Friday, December 19, 2008

The Best Distance Mapping Tool On The Web

Gmaps Pedometer
Okay, there is a lot of junk out there on the web. Especially when it comes to walking, running, biking, etc. But I have actually found something good. It is called Gmaps Pedometer. What makes it great? First it uses google maps. Second it is simple to use! I mean simple! If you want to know how far you walk, run or bike, use this tool.

How It Works
When you first go to the site, you type in the address of the starting point. where it says "jump to:". you will notice a "Zoom 12" next to it. change it to 17 by pressing the drop down button and selecting "Zoom:17". In my opinion it gives you the best view. Next, hit the "Start Recording" button. Now simply click on points along your route. It will show you mile marks, and calculate how far you would actually go. It is great and fairly accurate.

Points of Confusion
It took me awhile to figure out how to do it, and I don't see any help menu. You must double click to record a point. There are tow options in the center left. One Says "turn off mile marker" and the other says "Turn off calorie counter." If the line says Turn it "off" then it is on. If you click the link, it turns it off and changes to "Turn on mile marker" or "Turn on Calorie Counter". I think it is backwards, but it might make sense to everyone else. Also, where is says "Draw Map" I selected the "automatically (for cyclists)" and would do so even if I were going to walk or run the course. If you don't, you have to add more point or it will having running through houses. If you do use it, it takes fewer point and automatically follows the road. Use manual if you are going off road.

Things I Don't Like - Elevation Feature
If you select "small" or "large" elevation, the map becomes shorter and a graph appears. Unless I were serious about elevation It doesn't add much. If you want this feature, I would plot the map first and print it, then look at the elevation and print it second.

Things I Don't Like - Calorie Counter
When you turn on the calorie counter it will ask you your weight and then calories burned is calculated and appears bellow that. I have no idea where they get that number from or how the number is calculated. Especially since age, sex, and what exercise your doing, and how long it takes you, changes the amount of calories burned. In my case, I mapped out a course of 1.07 miles and the Gmap Pedometer calculated 170 calories burned. I looked up some formulas, and calculated the calories for running the distance in 15 minutes (what I am actually doing it in right now), and it came out with 147 calories. I also calculated the calories for walking and it came out with 123 calories. So It shoots a little high on the calorie burn, but it looks like a pretty good guide.

Over All
this is a really good walking, running, biking map distance calculate. Simply plot your points and print your map. Google Maps is used by the USA Track and Field to assist officials in measuring road races so I am confident in the distance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

People Were Meant To Walk

Walking and and the Human History
No matter what you believe on the origin of man, one thing is for certain. Until recent history people walked everywhere. Mass migrations across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas have occurred. Towns and cities throughout history have an average distance of five mile. That is what one person can reasonably walk in one day, do work, and walk back. Armies walked to battle, pioneers walk to new homes, workers walked to work, mothers walked to the store, and children walked to school.

Domesticating The Horse
Around 4000 BC humans began to domesticate the horse. Though you could ride a horse, most people used the horse as a work animal. They plowed field, pulled wagons, or moved and lifted heavy objects. Rarely to you ride your horse for transportation.

Mongols Riding the Horse
The great Mongol army of Genghis Khan few road the horse as transportation. The group had soldiers and their families and they walked to combat. Once they arrived near an enemy, the soldiers would mount their horses. As soon as the battle was over, they got off. A few would ride to heard the horses and other farm animals to the next battle.

Hollywood and the Cowboy
In every western I have seen cowboys road horses everywhere. It actually seemed everyone road horses everywhere. Cowboys crossing the plains on unending rides. Horse hitches outside every building. Everyone had a horse.

The Real West and the Horse
Though horses were common, most people walked to town. They would never waste the strength of their horse to go to town. Hitching up a buggy took time also. If you had a buggy, you had a servant that would set it up for you. Even then, you took the buggy to church or to town, and then spent the rest of the day walking around. At the end of the day you took the buggy home. You would still walk to work, to school or to town.

How Far Can A Horse Travel
If you race a horse, it can run almost two miles and then it is to tired to run any farther. If you road a horse at a run, you could reasonably take it 10 miles. This was also the distance used by the pony express to change horses. If you walked a horse it could go 20 to 40 miles. For quick long distance travel the horse was great, but around the home and town. You still walked.

