Archives for April 2011

How to Stay Motivated in Your Fitness Walking Program

Walking is a great way to get in shape, lose weight and feel energetic. (In my opinion, the best.)

Yet as good as it is for you, it can be challenging to maintain your motivation in the long run. The good news is there are a number of ways to keep yourself motivated.


The best way to stay motivated in your walking program is to leverage the power of social relationships.

Connecting with others who have similar goals is a great way to stay motivated and make new friends. Support groups and membership sites are also full of helpful information about the best walking trails, walking gear and events.

Join A Walking Club – Or Form One Yourself

Support groups can be formed around almost any common goal like walking together, getting in shape or losing weight. Nowadays it’s easy to find walking groups both offline and online. Even your employer might have a walking program of their own, so check that option too. [Read more…]

Workout Journal Week #16

Last week was a good week . 🙂 My average steps for week 16 were 10,426! And I haven’t had passive – 3,000-4,000 step – days for some time, which is a great thing.

My exercises consisted of  5 x 30-45 minute walks (either real walks or Sansone’s walking workouts) plus  two 30 min strength training sessions (using bodyweight moves + hand weights and elastic bands). That’s 7 units of more or less formal exercise per week.

I feel I ‘ve finally achieved what I strived for so long: becoming more active physically. Exercising is a habit which means I don’t need to push myself to move nor does it feel like a chore.

My mood has also improved, I feel much more energetic, stable and positive than before.

We’ve had great weather in Finland the last couple of weeks and it’s partly to thank for my success. It’s easier to go out and exercise when you don’t first have to bundle yourself against the elements.






Pedometer Walking – 9 Ways To Add More Steps

Have you started pedometer walking only to realize that you fall drastically short of your daily step goal?

One way to increase your step count is to take at least one 30-60 minute walk during the day, but that is not always possible. In that case, you need to find ways to consciously add more steps into your day.

Before I list my 9 tips, let’s take a look at some basic pedometer walking facts. You might find them useful in estimating how much physical activity (in minutes) you need to add to your day to reach a certain step count. The figures are based on Fenton and Bassett’s pedometer walking guide.

1 minute of leisurely walking corresponds to 100 steps (500 steps in 5 minutes)
1 minute of moderate walking corresponds to 120 steps (600 steps in 5 minutes)
1 minute of brisk walking corresponds to 135 steps (575 steps in 5 minutes)
1 minute of aerobic walking corresponds to 150 steps (750 steps in 5 minutes)

Here are my 9 tips for logging more steps on your pedometer:

  1. Use commercial breaks to walk around the house or pace in place.
  2. Take a short 10-minute walk during your lunch hour. If you can’t go outside, run small errands or just walk along the corridors. Take the stairs whenever you can.
  3. Walk to a nearby store to shop for items. Before I got my pedometer, I used to be annoyed when I forgot to buy things. Now I just view that as a chance to get some extra steps.
  4. Dance! Put on your headphones, listen to your favourite music and dance. Salsa, samba or any fast music is great for this purpose. It’s no accident Zumba is so popular.
  5. Walk while you talk on the phone. The more you talk, the more you walk.
  6. Do jumping jacks, do some shadow boxing or jump rope. This is  good last resort way of adding steps if you’re short of your daily step goal.
  7. Take the long route. If you are in a habit of taking the shortest route wherever you go, find a longer one. These days I often take a long circuitous way to my grocery store. Much of my daily step count is fulfilled that way.
  8. Read and walk. I must confess I’m not very good at reading and walking at a same time, but you might be!
  9. Take advantage of your family members. Play tag, basketball or  dancing games with your children. An added bonus is improved relationships with your children.

Pedometer walking is great precisely because you always get immediate feedback on your increased physical activity. It keeps you motivated in making those small improvements in your life.



Best Toning Shoes For Women – Comparison

Originally, I was going to look for new walking shoes, but when I arrived at the store I couldn’t resist the temptation to try on some toning shoes. I picked the best three brands to discuss here.

I don’t “believe” in toning shoes, if believing means toning shoes are supposed to help you burn more calories than you otherwise would (it’s just a clever marketing trick).

