30 Day Fitness Experiment

What can you do for your body in 30 days?

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Tadpoles

At 30 Day Fitness Experiment, we’re always talking about ways to make physical activity part of normal, day-to-day life. This is as important for children as it is for adults. It used to be that children played outside regularly, running and jumping and climbing and building… but we know that’s not the norm anymore.

California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

In response to reports that childhood obesity and inactivity are causing an alarming amount of health problems in young people, several states have enacted a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. California, Maryland, Florida and North Carolina each have their own version, and Iowa appears to be working on developing one.

Some of the basic elements include swimming/splashing in water, camping under the stars, catching a fish, learning to swim, following a trail, building a fort or sandcastle, connecting with the natural world, and celebrating their heritage.

Another common thread is having a responsible adult to share these experiences with. What can you do in your own family or community to promote children’s health and physical activity? Here are a few things:

  1. Turn off the TV. Take your family for a walk, swim, hike, or bike instead.
  2. Volunteer and become involved at your children’s school. Offer to chaperon a field trip, and offer ideas for alternatives to pizza parties as a celebration of accomplishment.
  3. Plan ahead for active vacations. Going on a trip sometimes involves renting a car, laying around reading novels, etc. But with a bit of advance planning, you can take a trip without the car, which means getting around more on your own two feet. It’s also an exercise in packing light and getting by on less, since you’ll be carrying your things with you while you walk or bike. Remember to include progressively longer walks as part of your planning. You don’t want to get exhausted because you’re not used to walking or biking!
  4. Brainstorm with your kids and make your own Outdoor Bill of Rights. Find out what interests them and make a bucket list of things to experience before their 14th birthday.
  5. Have fun! Lifestyle fitness is about sustaining an active way of life, with or without the gym or aerobics class. Physical fitness shouldn’t be a chore or a punishment for your kids. If it isn’t fun, it won’t be sustainable.
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May 26, 2010 Posted by | Lifestyle Fitness, The Physically Active Family | , , , , | 2 Comments

Walk Your Way to Portland, Oregon

Day 096 - Manoa Falls Hike
Image by CharlieBoy808 via Flickr

I’ve been fighting off my previous sedentary existence for 6 weeks now. That seems like a good chunk of time, but it’s only 42 days. I don’t know why 42 days seems like a shorter time than 6 weeks, but they are in fact the same. What difference has 42 days made? 42 days into this project, I can do so much more than I could when I began. For example, on Day 1, I vowed to walk “at least 15 minutes per day.” That first week, it was really hard to get up, go outside, and walk. I wanted the 15 minutes to be over so I could sit down again. Now I regularly walk for at least an hour at a moderate pace without feeling like it’s going to kill me. I enjoy it. I can even carry on a conversation.

Can you walk for an hour? Would you enjoy a three hour hike? If you started walking every day, could you build up to an all-day hike or even walking a 5K or 10K? (A 5K walk is a little over 3 miles, and can be done in about an hour at an easy pace. A 10K is twice that, or about 6.2 miles.)

If you answered yes to the above questions, try this: Take two easy 45-minute walks per week. On two other days each week, take 60 minute walks, one doing some interval speed work– see point #5 on this post, and the other, do intervals again but go even faster and include some hills. So you’re alternating a 45-minute walk, a 60-minute interval walk, another 45-minute walk, and another 60-minute interval walk. Take a day off somewhere in there, and every weekend do progressively longer walks, starting at 40 minutes and working up gradually to a 5 hour hike. Oh, and take up to 22 weeks to do this.

Do you know what I just described? Marathon training. Yes. I said a marathon. 26.2 miles. If you are able to walk for an hour on a regular basis, you are ready to train to walk a marathon (after you talk to your doctor about it, of course). Check out these 18-week and 22-week training guides from PBS.

Guess what else: The Portland Marathon, known for being very walker-friendly, is scheduled for October 10th this year: 10-10-10. That’s 23 weeks away!

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May 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Much Can You Do For Your Body in Just 30 Days?

Walking to church
Image by cheerytomato via Flickr–One Step at a Time

It’s Day 30! We Made It!

Twenty-nine days ago I set out to make some positive changes in my body size and shape by cultivating a few simple habits: Eat real food, Drink water, Be physically active every day.

Here is a summary of the results:

Weight: I lost 10 pounds (from 220 to 210 pounds)

Bust: Lost 2 inches

Waist: Lost 2 inches

Hip: Lost 3 inches

Thigh: Lost 2 inches

Bicep: Lost 1.5 inches

I’m so happy with these results! I can’t wait to see what the next 30 Day Experiment brings!


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April 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Much is Enough?

This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NYC. Famous...
Image via Wikipedia

Here in America, we have an abundance of… well, everything. But today we’re only talking about food.

Food is so easily attainable around here that we don’t even have to do anything but drive up, make a selection, pay, and eat. It’s almost as convenient as the Food-a-Rac-a-Cycle on the Jetson’s, except you do have to leave home.

We also have the luxury of buying convenience foods of the “Just add water” or “Just add hamburger” variety, and of buying in bulk at the super-huge-box-store. Another evidence of superabundance is the portion size in American restaurants. Why is it that you can buy one meal, take home what you don’t eat, and that “one serving” will feed you for three more days? Do we really need this much?

An overabundance of any resource causes the value of that resource to go down down down. It’s like Roger Whittaker said: “And gold would not be precious if we all had gold to spare.” This is what is happening to food in our culture. It’s no longer a sacred thing that fuels and nourishes our bodies and brings our families together. It’s not even something we have to work hard to create.

Preparing your own food does not have to be a huge, daunting task. You don’t have to make a five-course meal every night, and you don’t have to entertain. Chris O’Byrne of Tiny Simplicity recently wrote about Tiny Meals. Not only does he remind us of the reasons we should slow down and enjoy food, he walks us through five simple steps: Planning, Purchasing, Preparing, Partaking, and Putting Away. Embracing all of these steps, from Planning to Putting Away, helps us to become mindful of the whole process, and makes for a more peaceful relationship with food.

Mindfulness in one area carries over to the rest of life. If you’ve been keeping a food journal, you’ve likely become more mindful of what, how much, and even when you eat. Now it’s time to think about where that food comes from, and what is really in it.


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April 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment