Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Ready for Olympics - History: 100 metres

Monday, 16 July 2012

Should I design a new power walking program?

After joining the SIE bootcamp, I keep thinking about designing a new power walking program.

The first one was for academic purposes only, a research exploring the effect that power walking could have over health risk factors associated in metabolic syndrome (blood pressure, BMI, weight, fasting glucose).

During the research I have discovered a lot of things that I had no idea before.
The most important for me was that even if fitness professionals can come up with the BEST program ever, there is a BIG problem: if the client does not keep up with the frequency of exercising, there will be no result whatsoever.

I truly believe now that the first step should not be so much a perfect program, but a program which can be flexible and supportive enough for the client. Without permanent care and conversation with the client, I believe there can be no long term adherence to exercise, especially when is involved change, or the transition from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one.

So, to keep it short:
I would need to find out from people who do not exercise enough (or at all) currently, or who have a very low level of total physical activity during the average day - the following:

If you want to become more physically active, what are some of the barriers which, at present, keep you away from doing this? (Please do this in at least 100 words).

Could you please share this post with your friends, I deeply appreciate your help.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Power Walking: Core Exercises

Here we have another series of 4 core exercises.


Lying flat on the floor, bend at knees, lift your heels. Activate core muscles - this means you pull your belly button towards your spine, and keep that muscle contraction during entire exercise. Lift both arms in front of you so they are in line with your shoulders.

Raise your head and shoulders from the floor, only by contracting your abdominals.
Lower under control, repeat. Keep the movement rhythmical.
Power Walking: Reaches

Crocodile crunch

Lying on the mat, lift both legs towards you. Activate the core muscles.

With your head and neck off the floor, raise the upper torso and bring the legs towards you, then reach. Lower under control and repeat the movement.

Power Walking: Crocodile Crunch

The plank

Activate your core muscles, drawing your navel to your spine. Resting on your forearms and toes, hold your body up. Keep your elbows under your shoulderblades with forearms facing forward.

Power Walking: The Plank

Hip abductions

Lying on your side, position one leg over the other, bending the lower leg. Do not point the toes. Lift the higher leg so that it is in line with the hip and return to the start position. Perform 6 repetitions.

Continue the same scissors like movement from hip line until the foot gets to the level of the shoulder. Repeat 6 times.
Without stopping, perform a full range  -shoulder to starting position - movement; repeat 6 times.
Change the side.

Power Walking: Hip Abductions

Repeat each exercise at least 2 times X 10 repetitions each side (where is the case).


Mark Anthony (2006) - "Once a week work-out, Transform your body in 12 weeks", Collins and Brown Publishing

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 6 Day 5

It took me more than usually to get to the 5th day of power walking of the week...
I kept walking, at least 8500 steps a day; I really kept active, but I didn't do the intensive part of the walking.

Today it was the Rock'n'roll Edinburgh Half Marathon and I was around ;-) ...around, not in the race...not yet :-)

Even if I didn't manage to get a better editing, I hope you can get a flavour of how it was @Edinburgh...

Right after the race we have had our last group meeting of the 6 weeks of Power Walking project. Together with Jennifer and Kevin have done some heart rate tests, some new core exercises and a very light downhill jog...and yes, we can do them all!

This week I will try to do the post-exercise tests and consider done the college project. Now, if our volunteers want to continue for another 6 weeks (only from now on I expect to have real results), we can go on.

I will post tomorrow the core exercises.
Next Saturday, 21st of April, we will be at Cramond for the Edinburgh Parkrun.
5k, here we come!
I make sure there will be some pictures with us too :-)

Meanwhile, keep on walking!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 6 Day 4

Today 9,932 steps and about one hour of intense strength training.
I've also tried some new low GL recipes  - a lentil and paprika dip, then a falafel one (but again, no luck...still my falafel home cooked is far of resembling in any way with the one ready-made....); after the falafel failure, I decided to save at least tomorrow's breakfast, so I prepared for the first time, from real ingredients (nuts, seeds, many types of flakes) - muesli...I am really curious how it tastes.

Here I have some old pix, but I kinda like them...

