Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Nordic walking’ Category

Change in walk goals

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I changed my approach to Nordic walking, having decided (and observed) that a more moderate goal results in more frequent walking. The 8000-step, 4.1-mile, 1 hr 10-15 minute goal was achievable, but tiring, and the prospect of the walk did not gladden my heart. When we remember experiences we’ve had, we tend to weight more heavily the things toward the end (see: Peak-End Theory), which is why one should design vacations to end with something special and why performers leave the stage at a climax, with the audience clamoring for more.

So when the day came when I couldn’t walk because of weather, it was easy to skip the next day as well, and before I knew it, a week had passed.

I figured I should not ignore the event, so I decided to cut my goal from 8000 steps to 5000 steps, and I used for my walk route the short-cut toward the end that I had previously used when I felt too tired to finish. That walk turns out to be 56-58 minutes (so far — the time might improve) and 6300-6400 steps. According to, it is 3.3 miles, which is a respectable distance. With the Nordic-walking 20% boost to the normal Cooper aerobic points for that distance and time, I get 6.7 points per day, which for 6 days results in 40.2 points, comfortably above Cooper’s recommended minimum requirement (35 points per week for men, 27 for women, the points accumulated over at least 4 exercise sessions per week and at most 6).

I’ve had a couple of days at the new planned distance, and my internal resistance to the walk is noticeably lessened — it’s a short enough walk to be pleasant, and I don’t hit a point — as I did for the longer distance — of dreading how much farther I have to go. Before I notice it, the walk is done.

Written by Leisureguy

10 September 2021 at 4:13 pm

A Step Ahead of Illness: Walking daily may boost healthy aging

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The Harvard School of Public Health has a post worth considering:

Studies have shown that a regular walking habit can promote weight control, but it may also provide additional health benefits for body and mind as people age.

An Eat This, Not That! article published August 25, 2021 cited studies from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers who found that walking every day may help people live longer lives and stave off depression.

Research led by I-Min Lee, professor in the Department of Epidemiology, found that older women who walked at least 4,400 steps each day had greater longevity than those who walked less.

A separate study linked regular walking to improved mental health. “We saw a 26% decrease in odds for becoming depressed for each major increase in objectively measured physical activity,” first author Karmel Choi, research advisor on resilience at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness, said in the Eat This, Not That! article. “This increase in physical activity is what you might see on your activity tracker if you replaced 15 minutes of sitting with 15 minutes of running, or one hour of sitting with one hour of moderate activity like brisk walking.”

Other benefits that a daily walking habit may provide as people age include reduced risk of dementia,  stroke, and heart disease, and strengthened muscles and bones, according to other researchers cited in the Eat This, Not That! article.

Read the Eat This, Not That! here: What a Daily Walking Habit Does to Your Body After 60, Says Science

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2021 at 3:23 pm

Walking and listening

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I have rediscovered that listening while walking makes the walk easier. Today I walked farther, faster, and longer than yesterday, but instead of feeling tired, I felt invigorated. Of course, by walking six days a week I am naturally increasing strength and energy levels (the training effect Ken Cooper talks about), but still I think listening to the audiobook helped — plus the book (Hunt, Gather, Parent currently, on loan from library) was interesting and I learned things. (It really is a fascinating book.)

I did listen to the Edith Grossman translation of Don Quixote on walks in Monterey. Because the local library has quite a few books in downloadable audio format, I’ll look through those — I already spotted Jane Eyre, and that will be next. Once I run out of library audiobooks, there’s always

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21 August 2021 at 4:42 pm

The week as a foundation for focus

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I recently realized the power of focusing on a week — for example, in my budget planning/tracking method, I now focus on staying with budget just for the current week, and in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits system, the core of planning implementation is the weekly plan. In both systems, my experience has been that the focus on a week works out well.

Note that human short-term memory capacity is about 7 “chunks” of information — the finding is 7 ± 2. It’s interesting to note that our current week is 7 days, though different cultures have different lengths of weeks — and it turns out that the lengths are 7 ± 2 — several cultures (Icelandic, Javanese, and Korean) had a 5-day week, a 6-day week is found in the Akan Calendar, ancient Rome had an 8-day week, traces of a 9-day week can be found in Baltic languages and Welsh. There are a few instances of other week lengths (10 days, for example), but it seems that almost all are 7 ± 2. And the 7-day week has a strong lineage dating back to the ancient Near East and the civilizations that arose there. (See the Wikipedia’s entry “Week” for details.) Perhaps that a week with seven days enables people to more easily keep in mind their plans by day.

In any event, a week-at-a-time focus for accomplishment does seem to work wonders, which means taking larger projects or bigger goals and breaking them down to pieces that fit within a week, and then focus on those pieces that fall into the current week.

This is not to suggest that longer-term goals and deadlines have no place. I started up walking again 30 July, and I decided that I would stick with it — 6 days a week, an extended walk with Nordic walking poles — and take stock of where I was on 31 August. My thought was that after a month’s effort, I should have seen the training effect take hold and find the walk not so taxing. And that does indeed seem to be happening. In this case, my focus is day by day, but with an eye on what the outcome will be after a month’s steady effort.

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19 August 2021 at 2:27 pm

Nordic walking poles do push you along

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I walked to a little local grocery store, For Good Measure. It turns out to be 0.741 miles round trip, and though I felt I was walking briskly enough — certainly as rapidly as my morning walk — my odometer showed a speed of 2.8 mph for this little trip vs. 3.2 mph for my walk this morning. Subjectively, I felt I was walking at the same pace, though I did notice my walk to the store seemed to require more effort. The push on the poles propels one along and lightens the load on the legs.

