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Wellness Wednesday: Take the More Movement Challenge

In this month long series, I will do my best to help guide you into a plan of wellness that includes being more active and more connected to your body and mind.

In my opinion, personal happiness is directly related to the happiness of others around you. This is one of the main reasons I choose to keep promoting health and wellness in this area. It is the area in which I live and where I chose to raise my daughter. Sure, I could focus solely on making money and using it to better her future, but if her surroundings and friends aren’t happy as well, what is the purpose?

My friends (and hopefully soon to be friends), I challenge you to feel your best no matter what age you are. Some of you will be able to do more than others but that doesn’t matter. If we are in a collective state of bettering our community and selves, everything around us will become more vibrant.

The number one concern most people have with starting exercise programs is they don’t know where to start and, if they do, they often jump in over their heads which can cause fatigue, scheduling conflicts and even injuries. To help put your mind (and body) ease, we will take this slow and get everyone moving safely.

This first week is all about walking. We will be walking with a purpose. We will find comfortable clothes and shoes that will take us where we want to go without causing us to second guess why we wore them five minutes into the walk. For some of us, five minutes may be all we can muster but remember five minutes is more than zero. Start by taking a walk around the block and make sure to bring the dog, cat, ferret or whatever furry friend that needs to get out of the house as well.  All animals (including us) function better when exposed to the outdoors and nature. You might also be surprised at how great it makes you feel.

For those of you who already walk, find some stairs or head to the Licking River Greenway or Devou Park trails, much of which are paved. Try to add just a little more movement to what you already do. Try doing 10 body weight squats every quarter mile or try a light side shuffle or backpeddle for a few hundred feet. The key is to break the monotony of just walking normally. Our bodies are so efficient at making work easier that it's common to feel that you are not challenging them anymore. This is why we need constant change in our day-to-day or week-to-week routines. We need a stimulus to change.

Walking should be part of everyone's lives. Put your coffee and cell phones down. Move your arms. Make your way across Covington. Find partners that won't back out on you if it's below 45 degrees. Find a place where you feel comfortable to walk. If you’re not comfortable, you won't do it (Sawyer Point and the International Peace Park are great places to start if you're on the Ohio side of the river). The best thing about walking is that you can do it anytime. Before work, at lunch, after dinner...all times have benefits. Increased fatty acid utilization, increased glucose uptake and decreased stress are just a few benefits of walking.

Create a walking log of where you went, how long you walked for, and most importantly, how it made you feel during and afterwards. This is imperative to establishing a habit. You can also use different pedometers, a Fitbit or other wearable technology, and other apps on your GPS-enabled phone to track your progress and challenge you to become more mobile.

Remember, we are all in this together and this is just the start of your new movement-based lifestyle. It may not seem like much but even the largest plans start with a single thought. This first week will help establish a base for the rest of our beginner fitness plan.

What are your favorite places to walk or hike in the area?  Do you use a Fitbit or other technology to motivate you or track your progress? 

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Photo of Licking River Greenway & Trails entrance/RCN file