What Can Walking Do For You?

 

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Here at Good Feet headquarters, we’re always looking for ways to live our best lives. And lately we’ve been reading about the benefits of incorporating regular walk breaks into the work day. So we decided to give it a try.

It’s recommended that individuals get at least a half an hour of exercise every day. Two minute walks during each hour of an 8-hour work day covers just over half of those thirty minutes. We decided to keep our walks short and sweet and planned to take them every hour.

For two weeks, members of the Good Feet team who wanted to take on the challenge set out for eight short walks during their work day. The goal: determine if these frequently discussed walk breaks really live up to all the hype.

The course around our building was a bit longer than two minutes, but it was pleasant to be able to walk a loop. No redundancy here…we’re only moving forward! Also, setting a timer for a minute and turning around abruptly when it sounded didn’t fit into the “refresh” mentality we were seeing if we could cultivate.

It took some time to assemble the folks who wanted to walk together, but overall it was helpful to go as a group: coworkers can help remind you that it’s time for a break when you get immersed in a project.

Of course, we ran this experiment during some of the hottest days of summer. But it was fun to see the days progress. We’d walk during the cool, breezy morning and see it become a sweltering afternoon. In the deliciously cool air-conditioned office you don’t always get a clear idea of what’s going on outside. Getting that perspective is refreshing.

Despite the frequency of the walks, there were no reports of a decrease in productivity. We all take breaks in our day, whether it’s answering emails or having a snack-and-think break. Designating time for a break that is all about activity can refresh in ways that other breaks can’t.

We found that the more we did it, the more it became a habit we didn’t have to think about. Moreover, our bodies came to expect and enjoy the regular movement! For those individuals who get antsy when sitting for long periods of time, walking breaks are an efficient way to stretch and get the circulation going.

The Bottom Line: Good Feet noticed that regular walk breaks make a noticable mental difference. Members of the team reported that it was nice to take a break from the computer to get a breath of fresh air, and that they felt clearer when they did get back to their desks.

Deciding to walk once every hour is a big commitment, though. Having a flexible walking schedule that fluctuates with the day’s agenda is a more sustainable way to approach the activity. In general, it’s safe to aim for three five-minute walks throughout the day as you need them and as time allows. Good Feet also encourages walking meetings, which is another great way to get some exercise and fresh air.

If you plan to try this at your own workplace, let your employer know and give them an idea of your schedule. Part of the beauty of walk breaks is their spontaneity. But letting your boss know a rough idea of how many walks you plan to take during the day and their duration is a good idea, at least at first.

Oh, and one more tip: dogs make everything better, and this activity is no exception! Our office dog, Bo, encouraged us with his enthusiasm even during the hottest hours of the afternoon.

Fantastic Feet

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What is the last thing you take off before you go to bed?

Answer: Your feet off the floor.

 

This riddle is funny–and true! Starting as soon as children learn to walk. But the answer isn’t always obvious. Kids and grown-ups alike don’t tend to spend too much time thinking about their feet. But feet are pretty amazing.

By the time a child is six years old, the feet will have developed into their own unique shape. They’ll continue to grow in size, but not always in form. Various external factors throughout a child’s life can affect the foot’s overall shape and functionality. These factors include shoes, socks, and supporting surfaces. However, the posture and the system of the foot is the same in children’s feet as those in adults.  Because the characteristics of children’s feet are equivalent to adult feet, a child’s foot will respond to the same biomechanical solutions. This means they can benefit from arch supports.

The normal foot pronates and supinates during the walking cycle. Good Feet’s youth arch supports are designed to provide enough support for the growing foot so that the walking cycle is not impeded by hard surfaces or physical activity. The supports limit the side-to-side motion of the feet without aggressively repositioning the foot.

Not all arch supports are made the same. Over-the-counter arch supports can’t always address the foot concerns that custom-fit supports address. Custom-fit supports provide a better surface for the feet. For children over the age of six, they can be a beneficial addition to shoes of all types. The purpose of arch supports during this phase of life is to provide balance, comfort, and support the foot as it grows, as well as to help minimize the adverse effects of today’s flat shoes and concrete walking surfaces.

So as you start getting serious about back to school shopping, think about more than just supplies for the classroom. After school activities like sports and clubs are examples of when your kids may really notice the benefit of arch supports. Active kids are happy kids and happy kids can feel even better with proper support.    

Back in the Saddle

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Have you noticed how there is a spike in the number of people out and about on bicycles when the weather is nice? Perhaps you are even one of those people!