Update: Today (2021-08-11) I walked downtown, a longer walk, and I could clearly tell that walking without the Nordic walking poles is definitely harder — and, as a result, I walked slower (and became more tired). It’s surprising how much using the poles helps reduce the effort and increase my pace and walking speed.

I went to pick up some San Marzano tomatoes (my haul pictured above) — that’s the variety, but since they are grown locally (just up the road in Saanich), they don’t benefit from the terroir of authentic San Marzano tomatoes, grown in a volcanic topsoil. Still, these are very nice: two-chambered, and thicken well when cooked. (I generally cook tomatoes so the lycopene they contain will become bioavailable.)

I also picked up a few things to make this recipe. I’ll skip the cacao nibs and chocolate wafers, and I’m using unsweetened natural (i.e., not Dutch process) cocoa powder. Update: I’ve made it, and I’ve revised the recipe for next time. Note: The revised recipe is 77 WW points.


• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1 cup raw cashews
• 5 soft dates (preferably Medjool), pitted and chopped
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or use regular unsweetened natural cocoa powder)
• 1/2 cup chia seeds (white or black) – [originally 1/3 cup]
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup – [originally optional]
• 1 cup frozen blueberries or mixed berries – [my addition]

If the dates are hard, soak them in hot water for an hour to soften, then drain before chopping.

Make Ahead: The pudding needs to be chilled for 2-3 hours before serving. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Put into a blender the cashews, dates, vanilla extract, maple syrup, salt, and chia seeds and add 1-1 1/2 cups water. Then puree until very smooth. Add cocoa power and the remaining water and blend to mix thoroughly.

Pour into a glass storage container and mix in the berries. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until set.

Written by Leisureguy

10 August 2021 at 3:26 pm

Back on track with Dr. Ken Cooper’s aerobics target

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I happened to look at a post from some time back, when I was routinely walking a different route at my old apartment. At that time, as I explain in the post, I was getting about 47.5 points of aerobic exercise (using Cooper’s point system), comfortably above his recommended minimum of 35 points a week for men, 27 points a week for women, exercising at least 4 days a week and at most 6.

And in fact my route here is a bit longer — 4.1 miles instead of 3.8 miles — and so my times are a bit longer — around 1 hr 15 min (though times are dropping somewhat as I get in better condition). But with that distance and time, regular walking is 7.2 points, and with the 20% premium that Nordic walking gets, each walk is 8.64 points — and done 6 days a week, that totals to 51.8 points a week. That should do it.

The thistle is very tall and just starting to bloom. I pass it on my walk to For Good Measure, a grocery store that specializes in bulk bins of various foods — beans, grains, nuts, and so on.

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10 August 2021 at 11:20 am

Flowers and a walk

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I’ve found a good route my walk and I’m settling into it. Today’s walk took 1 hr 1 min 14 sec: 6623 steps at a pace of 108.2 steps/min and a total of 3.581 miles, so 3.51 mph. My pace today was quicker and my speed greater than yesterday, but today I walked a slightly shorter distance. (Yesterday I had a detour where the sidewalk was blocked, and that added 340 feet to yesterday’s route.)

I walked by these flowers and was moved to take a photo. And a couple of days ago I posted a photo of a tree that Seek could not identify, so today I took more photos of it at Seek’s direction.

Seek (quoting Wikipedia) tells me this is a Buddleja davidii (spelling variant Buddleia davidii), also called summer lilac, butterfly-bush, or orange eye, and is native to China and Japan. More at the link.

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.

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3 August 2021 at 1:17 pm

First week of resumed walking

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Today wraps up my first week back at walking. I am using my Nordic walking poles — more exercise with no perceptible increase in effort, but more important more enjoyable than walking without them, plus using them greatly improves my walking posture. In addition, using them results in greater stride length and faster pace, so I finish quicker.

My morning walk today was 3617 steps in 33 min 33 seconds, so about 108 steps/minute. According to my odometer app it was 1.86 miles. I picked up additional steps today running some errands — all to the good, but without benefit of the Nordic walking poles.

As I get in better shape, walk will get a little longer. Target is about a one-hour walk, which in the past has been about 3.8 miles.

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30 July 2021 at 6:52 pm

Walkies are coming along

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This morning I had an early walk because the forecast is for a hot day. I did 1.86 miles in 33 min 33 seconds, 3617 steps (so about 108 steps/minute, a good cadence, producing a speed of 3.32 mph — though 5.3 kph sounds better.

What, I wonder, is the internal mechanism that makes some decisions snap into place and lock, while other decisions are loosely held with a lot of play and break free easily? The walking, this time, seems to be one of the locking decisions, at least for now.

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30 July 2021 at 9:26 am

A flower, a tree, a walk

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I took a new route: 3623 steps, just over half an hour. The latter part of the week is forecast to be hot, but I’ll try to get out early to beat the heat.

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28 July 2021 at 1:21 pm

Modest walk, with trees

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Just 3030 steps, but at this point consistency is more important than distance or duration. The two trees at the left have the dooping branches that I seem to like. Bottom right is a stout little tree that when freshly trimmed looks like an ornament. 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. 

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26 July 2021 at 3:18 pm

Short walk

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Too many days spent sitting has greatly lowered my energy reserves, so again I take to the sidewalks with walking poles. 3000 steps — I’m starting slow — and some nice plants along the way.

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.

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25 July 2021 at 1:43 pm

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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