the birds sing and bees buzz.  Be at one with nature.

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Sunrise

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Rainy Weather

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This “spring” has been crazy.  We’ve had many days with temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s.  Last weekend I cleaned out both fireplaces, and my husband cleaned out the left-over wood in the wood room.  So, what kind of weather have we had this week?  You guessed it, most days didn’t make it over 60°.  The nights went down into the 40’s, and we had no heat.  Bring on the afghans!  I actually slept with my winter nightgown over my spring nightgown and socks on my feet.  The dog was chilly enough to jump up on the bed also.  Thank goodness, since I appreciated his warmth!  While this has been a bummer as far as enjoying the outside, my state no longer is in a drought, and everything is wonderfully green.  However, I really need more than just a few hours of sun peeking through the clouds.

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Thankfully, it looks like the sun is coming back, the clouds are in retreat and some warm weather is headed our way. Hopefully not too warm (I can just imagine it being in the 90°’s with 95% humidity this summer).  Hope not, but it is New England where it can snow in the morning and be 75° and sunny in the afternoon.

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I hope that you’ve been able to get out and enjoy your spring!  If you have, let me know what you’ve been doing.

Update on Life

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It’s getting nice out, I feel like I’ve emerged from a long and snowy winter, and I wanted to give a few updates on the changes that I’ve made to my life.  So, I’ve gotten the children’s book that I was writing pretty much done – the writing part anyway.  This weekend I want to start in on the illustrations, and have someone other than myself read it so I get some feedback on any changes that need to happen.  I’m so glad that I’ve finally finally gotten to this point!  Because I’m trying to write fairly consistently, I’m feeling much more creative, and I absolutely love the feeling!

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My quest to get rid of junk around the house unfortunately has not yet turned into an actual plan.  I got a good start on Spring Cleaning last week, but this week has been pretty much taken up with wood stacking for the winter.  We’re almost done with that, well, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so we’re more than halfway to the end.  This weekend I hope to get a workable plan in place for that.  And, to try and get the Spring Cleaning done, once and for all.  (At least for this Spring!)

My eating plan has been having some pretty good results.  I’ve lost fourteen pounds (maybe more, I haven’t yet weighed myself this week).  I’m eating all that I want, I’ve just changed what it is that I eat.  Oranges, bananas and grapes are some of my latest favorites.  I’m looking forward to the strawberries, blueberries, plums and peaches that the summer will bring.

Here are a few of my recent photos of flowers and trees in all their Spring beauty!

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Why is Science Important?

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This past weekend there was a march in Washington, D.C., along with other marches around the world in support of science.  We actually needed a march to support science.  I still can’t wrap my head around that fact.  The marches were in support of evidence, fact-based and peer-reviewed science.  This is needed since the administration in Washington is against both science and peer-viewed research.  Research needs to be peer-reviewed, since anyone could claim to be a scientist, publish a “study” and claim anything.  We already can see that happening, so it needs to be stopped.  Science is actually one subject that can be proved correct.  Just because someone doesn’t like what is scientifically proven doesn’t mean that they have the ability to claim it is false.

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For those people who think that we don’t need science, do you like using your technology?  Phones, laptops, t.v., all are science-based.  Should funding be cut, so will your technology.  How about “cutting-edge” health care?  All those new life-saving surgeries are based on science.  Do you like your new medicines?  Those too come from science. If funds are cut so will your health, since there will be less money spent on keeping you healthy.  Science is life-saving.  It affects all of us in every part of our lives.  Support science, your life may very well depend on it.

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Dreaming of Gardens

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We have two wood stoves at my house, and this is how we heat in winter.  While that’s all well and good, we also have to take some trees down every year, as well as get some logs delivered in order to have enough wood to last a winter.  Luckily, we’re nearing the end of taking our own trees down, and have only a few more to go.  Since we’ve already rented a wood chipper this spring, I know that we’re finished with the trees this year.  Unfortunately, we needed to take down some smaller trees in the backyard due to their being a hazard.  Because of this, we now have some room back there that will be rather bare once we get the trees cut up and the wood stacked.

So, I’ve been dreaming of gardens.  You know, those fantastic English gardens that look so wonderfully peaceful?  Those gardens.  However, as much as I dream of having gardens like that, I know that I just don’t have the ability to create them.  In my head, I’m the most artistic person ever.  In reality, not so much.  I do have a spatial-relation problem (I can’t picture how something is going to look), but I also don’t know much about gardens.  Years ago, I had a large vegetable garden, and I did manage that pretty well.  However, I’ve never planted flowers and have no idea how to go about it.  So, for the moment I’m just dreaming of gardens.

If you have any books for inept beginners that I could read in the subject, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know.  Meanwhile, here are some photos of wonderful gardens to enjoy!

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