Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Nordic walking’ Category

A shorter walk

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The first photo is of a droopy tree. I like droopy trees. Third photo is another palm flower, this one more spectacular than the one in front of my building. Only 5500 steps so far today. I figure it’ll be three more weeks of daily walking before I start to reap the energy benefits.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 4:09 pm

Walking vs. fasting blood glucose

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I resumed daily walks on 6 June — normally, I don’t walk on Sunday, but since I hadn’t been doing any real walking, I figured I should just start.

I noticed an immediate effect on by fasting blood glucose levels, which I graphed for that first week: steps each day and fasting blood glucose level the next day.

And you can see from last week’s steps-per-day chart, I wasn’t really doing all that many steps — I wanted to ramp up gradually. Still, I was using Nordic walking poles, which increase calorie burn by 20% (with no perceptible increase in effort, an attribute I like).

What surprises me is the impact the walking has had on my average fasting blood glucose readings. As of this morning (June 15), here’s what the averages look like:

These readings are all still in the “pre-diabetic” range, but observe the trend. (The readings in mg/dL, the measure commonly used in the US: 103, 106, 108, 114 mg/dL.)

My goal is to get all the averages below 5.5 mmol/L (99 mg/dL). That would be comfortably within the normal range.

Of course, this result is not due solely to exercise, since diet also plays a major role. I’m convinced that my whole-food non-animal diet is also essential. But (as the figures show) diet alone is insufficient. Exercise also is required, and I believe aerobics exercise (Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s term), or cardio exercise — sustained exercise — works best. I’ll continue Nordic walking, and I’ll soon be doing 1-hour walks, 6 days a week.

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15 June 2021 at 10:32 am

6426 steps with flowers and a frog

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A nice walk, and I cleverly put out a bowl of frozen mixed berries before I left so I’d have a treat on my return. I like droopy trees, like the one at the start of the fourth row. The leftmost picture on the bottom row shows an odd plant. I thought initially it was two plants, but I think the two are one.  Enlarge and see what you think. Note the tendrils growing from the vertical narrow cones.

Click any image to get a slide show, and right-click on any slide to open image in a new tab; click it there to enlarge it.

Written by Leisureguy

14 June 2021 at 4:02 pm

Holding diet constant, increasing exercise — look at what happens to fasting blood glucose

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Starting last Sunday I resumed my Nordic walking. My fasting blood glucose, as I mentioned in an earlier post, held steady (in the “pre-diabetic” range) for three days, and then dropped into the normal range (a fasting BG reading of 5.5 mmol/L (99 mg/dL) or less). In fact, the past 3 days my readings have been 5.4, 5.3, and 5.2 (in mmol/L — in mg/dL, that’s 97, 95, and 94).

Obviously, my fasting blood glucose cannot continue dropping (or I’m in serious trouble), nor will the number of steps per day monotonically increase. For one thing, I don’t walk on Sundays as a rule (last Sunday was an exception), and once I get to 8000 I’ll level out since I see no need to go beyond that. (The 10,000 step guideline was a marketing ploy by Japanese pedometer manufacturers.)

But even in this short sample, I’m impressed by the impact that exercise (Nordic walking) has made. It certainly wasn’t due to diet, since I held my (whole-food plant-only) diet steady — and indeed, I’ve kept my fasting blood glucose readings relatively low (though still in the “pre-diabetic” range) simply by diet. But to get to the next level — readings in the “normal” range — exercise is clearly required.

I’ll go one more day to complete the week. It was a good experiment.

Written by Leisureguy

12 June 2021 at 9:41 am

4600 Steps and Saan Choy

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Another walk, and though I did see some nice-looking plants, I wanted to get back because it’s time to cook a new batch of greens, and I have a big bunch of saan choy, which is the Cantonese name. Another name is Malabar spinach, but in fact it’s related to cactus and purslane, not to spinach:

Ceylon / Indian / Surinam / Chinese / Vietnamese Spinach; Broad Bologi, Poi Baagi, Calaloo, Buffalo Spinach; Mong Toi (Viet); Paag-Prung, Phak plang yai, phalpang (Thai); Phakkang, Pak pang (Laos); Alugbati, Dundula, Grana, Libato (Philippines); Niviti (Sri Lanka); Gendola, Remayong, Tembayung (Malay); Genjerot, Jingga, Gendola (Indonesia); Saan Choy (Cantonese); Shan Tsoi, Luo Kai, Shu Chieh, Lo Kwai (China); Poi (India); Pui Shak (Bengali); Kodip PasaLi (Tamil); Tsuru Murasa Kai (Japan); Amunututu (Yoruba); Gborongi (Igbo); Basella alba]

Not related to regular spinach but rather to cactus and purslane (order Caryophyllales (Carnations)), this plant has a flavor vaguely similar to spinach, but more earthy and much milder due to low oxalic acid content. The leaves are thick, almost succulent, and actually quite filling. One cultivar, “Rubra”, has red stems.

While regular spinach is a cool temperate plant which doesn’t like the tropics at all, Malabar Spinach is a tropical vine. A fast growing perennial, it is harvested continuously by cutting new growth. It can be grown as an annual in warmer temperate regions.

An important note, which stirred me to cook it tonight:

This plant does not store well in the fridge and should be used within 2 days.


I used my All-Clad Stainless for this because I knew I would be adding vinegar to the hot pan — if I use cast iron, that would strip the seasoning. Into the pan go:

• 1.5 Tbsp EVOO
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• about 5 oz homemade soybean tempeh, diced
• pinch of salt
• sprinkling of crushed red pepper
• multiple grindings black cumin seed

Sauté that over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When onions turn translucent, add:

• 1 bag saan choy/Malabar spinach, rinsed and chopped
• good dash tamari
• about 3 Tbsp Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

Cook for a few minutes, stirring off and on. Note from the article linked above:

For stir fries and the like, cook as for regular spinach, in just a little oil. Free water on the leaves from washing is sufficient to get it cooking. Stir frequently and stop cooking as soon as the leaves are limp and of a uniform cooked color. Do not overcook or it will become slimy and leave a metallic aftertaste.

Once I deemed it done, I put some in a bowl and sprinkled it with

• pepitas (or peanuts or pecans or pignolas)
• 1 tsp Bragg’s nutritional yeast

Extremely tasty. Will be repeated. Serving suggestion shown; click photo to enlarge.

Tomorrow, for Other Vegetables, I’ll be cooking some chayote squash with bitter melon, along with suitable aromatics, herbs, and spices.

Written by Leisureguy

9 June 2021 at 4:38 pm

Another day, another walk

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Another look at the palm flowers, and an unfortunate iPhone shade on a pretty flower. The middle picture is a close-up of a park lawn that was covered with those small yellow flowers.

3990 steps, again with Nordic walking poles. Maybe I can keep it up. I have a strong suspicion that to keep my fasting blood glucose below 6.0 mmol/L (108 mg/dL) and ideally around 5.5-5.6 (99-101) diet alone is insufficient (albeit necessary); exercise also will be required. So I’m testing that.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2021 at 4:09 pm

A walk with flowers

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I managed to get myself to get out for a walk, and today I used my Nordic walking poles. Not too long a walk — just under 3000 steps — but now that I’ve broken the ice, tomorrow’s walk should be easier. And of course I had to photograph some plants along the way. As before, click on any photo to get a slide show, and right-click on any photo in the slide show to open it in a new tab, where you can enlarge it to peruse the detail.

The flowers in that first photo were tiny, but on a large plant.



I sent a link of this post to The Wife, who returned a photo of some small and interesting flowers she came across. In their natural position, drooping downward, the translucent leaves give them a ectoplasmic hue, so I decided that these flowers must be called “ghostberries,” though of course they are not berries, but merely resemble them. As you can see, the flowers are very small. Click image to enlarge.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2021 at 4:12 pm

Back from walk

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I saw a couple of these on my walk. They come through the neighborhood from time to time.

A good walk, including a stop by the little neighborhood market, where I restocked my supply of fresh San Marzano tomatoes: “Make hay while the sun shines.” My little backpack has proved invaluable — in its pouch it fits comfortably in my pocket, and then when needed it has good capacity (18L) — and leaves my hands free for the Nordic walking poles.