Our Body is Designed to Walk
If you look at the way our bodies are designed you quickly see that walking is the most efficient way for us to travel. You might say "Duh, No Kidding." Though it is obvious, everything behind the design of our body revolves around walking. We burn fat most efficiently when walking. Our legs can take use 10 miles in a day at an easy pace (with a couple of breaks) and you would not feel tired. The way our eyes see allows us focus on an object even when walking at a fast pace.

Why We Don't Walk
Well, someone invented the car and then Ford made them cheep enough for everyone, then the government made roads and freeways every where. Now the store is too far away to walk to. Work is too far away to walk to. School is too far or too dangerous to walk to (though I walked to school, elementary, Junior high, and high school. Even college.) The mall is no longer down the street, the movies are on the other side of town, and we have altered our culture to be about cars. So without a car we are in trouble.

How We can Become A Walking People
First you have to (including me), decide we are going to walk. If it is close enough, walk. My grocery store is a half mile away from my house. Unless I am buying bags of groceries, I walk to the store. Get out your front door and walk with someone. Meet at a park or walkway with friends and walk. When you take kids to the park, don't sit on the benches, walk around the playground. It does all start with deciding to walk.

How Far We Should Walk Every Day
Everything I have read about walking for fitness or walking to loose weight points to one magic number. That number is not a measure of time or miles, but steps. Every person should walk 10,000 steps every day. you are probably thinking "WOW! 10,000 STEPS! ARE YOU HIGH!" Well, I'm not. I put on a pedometer last spring and walked 2000 steps just doing laundry. Walking back and forth between the dirty cloths, the Washer, the dryer, and where I folded cloths, and then putting them away. I walked 2,500 steps just to the store and back. I walked 15,000 steps mowing my lawn (long story).

Here Is The Walking Challenge
I challenge everyone to walk 10,000 steps every day. Even if all you do is walk around the house, walk to the corner and back, or walk around doing house or yard work. You will feel better physically, feel better about yourself, and you will notice that you will loose some weight too. Next post will be about walking and burning calories.

The Prize
Part of the prize is going to be a very nice Omron pedometer. I have one, my wife has one, and they are great. Tell your friends about the contest and have them check out my blog. Post comments about your walking. We want to hear how your doing. Good luck and have fun walking.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Contest - Win a Prize

More on the Contest
So I had a couple of comments and a few emails telling me that I need a picture. That way everyone can see what I look like and can better guess my weight. So in the next two days, I will have a picture.

Once the picture is up, email your guess to

The contest will last until January 15th 2009. All entries must be received before 11:59pm EST of that date, in order to count.

The weight: You must use pounds, also described as lbs, and ounces! You may use decimal points, IE 100.5 pounds.

Who will win? The person that comes closest to the weight wins. If you guess right on, Yeah! If more than one person guesses correct we will have multiple winners. The winners will be contacted by email. Once I get the mailing addresses, I will mail out the prize.

The prize, or prizes, will be announced in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feeling Good Walking and Running

Another Walk and Run
Well, I did it. Another walk and run. I went about 1 mile and a half, in about 18 minutes. It felt really good. Once again I ran 3 minutes and ran 2 1/2 minutes. This will be my additional 10% run and Thursday I will just stick to the 15 minutes. I really don't want to over do it.

So many people have email me that they walk or run for fitness, then stop. They just can't seem to keep up with it. then they ask me how I stay motivated. The first part of motivation desire. you have got to want the results more than the inclination to not go out and walk or run. another part is Hope. Do you have the hope that running or walking will actually help you? do you believe it? Well do. when you believe it and want it. you will get it.

Another reason people have told me they don't keep up with running or walking is because they don't have time. These same people have time to read email, surf the net, play on their wii, watch Monday night football, etc. I would suggest 30 minutes a day, and believe me that's not much. It is essentially 2 Saturday morning cartoons. If nothing else 15 minutes a day! That's it. Hope and Desire
While at PT a saw a number of older people that fell down and hurt themselves. Just from falling down. I know of people that just can't do basic physical activity. Walk to the corner, go up stairs, or do house work, because they have slowly become to weak to do them. The lack of exercise could have been from an injury, an illness, or (the most common) time. The older you get the faster time goes by. I don't want to be that guy that is 70 years old and need help getting out of a chair. Well, no matter what your situation is, it is never to late! I know of a women who took up running at 70.

