4 Workouts to Walk Your Way to Better Fitness

4 Workouts to Walk Your Way to Better Fitness

Do you find that you’re too pressed for time to hit the gym? If so, lace up your walking shoes and find a small space either inside or outside your home to walk your way to a healthier body.

If your walking shoes need an upgrade, the Mayo Clinic’s online section, Healthy Lifestyle, provides useful tips to help you pick out the perfect pair. Those tips are as follows:

  • Wear the same socks you’ll wear when walking, or take the socks with you to the store.
  • Shop for shoes after you’ve been walking for a while, and later in the day, when your feet are at their largest.
  • Buy shoes at an athletic shoe store with professional fitters or at a store where you have lots of options.
  • Ask the salesperson to measure both feet, measure them yourself, or have a friend or family member help you. Measure your feet each time you buy shoes because your foot size can change gradually over the years. Stand while your foot is measured to get the most accurate measurement.
  • If one foot is larger than the other, try on a pair that fits your larger foot.
  • Try on both shoes and check the fit. Wiggle your toes. If you don’t have at least a half-inch (1.3 centimeters) between your longest toe and the end of the shoe — approximately the width of your finger — try a larger size.
  • Be sure the shoe is wide enough. The side-to-side fit of the shoe should be snug, not tight. If you’re a woman with wide feet, consider men’s or boys’ shoes, which are cut a bit larger through the heel and the ball of the foot.
  • Walk in the shoes before buying them. They should feel comfortable right away. Make sure your heel fits snugly in each shoe and doesn’t slip as you walk.

Now that you have a pair of shoes that fit you properly, it’s time to get moving! Whether you’re trying to lose weight, reduce stress, or feel more energized, these 4 walking workouts are a low-impact way to get fit and meet your exercise goals.

 

 

1. 30-Minute Guided Mindful Walking Meditation

 

If you’re feeling burned out, this video from OnlineMeditation will ease your body from a stressed out state into one of deep relaxation while you gently walk, observe how your body feels, and contemplate the sights and sounds around you. This meditation is an excellent way to experience the therapeutic benefits of moving mindfully through your surroundings.

2. 1-Mile Power Walk Full Length Walking Workout Video Low Impact

 

If you’re looking for a workout to help you ease back into exercise, this one-mile workout by JessicaSmithTV can do just that. You can do this workout indoors or take it outdoors to soak up some vitamin D. In just 20-minutes, this video’s brisk pace will rev up your heart rate and get the blood flowing.

3. Burn Body Fat 2 Mile | 30-Minute Workout at Home

 

Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home video cranks up the intensity in this 30-minute exercise routine. Here, Sansone uses one to three-pound weights to help you feel the burn. She also provides you with detailed instructions on how to maintain correct posture to reduce the risk of unwanted injuries.

4. 5-MILE WALK- Keaira LaShae

 

If you’re looking for a challenge, and you have an hour to spare, this five-mile walk by superherofitnesstv will have your heart pumping and give you a serious calorie burn. Grab a pair of one to two-pound hand weights and march to the beat of this uplifting video, which feels like you left your living room and entered a dance studio. Make sure to keep some water nearby; you’ll feel the burn with this routine as you push your body to the finish line.

3 Restorative Yoga Videos to Rejuvenate Your Body

3 Restorative Yoga Videos to Rejuvenate Your Body

You’ve heard it a million times: You need to make time for yourself. But where do you start? Between balancing work and family, you may already feel like you’re running on fumes. If the daily hustle and bustle has you wiped out, restorative yoga is an excellent way to bring some tranquility to your life and rebuild your energy reserves.

Restorative yoga uses a variety of supportive props—like straps, bolsters, blankets, and pillows—to ease muscle tension, reduce stress, and help you remain comfortable in nurturing postures for extended periods of time. Some of the benefits of a restorative yoga practice include an enhanced feeling of relaxation, reduced fatigue, and improved sleep.

Not sure if restorative yoga is right for you? I picked three of my favorite, free online classes to give you a sample of this rejuvenating, mind-body practice. Don’t worry if you find these videos challenging the first couple of times you use them. It can take a few tries to learn to let go and quiet your mind when you’re used to being constantly on the go.

1. Restorative Yoga: Letting Go Through Stillness and Stretch

Length: 36:08

Equipment: yoga mat, floor space, empty wall space, yoga strap or towel, 2-3 blankets, small pillow

Designed by DoYogaWithMe founder, David Procyshyn, this class utilizes a variety of stretches and props to relax and calm you. You can complete this session anytime you feel the need to release some tension or to help you sleep at night.

