Keep your family in shape, active, healthy and happy with this family-wide walking challenge.
Family Walking Challenge Rhiannon Ally: Better wants to help you get in shape. Family Circle’s annual walking challenge is back. And as it enters its second month, the goal is to help you work out, eat right, and lose weight without spending money on those expensive gym memberships, special food plans or even a nutritionist. Meg Ragland, the health director of Family Circle Magazine is here to tell us all about it. Hello Meg. Meg Ragland: It’s great to be here. Rhiannon Ally: If we’re entering the second month, is it too late for people to join in? Meg Ragland: Not at all, not at all. We have last month’s plan on our website, FamilyCirle.com/walk2010, so if you missed it last month but this month we still gradually ease into it so it’s not too tough. But what we really encourage is people to take a brisk walk. This month, we’re really focusing on lowering you blood pressure. So, researchers found but actually a brisk walk can help decrease your blood pressure and that’s because of the brisk walk. It starts getting you oxygen in your blood moving through your arteries and washes away some of that yucky plaque in there and as well as you’re burning calories, losing weight, boosting your metabolism which all is going to help contribute to a lower blood pressure as well. Rhiannon Ally: That’s great. I don’t think a lot of people realize walking has all of these benefits and that’s what I love about this plan. Is this for the whole family really? Meg Ragland: Yes, definitely the whole family can partake. This month as I was saying in terms of getting out there of brisk walk, you can make it into a contest and fun games with your family like saying, “let’s try and walk two miles in thirty minutes.” And kind of set with this our goal and over the course of the month, it gets increasingly a little bit more difficult and we’re trying to get you to walk faster. We include something called speed steps. You could do a jog or just think of turning over your feet faster and we ask people to do in segments of about fifty steps at a time. We also have some moves included in the workout to kind of keep it more interesting. Rhiannon Ally: Walking can get a little boring sometimes. Meg Ragland: Right, so this also helps with the oxygenation in your blood. If you raise your arms above your head kind of tuck in your tummy, pull your tummy in so you’ve tighten your abs and then just do some overhead presses. Rhiannon Ally: No weights? Meg Ragland: No weights, no weights. Because they found it if you walk with weights, although it burns more calories, people usually don’t go as far. So we’re really talking about a brisk fast walk. Rhiannon Ally: Now what about the diet plan on this walking challenge? Meg Ragland: It’s a really easy one to follow. You get the three meals a day and three snacks a day. Rhiannon Ally: So you’re not going to go hungry. Meg Ragland: Right. And it’s very easy. It’s a very easy cheat pick and choose and of course it’s helping with lowering blood pressure so it’s high in the fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and it’s a very easy calculation. We want people to strive and try to have three whole grains a day, two low fat dairy products and seven fruits and vegetables each day and then over the course of the day, try to get more legumes, beans, that type of thing in your diet which has been shown eating foods that are rich in magnesium. And potassium seems to lower blood pressure. So, things like dried apricots, oatmeal, I think a lot of people know oatmeal helps to lower cholesterol, spinach, all of these and sweet potatoes. That’s one of my favorites. I love sweet potato fries. That’s a great one. Rhiannon Ally: Perfect! Well, it sounds like a great plan. Thank you so much Meg for joining us today. And for more information on the walking challenge and you can still signup for the 12 week walking newsletter. Go to familycircle.com/walk2010. You can enter how far you’ve walked for the opportunity to win a seven-night family vacation in Mexico. See, you don’t want to miss that.