Getting Started
If you have had an illness or injury that has prevented you from exercise of any kind, I suggest you talk to your doctor and get a referral to a Physical Therapist. Physical Therapy will get you on the right path, at the right pace, designed for you. Some long term injuries may require special medical treatment. I would suggest that you get the treatment you need and get on a physical therapy plan. If it has just been a long time since you have done and fitness program, once again consult your doctor first. Once you have been cleared, do a search on my blog for walking and start a walking program. If you choose to run, ease into running.

You Will Be Surprised
Walking and running will help you feel better physically, feel better about yourself, and get your body moving.

Running Is Not For Me
That's fine. I will post about running later, but there are plenty of things you can do other than running.

Walking Is Not For Me.
Okay, now we have a problem. In a post about running I will also talk about walking. But walking is essential to everything we do. We get out of bed and WALK to the bathroom, WALK to the kitchen, and WALK to the car. Every exercise program must include at least walking.

In the next week, I will post how much I weigh! email me with how much you think I weigh. the closest guesses will win a prize. Email your guess to and get a chance to win something special. i will post the Prize in the next few days. In the mean time I need to get my fat butt in shape.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Last Session In The Pool

Oh, Glorious Day
I am finally done with PT all together. I did my last pool session and it was great. A really good work out. I am not nearly as tired today as I expected especially since I ran and walked yesterday. I may run and walk again tomorrow. We will have to see.

About This Pool
The pool used by the Physical therapy place I go to is called a Hydroworx. Have you heard of swim in place pools? Well this is essentially one of those, plus it has a treadmill in the floor. Plus there is a jet and hose that actually will give you a really good underwater message. I only mention this because they have more features adn are cheeper than other swim in place pools I have seen. Great for rehab or athletes. check them out at

The Challenge
I was actually pretty good during Thanksgiving and did not eat too much. Now I need to keep it up and be good during christmas and New Years. New Years may be easy since my wife is do on New Years eve and I will be in a hospital. Not much free fatty food floating arround there. But I really need to make sure to get my fat butt in shape. I will tel you when I think I'm ready for my first 5k.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My First Real Run On A Real Road

Let's Do Some Running!
Okay so it was walk and then run and then walk some more. There is a loop near my house which is close to a mile all the way arround. At my last PT session, I walked and ran on a treadmill and did 1 mile. So today I got out on the road. I walked 3 minutes and ran 2 1/2 minutes alternatively for 1 mile and a quarter and it took about 15 minutes. It felt good. I was a little sore after but I felt good.

Yes, I stretched before and after. It made a lot of difference and the movement in my right ankle seems to be improving a lot.

Small Incramental Steps
Now I will increase next week by 3 minutes. I will probably add it to the Wednesday walk. So monday will be 15 minutes and Wednesday will be 18 minutes. I will then figure out how I should be increasing the amount of time I run and shorten the amount of time I walk. Then I can get my fat butt in shape.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Final Evaluation?
Well, I had PT today and we did the last evaluation for PT. Anthony took measurements, discussed how much has improved, what problems are still present, and what to do next. As I have mentioned before PT has become more of a Work Out than therapy. That is a good sign I need to start doing things on my own. Mostly I need to get out on the road and run, bike, and get back in the pool and swim. So I have one more scheduled pool PT Friday and one follow-up and I am off.

The Problem
First I still have tremendous ankle problems in my right ankle and much of it is permanent. If I were a professional athlete, my career would be over. But since I'm not, all is good for the most part. Running will get that back into decent shape.

Plan Of Action
I actually ran on a treadmill! Whoo-hoo! a wamping 4.8mph (yes, I know. While in the Marines I could almost walk that fast in full gear.) So I walk for 3 minutes and run for 2 1/2 minutes for a total of 15 minutes, twice a week. The next week I increase this by 10%. Since I am more concerned about time than distance right now, I will increase the next week by 3 minutes, then by 3.3 minutes, then by 4 minutes, and so on until I am at a half an hour for each work out. Then I will reevaluate what I am doing. I will also be decreasing my walking time and increasing my running time. I will keep you posted on how I decide to do that.

What Else?
I need to get back on my bike. I can bike to work, to the store, and other places close by. I still have my gym membership so I will get back in the pool. Last, I still have my Core Performance Book and I will start the basic (highly reduced to start with) workouts.

When Will I Race?
We have our President's Day Freedom Run coming up on February 14th, 2009. I am not sure how much work I am going to have to be doing, but I would like to run it this year. My PT suggested on January first, even if all I did was run walk it, so My goal of February doesn't sound to bad. Now all I have to do is get my fat butt in shape.