2. 20-Minute Gentle Hatha Yoga Stretch

Length: 19:55

Equipment: yoga mat, floor space

In this video, Yoga by Candace founder, Candace Moore, leads you through a 20-minute, full-body stretch session to open your arms, chest, shoulders, and hips. The routine is gentle, and you can modify it for your current level of flexibility. Moore suggests using this workout first thing in the morning, as a warm-up to a more intense workout, or to wind down at the end of the day.

3. Restorative Yoga For When You’re Exhausted

Length: 11:53

Equipment: yoga mat, floor space, bolster or folded towel, blanket, chair (for final resting pose)

This 12-minute video was created by The Yoga Room for those days when you’re pressed for time, feel drained, and need to nourish and rebuild your body. Plus, the instructor guides you step-by-step through the practice, so you can make adjustments according to how you feel on any given day. When your tank is running on empty, this mild routine will reset your energy levels and help you feel more relaxed.

If you try one of these workouts, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave me a comment.

4 Ways to Relieve Tension Headaches

4 Ways to Relieve Tension Headaches

A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me if I had any tips for managing tension headaches; she’s been experiencing them more frequently from working long hours as an ER nurse. Like many nurses, she spends most of the day on her feet. By the end of her shift, her muscles feel stiff, her head is pounding, and she needs a few, quick tools to relieve her pain. If you experience tension headaches while at work, hopefully, these tips will be useful to you as well.

1. Loosen up your muscles

In an online article, Mayo Clinic recommends the application of heat or ice to loosen up tense neck and shoulder muscles. “Use a heating pad set on low, a hot water bottle, a hot shower or bath, a warm compress, or a hot towel. Or apply an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) or a cool washcloth across the forehead.”

Although using a heating pad at work might not be practical, resting an ice pack on your neck when you’re at lunch or on a break might be an easy fix to help lessen muscle tension and mitigate your headache.

2. Try some breathwork

In February, we discussed some of the benefits of breathwork, like encouraging relaxation, reducing anxiety, energizing you, and lessening the feelings of physical and mental stress. Additionally, breathwork can decrease muscle tension, particularly if you try The Five Count Breath. This technique, implemented in Pilates exercises, oxygenates your body and reduces muscle tension in the rib cage and thoracic spine. Here’s a recap on how to use this simple breathing exercise:

Start with a slow inhale through your nose to the count of five. Then, exhale your breath through your mouth also to the count of five. Picture yourself wringing all the stale air out of your lungs and replenishing them with fresh air. With each breath, imagine the tension dissolving from your head, neck, shoulders, and back. Repeat this cycle five to 10 times or whenever needed to reduce overall physical and mental stress.

3. Sneak in a neck stretch

The chin tuck is an effective way to stretch your neck muscles. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Draw your shoulder blades together and keep your head facing forward. Gently move your head back, making sure to keep it level; you don’t want your chin to lift up or dip down. Hold this stretch for five seconds and repeat five to 10 times.

4. Treat yourself to a massage

If you’re not finding relief with basic measures, consider getting a massage. The American Massage Therapy Association believes that massage can be used to alleviate tension headaches and improve postural alignment. Looking for an excuse to treat yourself to a little TLC? Now, you have one!

4 Do-It-Yourself Ways to Relieve Foot Pain

4 Do-It-Yourself Ways to Relieve Foot Pain

Whether you’re dealing with bunions, blisters, plantar fasciitis, or bone spurs, foot pain is a common complaint among nurses. If you’re monitoring your steps each day with the latest fitness tracker or app, you probably already know you’re walking miles in your shoes each day. No wonder your feet hurt! Below are some do-it-yourself ways to reduce foot pain and help you keep moving–pain-free.

1. Replace your shoes every three to six months.

In an online interview, Dr. Michael Lowe, past president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, notes that a standard athletic shoe is made to last between 350 and 500 miles–which translates to a new pair of shoes about every three to six months. With the number of hours you’re on your feet every day, your mileage quickly adds up. Once a shoe breaks down, it no longer absorbs shock like it’s supposed to and can misalign your foot and cause pain.