What probably happens, is that toning shoes help recruit different leg muscles than what you usually use.  If you use them long enough, you might even end up toning your butt, thigh and calf muscles. (My muscles have definitely toned up since I started walking regularly 5 months ago).


Reebok Easytone Reenew Toner

reebok easytone reenew toning shoesMy first pick is Reebok’s Easytone Reenew toning shoes. They look like standard walking shoes until you check the soles. The soles come with three air-filled pads that are supposed to make walking with them simulate walking on an unstable surface.

I was surprised at how comfortable the shoes felt and how well they supported my feet. The shoes look quite stylish too, especially the black and silver pair: I could see myself wearing them for work. The only minus was a clunking sound they make on hard floors.



Ryka Reform Toning Shoes For Women

ryka reform athletic toning shoeAs soon as I put Ryka Reform shoes on my feet and walked around in them, I knew they were a perfect fit. My feet are flat, narrow at the heel but wide at the forefoot, so it’s often difficult for me to find shoes that fit well. This pair of Ryka shoes fit my feet like gloves and still gave enough support for my arches. They were very comfortable to walk in, like I wasn’t wearing shoes at all.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Ryka brand, Ryka is a Finnish brand that designs fitness and sporting shoes exclusively for women. Compared with the other two brands, Ryka’s Reform toning shoes are bulky – they remind me of the original masai barefoot shoes with a thick heel and rounded forefoot.

If one could marry a pair shoes, I’d have married the Rykas then and there. 🙂


New Balance’s True Balance Toning Shoes

new balance True Balance toning shoesWearing the New Balance toning shoes felt a bit odd at first, because they force you to walk in an upright position and they have a very “springy” feel to them. Compared with the Rykas,  the toe box is narrow.

On the plus side, the New Balance’s Toning shoes were definitely the most stylish of the three brands. I especially liked the fresh and vibrant colors.


My Verdict

If it was possible, I would cross-breed the Rykas (for fit and comfort) with the New Balance shoes (for style). Because it’s not , the Ryka Reform toning shoes were my number one choice.

Overall, I was positively surprised by the toning shoes I tried. I think they were all very comfortable and fit for walking. If you’re looking for comfortable walking shoes, take a look at the toning shoes too.

Click here to check Amazon offers on Ryka Reform shoes




Upper Back Pain Due To Postural Muscles?

One of the most popular posts on Bodycapable has been the one I wrote on how to use a laptop without ailments like tension headaches and upper back and neck pain .

That’s why I wanted to give Dr. Natalie Cordova an opportunity write about posture-related upper back pain and what you can do about it.  Dr Cordova is a chiropractor and an expert on posture exercise.


While there are many reasons for someone to improve their posture, it is often when the person begins to experience postural muscle upper back pain that they finally decide the problem has gotten bad enough to address.

While improving appearance, standing up taller, and avoiding the dowager hump are worthy goals, it is often usually when pain has occurred and simply will not go away that someone understands how their poor posture has been affecting them.

How can you determine if your upper back pain is related to your posture? How can you tell if you are truly experiencing postural muscle upper back pain? Most people describe the pain a burning, one that will not go away without stopping their work activities for the day or just being able to go home and rest.

If your pain is related to your posture, you typically feel better when you have a chance to lay down for a time. This removes gravity from the equation and requires no work from your muscles. If you are still sitting up and watching t.v., your pain may continue because gravity is still actively pulling on these aggravated muscles.


This is where people get the idea that what they really need is a posture support, not posture exercise to alleviate their problem. After all, they’re using their postural muscles all day right? Why work them out more?

However, using that argument is like saying that you don’t need to go to the gym to build bigger arms because you use your arms all day. You know that going to the gym and lifting weights will make your arms stronger and make simple daily tasks a breeze. After lifting fifty pound dumbbells, holding up your cup of coffee is nearly effortless.

This is the same philosophy behind doing specific posture exercise to help alleviate postural muscle upper back pain. Gravity is pulling on your muscles, more specifically your head, all day long. Building strength in your muscles will make their job easier. It will reduce the strain that is needed to perform simple daily tasks, making them a breeze.

Dr. Natalie Cordova is a posture exercise expert, chiropractor, and health educator. More information can be found at her website at