Power Walking: View over Firth of Forth (I think this is how its called)

Power walking: Near Dean Village

Power Walking: A college - I think

Power Walking:  Museum of Modern Art

Power Walking: The water of Leith

Power Walking: St. Mary's Cathedral

Power Walking: St. Mary's Cathedral - detail

And keep on walking!..as you might discover great things while keeping fit and healthy ;-)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 6 Day 3

14,804 steps at the end of the day.
One hour of Body Blitz (quite disappointed).
Power Walking: Weather sandwich: Moments of bright sunshine between two rain sessions
Keep on walking!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 6 Day 2

Yes, to my amazement, today I didn't have the time nor the energy for my power walk session. So I took a day off. 
This doesn't mean I sat down all day long. No way. Because this is something impossible for me now. I got used with walking, and I don't feel comfortable at all if I don't do at least 5,000-6,000 steps a day.

Today was 'shopping walking' instead of 'power walking'...obviously not as intense, but certainly much longer...I hope the higher metabolism rate due to constant moving counts enough against the lower level of intensity. Not taking the bus should add a bonus to my calorie burning too.

Power Walking: Another grey sunset

I have ended with 8,816 steps, no power walking, quite some money spent and a new strong attitude against high heels. Tell me: why do women torture themselves with high heels? Is it for their own pleasure? Or just taking the pain for other's eyes pleasure...is it worth it???

Power Walking: Stiletto: Femme Fatale - from Science Festival St. Andrew's Square displays

Power Walking: Stiletto: Femme Fatale - Hugh Turvey

I leave you with these questions now.

Meanwhile, keep on walking!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 6 Day 1

A decent weather for Edinburgh today...part windy-ish, part rain-ish, mainly cloudy.
Still, good weather for the super exercise required by week 6: 4 minutes of really intense walking, followed by 2 minutes of medium intense walking. Very difficult this weeks level, I really felt it myself today after a continuous 30 minutes session.

Good workout , and I managed to take some lovely pics today:
Power Walking: Blue sunset 1

Power Walking: Blue sunset 2

Power Walking: Blue sunset 3

I have ended the day with a great 16,850 steps....

By the way...Have you ever checked the labels for bread? Today I thought..let me have a look:
Power Walking: bread label

Well, let's pay some more attention to what we eat, so that the exercise effort really pays off.

Keep on walking! 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 5 Day off

Good weather today gives me hopes we will get soon into springtime.
I was asking today what's the forecast for this summer...I got a very precise answer: in Edinburgh the summer will 'happen' on second Thursday of August, between 11am-5pm...

Meanwhile, some spring-ish pictures..

Power Walking: first tulips

Power Walking: Holyrood Palace

After a brief visit at my super favourite Soup Cafe @Union of Genius,

Power Walking: My chicken soup with onion bread

 I ended the day with a beautiful total of 11,048 steps...feels good!

Keep on walking :-)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 5 Day 5

Wow...already day 5 this week...that was quite fast...
It was cloudy and rainy, cold-ish now and then...
After some crazy gym workout I ended the day with 17,080 steps.

I wanted to check again how many calories I burn at a quite intense (for my level of fitness) running. So after 10 minutes of running at 10k speed I managed to cover 1.8 k and burn (only!) 119 calories. Before my workout I was planning to reward myself  with something sweet or beer-y...but after I exhausted myself and burned only 100 calories, all of a sudden all my drive to ingest something with over 250 calories vanished...
So after workout - back to my lovely salad (tomatoes, cucumber, green olives and some feta cheese cubes) with a good protein source (to help with the recovery) of smoked mackerel pate (simply whizzed the fillet with some plain yoghurt) ..I don't know if I kept it low in calories, but at least it was healthy...

On my way home the sky looked like this...and then the rain started..again...:-)
Power Walking: Sky 1

Power Walking: Sky 2

Power walking: Sky - colour and fog

Keep on walking!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 5 Day 4

Better weather today.

Much easier to go for the walking goal.
Power Walking: McEwan Hall

Power Walking: Forrest Road

Power Walking: when you need to go to the Doctors

Total of the day: 13,630 steps.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 5 Day 3

12,690 steps today
still cold and windy...
not feeling ok..
need sleep...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 5 Day 2

Cold again, 2 degrees...windy as hell,snow, wind, cold. Oh yes, if I didn't mention it, it was awfully cold today in Edinburgh.

I really didn't feel like going out for anything else than the 'survival' stuff...but as they say, 'never say never'...

With the notice of an undelivered parcel I thought I'd better push myself and do some steps and collect it myself rather than ask for a redelivery.... good thinking, difficult task.