Keep you and your bike running smoothly with these tips from bike mechanic Adam from West End Bikes in Portland, Oregon and Gordon, owner of Lakeside Bikes in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

  • Get excited about your seat. A proper bike seat, or “saddle” is essential to a comfortable ride. Old saddles can lose cushioning and comfort and lead to soreness after a long ride. Some bike shops, including West End Bikes, offer Body Geometry Fit services, a technology that help determine what saddle will be comfortable for your body.

 

  • Pump it up! Tires lose air naturally, but that doesn’t mean the tubes are bad or that you need a full tune-up. Sometimes tires just need to be topped off with a little air. Many bike shops will help you pump your tires up for free.

 

  • Be aware of wear. Some parts of a bike have a set wear life.These parts include the chain, brake pad, and tires. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Many people can get between one thousand and two thousand miles on their bikes before then. But when they do need replacing, it’s important to act promptly. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of having to replace even more parts!

 

  • Shed the winter weight. Bike lubricants come in summer and winter weights. Winter weight lubrication is thicker than summer weight lubrication because winter bikers will typically run into more potentially damaging fluids on the road. How to tell if your bike needs lubrication? The pins in the center of the chain will turn a polished chrome color. When the chain is well lubed, the color is more similar to a matte gunmetal. If your bike is making a squeaky noise when you’re pedaling, that’s another sign it’s time to grab the lube. Lubricate your bike the night before you ride so the lubricant has time to penetrate. In the morning, wipe down the chain thoroughly. This gives the lubricant time to pull dirt from the chain.

 

  • Keep it loose. It’s common for hot-weather bikers to suffer from foot swelling. Prevent it by tying your shoes loosely and wearing breathable socks.

 

  • Slather it on. Sunscreen on the shoulders, nose, and ears might be common sense. But for folks without a lot of hair on their heads, it is also important to put sunscreen on the scalp. Most helmets have air holes that can make for interesting, not to mention painful, sunburns.

 

  • Prepare for the unexpected. Bring a repair kit on your rides. A good repair kit will include a spare tube, a multi-tool for emergency adjustments, and a flat tire repair kit. It’s also a good idea to tuck a couple extra dollars into your seat bag or pocket before hitting the road.

 

The best thing about biking isn’t how far or how fast you can go. It’s the experiences you have in the saddle. Biking gives you the opportunity to see things you’d normally pass right by in the car. It gives you the opportunity to feel the wind in your face and the sun on your back. It gives you the opportunity to feel alive!

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Garden Party

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There are about a million different theories on diet and even more books, and each new diet fad seems to contradict the last diet fad. But running through each supposedly end-all diet fad there is a common theme. It’s not new. It’s not fancy. It’s a refrain you’ve probably heard since you were small: eat your vegetables!

Maybe you do already eat your vegetables. A salad with lunch, a helping of green beans with dinner. That’s great if you do. But we could all afford to add a little extra greenery to our lives.

Before you sigh and exit this article thinking that I’m going to propose quitting your job, buying a tractor, and starting your own organic farm, wait! Aside from the fact that it’s a little too late in the summer to start a full blown garden, that’s simply not a practical option for everybody. Some folks don’t enjoy gardening, and others don’t have the opportunity to. But almost everyone can put some soil in a pot and pop a couple seeds into it. If you’d rather put your effort into activities that don’t involve plant cultivation, you can even transplant a start from the grocery or hardware store.

Which herbs to plant? Basil, mint, and chives are all easy to grow and fun to use. With a little effort, you can get a big reward. Once your herbs have matured, you can pack the chopped leaves into an ice cube tray and top off with boiling water. Then pop them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, you’ll have a supply of herbs ready to be tossed into sauces and sautees.

Perhaps you’re thinking, ok, I’ll grab a basil start the next time I go to the grocery store. But then what? A few leaves of basil mixed into my next pasta sauce isn’t going to make a difference. I probably won’t even notice it.

Three things to consider:

A small amount of fresh herbs can pack a big flavor punch and provide nutrients that can be lost when dried. Additionally, the aroma of fresh herbs, especially when added to a dish right at the end of cooking, tends to be stronger than that of dried herbs — providing an appetite-whetting olfactory experience.

A little bit of a good thing is far better than nothing. After all, everything adds up! There also is no better spice than knowing that what you’re eating is made with love and care. And nothing could be truer of an herb garden you create yourself! 

Even if you don’t make meals using your mini herb garden, you’ll still have a lovely green plant in your home or on your patio. Adding a little extra greenery to your life is easy!