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14 August 2020 at 5:02 pm

Walkies, produce haul, and some plants observed

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One walk today for exercise, another for groceries. On the exercise walk I saw this horse topiary and the two crane topiaries at the right. They were both in the same yard, which was a hotel (with tea room) in a predominantly residential neighborhood. The hotel was not out of character for the neighborhood and fit in well.

I also walked by this tree overhanging the sidewalk and admired the blooms. That yard and many of the yards I walked past was given over to a flower garden. As you walk along you’ll find yourself engulfed in a cloud of fragrance that fades as you move beyond that yard, but then another fragrance will waft across the sidewalk from the next yard. And the colors!

Altogether, it made me appreciate urban living rather than suburbs with their vast empty lawns, spread out so that cars are required to get anywhere. In this little neighborhood, I walked by a variety of little cafés, tea rooms, and bars, all nestled into the neighborhood.

And once I returned home and had lunch, I set out again for the local store that sells bulk foods and someproduce — that’s the store where I got the San Marzano tomatoes. None of those today (they will get more tomorrow), but I did get some very nice Roma tomatoes, a young onion (the stem was still green), and couple of male eggplants. (Males eggplants are preferred because they have many fewer seeds, and the seeds tend to be bitter — this I learned today, along with how to tell the difference, from a recipe video.)

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10 August 2020 at 4:34 pm

First walk from the new apartment

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A short walk — 1.3 miles, 29 minutes — just to explore neighborhood. No hills — I’ll have to look for one, since I particularly enjoyed the ascents and descents of the old route. Many nice sights along the way, and here’s one. I did use my Nordic walking poles of course. I did wear a mask, but perhaps not next time.

Written by Leisureguy

6 May 2020 at 4:31 pm


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Nice day — 46ºF, clear sky, no wind — and I did 3.685 miles at 3.42mph, so 1:04:42 is the time. The route was two large loops and two smaller loops. When I include the two tiny loops for the “complete” route, the distance (as I’ve computed, not according to GPS Odometer) is 3.8 miles, which I do in 01:06:00, more or less: 3.45mph.

The effort has become pleasantly strenuous rather than desperately gasping for air.

Written by Leisureguy

9 March 2020 at 4:22 pm

Walk today

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3.060 miles at 3.42mph, so 00:53:44. I can tell I’m getting in better shape: it’s not so strenuous, though definitely a good workout.

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6 March 2020 at 3:47 pm

The Son’s Game Design department at Bradley University: #8 in the world

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So says Princeton Review:

And, in other family news, my walk today was 2.582 miles at 3.48mph: 00:44:34.

Written by Leisureguy

3 March 2020 at 2:36 pm

Podcast discovery

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Hey, do you know about podcasts?

Of course you do. Probably everyone does but me. So long as I’ve been spending most of my time at home, they never seemed all that appealing (as a general idea), but now that I am trying getting around using public transit, I experience more waiting time, and for that podcasts seem ideal (as I’m sure you already know).

I have a minor advantage in that my hearing aids are bluetooth-enabled and connected to my iPhone, so I (in effect) always have my Airpods in and on.

Here’s what you may not know: there are a fair number of podcasts in Esperanto, including an Esperanto course. That’s very nice, I think.

Written by Leisureguy

26 February 2020 at 12:24 pm

Update to meal pattern

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I corrected an error in this post (only 1 serving of cruciferous vegetables on the checklist, not 3) and added the meal pattern I follow and mention my new odometer app for walking.

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20 February 2020 at 1:10 pm

Speick is great — and so is the iKon 102

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And the Maggard 22mm synthetic is also very nice indeed. I was impressed by the quality of the lather from that Speick shave stick: really first rate. And the 102 once again madee me realize why I like it so much: a totally comfortable shave with a result as smooth as if I had been shaving a multi-day stubble. A splash of Speick aftershave — elderflower is the fragrance, I believe — and I’m ready for another sunny day and another walk.

