Monday, September 29, 2008

A Closer Walk with Thee

There is so much information "out there" regarding fitness that it is easy to become overwhelmed.

With the internet, books, magazines, television, and your friends and family telling you what to do, how do you decide what's right?

It's not easy. But I've found inspiration can be found just about anywhere, and even broken clocks are right at least twice a day. Today's surprise good advice came from a simple source -- one I enjoy referring to when my mom is too busy to talk: a women's magazine purchased at the grocery check-out.

While I don't recommend getting the bulk of your health and fitness advice this way, I must admit I have learned a lot from the pages of these publications. Often they contain well-researched articles that can be uplifting and educational. Just as often they also list the latest fad diet for me to obsess over, but I'm learning to take these with the requisite grain of salt. So for your perusal today are some thoughts from a neat article in the latest issue of First that covers our favorite subject -- faith and fitness.

In the tabloid's "happy, healthy, sexy you" section (you know you belong there, right?) is an article entitled "WALK OFF a mushy middle!" As an avid walker and owner of a mushy middle, I was hooked.

The article recommends walking -- something every fitness plan seems to promote these days. But this plan promises three times the fat burning power and instant motivation. Wow! Sign me up! The secret? It's twofold: try "interval walking," and get a friend to do it with you.

Interval walking involves varying the pace of your walk. According to this article, women who walked this way, rather than at a constant fast pace, burned three times more subcutaneous fat (the kind that jiggles) and 11% more of the visceral kind (the nasty stuff that's packed in around your internal organs.) This came from a study done by the American Medical Association, so I figure it's worth a try!

The fascinating part of this article came from its emphasis on the "walking with a partner" strategy. The very first suggestion? Partner with GOD!

That's right: choose The Lord as your walking buddy. Research suggests that prayer walking calms the stress center of the brain, lowering the release of tension (and fat) causing hormones.

I've enjoyed walking as a time to de-stress and pray for some time now. I know it is good for my heart, lungs, and muscles. It is a time to celebrate the fact that I am well and strong. I plan to experiment with interval walking and focused prayer when I next hit the pavement. Maybe I'll slim down a bit in the process, but my goal -- finding peace with my body as it is, rejoicing with my God -- will remain my focus.

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