2. Regularly stretch your calves.

Tight calves can exacerbate some types of foot pain. To improve the flexibility, mobility, and position of your foot, follow this simple stretch:

Stand about a foot away from the wall, and place your hands against the wall at shoulder height. Keeping your feet hip-width apart, step back with one leg until your foot is flat on the floor. Bend the front leg until you feel a stretch in your back, calf muscle; the stretch should be tolerable for you. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg. Cycle through this stretch one or two more times.

3. Try an Epsom salt foot bath.

Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate–the mineral that gives this home remedy its muscle relaxant quality. To create a foot soak, find a bowl or bucket large enough to submerge both feet (I use a bucket). Place one-half to one cup of Epsom salt into the bucket. Then, fill the bucket about two-thirds full with warm to hot water being mindful of the temperature level that is most comfortable to you. Let the salt dissolve and soak your feet for 20 minutes. Dry off your feet and follow up with a moisturizer if necessary. Routine foot soaks can help reduce the inflammation that leads to aching feet.

4. Roll out your foot pain with a tennis ball.

Place the bottom of your foot on the top of a tennis ball. Roll the tennis ball back-and-forth along the whole length of your arch. For a deeper stretch of your foot’s fascia, apply a decent amount of pressure as you roll the ball. If you encounter a spot on your foot that is extra sore, gently massage that particular area until you feel a release in muscle tension or the pain improves.

One final note: If you try these at-home treatments without benefit, consider talking to your doctor about seeing a physical therapist for a customized evaluation and treatment plan for your foot pain.

4 Myths About Compassion Fatigue

4 Myths About Compassion Fatigue

Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty? Maybe you feel like your workload is taking a toll on your mental or physical health, and you’re just not able to bounce back as you had hoped? You’re probably already aware that compassion fatigue can happen to any nurse at any point along the career path. But when it happens to you, self-doubt and self-criticism can creep into your thoughts. When going through this profound state of stress, it’s valuable to remember there is no stereotypical profile of what a nurse with compassion fatigue looks like, and it’s not a reflection of how committed or competent you are in the profession.

Let’s take a look at some myths surrounding compassion fatigue so you can experience a greater sense of well-being when you’re at home or work.

Myth 1. Compassion fatigue is a character flaw.

This is simply not true. Although your self-identity may be intertwined with your role as a nurse, compassion fatigue isn’t the result of a character flaw in you. You are a hard worker, and you care for your patients with everything you’ve got. However, if your body is showing signs of physical and emotional exhaustion, anxiety and worry, depression, anger, irritability, lack of joy, or any other sign, it’s time for you pay attention to it. Your body is telling you to recharge your internal battery, and, perhaps, scale back on your workload.

Myth 2. You need to work harder to overcome compassion fatigue.

On the contrary. While working harder may be the default setting to get some people through the day, many nurses tend to put others’ needs above their own, further engaging in energy-draining activities. When compassion fatigue creeps up on you, it’s not telling you to do more. Rather, it’s telling you your work-life balance has gotten out of whack, and you need to reexamine it.

Myth 3. I still feel compassion for my patients, so compassion fatigue must not pertain to me.

In an online article, American Nurse Today noted that nurses reported feeling both compassion fatigue and compassion for their patients at the same time. “If anything, the more compassion a nurse feels, the greater the risk that she or he will experience emotional saturation or compassion fatigue,” the article said. Try to recognize the other areas where you may be showing signs of fatigue. Do you find that your colleagues are difficult to work with? Are you thinking about going home as soon as you get to work? Are you concerned you might make an error while on the job? These point to subtler signs that you’re experiencing compassion fatigue, even if you still feel empathetic when caring for your patients.

Myth 4. It’s my job to care for others first and myself second.

For many nurses, this idea seems like a selfless act while working within the health care community. In reality, when you implement consistent self-care practices, acknowledge what things make you feel overwhelmed, and cultivate the support you need both inside and outside of work, you reduce your risk of developing compassion fatigue. “Perhaps the most important way to prevent or reduce compassion fatigue is to take care of yourself. As nurses, we work hard and really need our breaks. We need to eat, and to take time for ourselves without being interrupted by alarms, patients, or colleagues. We also need our time off, for our mental and physical well-being,” stated American Nurse Today.

Bottom line? Understand that compassion fatigue can sneak up on you, and its symptoms vary from person to person. It’s not indicative of how skilled you are as a clinician, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to finding your way back from it. It’s important to know recovery will likely require time along with some adjustments to your lifestyle.

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