I’m walking 1 big loop (a lap around two blocks including up a somewhat steep hill — and then back down, of course: the restful part) and then 1 smaller loop (a lap around one block, including a less steep hill) — total distance 2.006 miles. One nice thing about the route:it begins with a long mildly downward slope for a stress-free warmup, and it it ends with an almost flat (but slightly downward) section for a cool-down.

Here’s the profile, courtesy of

And some statistics:

I’m taking it easy at the start, but the goal is twice around the big loop and twice around the small loop for about 4 miles.

Written by Leisureguy

18 February 2020 at 8:53 am

A walk, with flowers

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It was a sunny afternoon and not very cold, so I got out the Nordic walking poles and did a couple of laps around the block. Flowers are out in an early sign of spring. I don’t know what these guys are, but they are very small. They also come in white (click photos to enlarge). And they cluster in bushes. I enjoyed the walk and plan to continue so long as the weather holds.

Written by Leisureguy

14 February 2020 at 4:50 pm

Regarding cardio exercise and brain function

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Also from How Not to Die, by Michael Greger MD:

In a 2010 study published in the Archives of Neurology, researchers took a group of people with mild cognitive impairment—those who are starting to forget things, for example, or regularly repeating themselves—and had them engage in aerobic exercise for forty-five to sixty minutes a day, four days a week, for six months. The control group was instructed to simply stretch for the same time periods.

Memory tests were performed before and after the study. Researchers found that in the control (stretching) group, cognitive function continued to decline. But the exercising group not only didn’t get worse, they got better. The exercisers got more test answers correct after six months, indicating their memory had improved.

Subsequent studies using MRI scans found that aerobic exercise can actually reverse age-related shrinkage in the memory centers of the brain. No such effect was found in the stretching and toning control groups or a nonaerobic strength-training group. Aerobic exercise can help improve cerebral blood flow, improve memory performance, and help preserve brain tissue.

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19 May 2019 at 2:32 pm

Exercise reduces chronic inflammation

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And why is that important? From an article in Harvard Magazine:

Because the idea that inflammation—constant, low-level, immune-system activation —could be at the root of many noncommunicable diseases is a startling claim, it requires extraordinary proof. Can seemingly unconnected illnesses of the brain, the vasculature, lungs, liver, and joints really share a deep biological link? Evidence has been mounting that these common chronic conditions—including Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, asthma, gout, psoriasis, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and depression among them—are indeed triggered by low-grade, long-term inflammation. But it took that large-scale human clinical trial to dispel any lingering doubt: the immune system’s inflammatory response is killing people by degrees.


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26 April 2019 at 1:19 pm

Daily life: Nordic-walk observations

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Last Saturday I decided to move from my ~6100-step walk to resume my old route of ~7100 steps (after only two days of 6100 steps). I knew I was pushing it, but I was eager to get back to my old route of two big laps and two small laps, with hills. Using, here are the hill profiles.

I do two laps of this:

And then two laps of this:

The first (this is one lap; I do two):






The second (this is one lap; I do two):






The first day I went this route it took 66.4 minutes (7109 steps, 107.1 steps/minute). I took a day off (Sunday) and then did it again on Monday: 67.1 minutes (7142 steps, 106.4 steps/minute)—a little slower and a shorter stride.

So on Tuesday I picked up the pace and did it in 65.0 minutes (7114 steps, 109.4 steps/minute: longer stride and faster pace). I pushed myself that day, and Wednesday I found I just didn’t have the energy for thewalk: I was too worn out. I started the walk, quit pretty quickly, and took a 1.5-hour nap. (I haven’t been taking naps, so this was unusual: I really as tired.)

I decided that I was pushing myself too hard, so today I just went at a comfortable pace: 67.6 minutes (7159 steps, 105.9 steps/minute): shorter steps and a slower cadence. I felt fine after this walk.

I decided that for the rest of April I will do what I did today: not push myself and just walk at a comfortable pace. I figure that after a month I will have built up enough strength and stamina then to pick up the pace again.

This is doubtless more detail that you expected, but I find it interesting how small differences in stride length and cadence make such a noticeable difference in how tired I get and how I feel.

Written by Leisureguy

4 April 2019 at 8:26 pm

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