After the collection, as I was only 5 minutes away from sea, I thought...why not? why not go and see how it feels and looks the sea at storm???

 Amazing experience, indeed...scary from time to time, totally frozen but what a fantastic feeling to get close to crazy big almighty water... 

The day ended with 7956 steps and some great memories...
The teaching of the day: the good old never say never...

Keep on walking!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 5 Day 1

Wow...cold today...soooo very cold in Edinburgh...

Not the best weather to do the walking. Even if I tried (and managed) to do all the necessary travel by using the natural and ecological means of walking, I had really no incentive to fight with the elements that kept the temperature around 6 of Mr. Celsius' degrees and provided fog (or should I say haar), rain/slit and wind.

Ended the day with 8440 steps followed by a very lazy and inactive evening.

I am still dreaming of last week's sunshine. You are invited to join.
Power Walking: Sunshine Dreaming

The teaching of the day: think hot soup when feeling freezing cold.
Keep on walking!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Power Walking: Week 5 - Core exercises

For week 5 we will work on following exercises:

1. Hundreds

Lie on your back with your knees in the air, directly above your hips, making a 90 degree angle with your lower leg. Keep your arms by your sides.
Contract your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders off the floor. In this position beat your hands up and down slowly breathing in and out for a count of ten. Repeat until you get the hundred :-).

If you feel any strain in the neck, place one hand behind your head to support it and then alternate arms until you've finished.

Power Walking: Hundreds

2. Scissors

Lie on your back with both legs raised, toes pointing to the ceiling and knees slightly bent. Contract the abdominals.
Slowly lower your left leg down towards the floor. As your left leg reaches the floor, start lowering the right leg, while slowly raise the left leg.

Power Walking: Scissors
3. Side leg lifts

Lie on your right side with your legs extended. Rest your left hand on the floor in front of you and support the side of your head with your right hand.
Contract your abdominals.
Raise your left leg towards the ceiling as far as is comfortable. Hold briefly, then slowly release.
Perform 6-8 repetitions and repeat on the other side.

Power Walking: Side leg lifts

4. Dog

Start on all fours with hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, hip distance apart. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
Curl your toes under, press back into your palms and bringing the balls of your feet onto the floor, lift your hips towards the ceiling and straighten your legs until you are forming an inverted V shape.
Hold briefly, then come down again on all fours.
Perform 6 repetitions.

Power Walking: Dog

Do your exercises slowly, controlled in 10 minutes sessions.
Try to do the core exercises at least every other day (if not enough time every day).

Important note: the core exercises do not replace the 5x30 minutes power walking weekly sessions :-)

"50 Best Fitness Exercises, A step by step guide to the best toning exercise" - Parragon, 2011

Power Walking: Week 4 - Core Exercises

I apologise for posting these exercises so late..but they are good for future reference :-)

1. Bridge with leg point

Lie on your back on the floor with knees bent. Contract your abdominals.
Start to lift slowly your hips up using your abdominals, until the shoulders (on the floor), the hips and the knees are in a straight line.
Extend one leg straight outwards, keeping the knees together and the abdominals contracted.
Lift the leg from the hip and point the toe, then lower again.
Slowly lower your upper body down to the floor, using your abdominals to control the movement.

Power walking: Bridge with leg point
2. Ab curl

Lie on your back and lift your legs so that the knees are above your hips and shins parallel to the floor (90 degrees angle at knees joint).
Support your head in your hands and curl your upper body off the floor, making sure that only the abdominals work. Don't use the shoulders muscles to do the crunch.

Power Walking: Ab curl

3. Side leg lifts and extensions

Lie on your side, with your knees bent in front of you. Keep feet and knees together and lift your feet off the floor.
Keeping the feet together, extend the upper leg, then bring it back.

Turn onto the other side and repeat.

Power Walking: Side leg lifts and extensions

Repeat each exercise 6-10 times on each side, 3 sets.

Make sure the movements are slow and controlled.

Joanna Hall, 2005 - "The weight Loss Bible" - SB Publishing

Power Walking: Week 4 Day Off 2

Another lovely day in Edinburgh.

I started early, with some morning shopping..
Power Walking: near Pleasance

[this is not like me, but I was feeling so energetic :-)]; then a spin class at Pleasance

Power Walking: @Pleasance

followed by our Power Walkers Sunday workout :-)

I ended with 20016 steps...
Great day...

Keep on walking...hey, week 5-on its way...

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Power Walking: Week 4 Day Off

Started the day with the usual 20 minutes of morning walk, 20 minutes walk back...about 6800 steps. I could have had a lazy Saturday afternoon, but somehow I couldn't find my place. What do I do when I am feeling jittery? Obviously, trainers on, and go.

I started as usually with Arthur Seat ...

Power Walking: Fly a kite

then felt like I need to try something different. So decided in a snap second to  head towards Meadows...

Judging by my previous experience, the distance between Arthur Seat and Bruntsfield Links (the far away side of the Meadows) was a big no-no to walking.
Today I have discovered that this distance is by no means a no-no! Only 25-30 minutes of good fast power walking (not even jogging!) and i was there....who would have thought it's so close... and what a beautiful space. Play the slideshow below to see the beauty of the place for yourself, don't simply trust my words..

I have ended the day with a whooping 15620 steps...iuhuu...it feels so great.

The teaching of the day: never assume, test first!

Keep on walking! :-)

Friday, 30 March 2012

Power Walking: Week 4 Day 5

The last day of battle with steps of week 4.

20 minutes of walk from home to work seem so easy now, so natural, so 'this is the way the things go'...

I kept moving up and down, but was not able to actually do any power walking training as I felt too tired. I ended the day with 6850 steps.

Today I discovered something interesting. I was telling you a few days ago about an oatcakes having 57 calories....I just discovered the wholegrain organic oatmeal from Kalo...only 30 calories per cake. With two of them I really managed to calm down some rebel hunger pangs (I reckon I would have needed about 3-4 oatcakes for the same effect). A quick calculation shows I have 'saved' about 90 -140 calories just replacing the oatcakes with the wholegrain rice cakes...mmm I like this....

And yes, I have finally bought a new charger for my phone...so no more boring looking  posts (I know the content is awesome anyway) :-)

Keep on walking!...and start thinking about healthier options for the food you eat now.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Power Walking: Week 4 Day 3

I don't have any pics today: my phone charger got smashed, so I am out of battery for at least next 2 days...

As a real hero, today I decided to walk half an hour from Meadowbank to St. John's Church along Royal Mile - instead of spending the same half hour on a bus stuck in traffic. That worked, I've done lots of walking early in the morning and I wasn't late.

Unfortunately another pedometer let me down...it's simply not possible to have after 30 minutes of intense walking (Royal Mile is quite steep in some places) only 1211 steps...so I have no idea how many steps I've had today, but for sure were a lot of them.

Am I right to say this post looks boring without pictures?

The teaching of the day: when you feel too tired, go for a nap....
Keep on walking!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Power Walking: Week 4 Day 2

I still owe you guys the new core exercises post...but I simply wasn't able to work on it (or anything else)...I have celebrated this amazing, beautiful weather by being out and walking all day long.

Power Walking: View on Nelson Monument 

Power Walking: View on Balmoral

Power Walking: Calton Hill

Power Walking: RBS building

I even managed to do a quick visit at National Museum and there were some nice posters about railways:

Power Walking: National Museum Poster 1

Power Walking: National Museum Poster 2

And on my way back home - my favourite yellow beauties smiling in the sun:

Power Walking: all we need is SUNSHINE!

Step wise: 10970 of those steps...but here is included only the run around Arthur Seat and my food shopping...why? because early in the morning my pedometer (and I didn't use any offensive word with it!) simply broke; so I was not able to count any step of my 3 hours of walking , sunbathing, window shopping, trying clothes [and buying none ;-)]. Mmmm, what a day!

The teaching of the day: get your vitamin D stock up and be happy ... just keep on walking!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Power Walking: Week 4 Day 1

What a beautiful day today: splendid sunshine, no wind, calm...heaven on earth...

Power Walking: Spring

4250 steps before the walking session.
I thought I'd go for a power walk, then I felt I'd like some jogging... warm up, and go. 
11 minutes of uphill jogging...that was really really challenging. After that...just flat and downhill. (Click here to see the route  - switch on Google Earth for a stunning view). And a sprint at the end...awow...it felt so great.

Ended with 10698 steps.

Cool down and stretch...a wee meditation...
Power Walking: Meditation...

Power Walking: Spring 2
we need so little to feel happy...[yeah, that is the endorphins talking :-)]

On the way home...some more awareness on the beauty of the nature...
Power Walking: Afternoon

The teaching of the day: keep it simple...just keep walking!