Benefits of Walking Every Day

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Health and Wellness / Uncategorized

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We know we’re supposed to exercise. We know its part of a healthy lifestyle… we know. Usually, when we think of exercise, the mind conjures up sky high gym membership costs, hours of our week spent in monotonous reps, and- worst of all- running laps in gym in front of a group of sneering peers. Okay. So maybe its only me … but, honestly, for those of us who may err on the side of couch potato, exercising can be intimidating! Where do you start? How long do you have to exercise? How often? Really? Are you sure? That long? Huh. Isn’t there a cheat code or something?

Well, kind of.

Walking is one of the easiest places to start exercising. Not only is it appropriate for almost every fitness level, the start up cost is a pair of sneakers. Walking is also an effective exercise on multiple levels.

Below are 5 excellent reasons you should take a walk every day.

1. Weight Loss

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According to the CDC, over one third of adults in America are obese. However, walking is an excellent way to build muscle and lose inches. Humans were designed to walk and thus walking is one of the least controversial exercises among health practitioners there is. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to put effort and energy in to walking as an exercise; but fast walking can burn the same amount of calories as jogging. Walking can also reverse the effects of genes that predispose certain people towards obesity. A report by the American Heart Association released in 2012 revealed that walking briskly for an hour a day can cut the effects of obesity causing genes in half!

2. Better Heart Health

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Walking, like any exercise, can reduce your heart rate over time. The key is to walk with intensity and stay within your target heart rate zone (wikiHow has an excellent tutorial on how to calculate your target zones). Make sure and start out slow and then slowly increase your intensity over time and discuss with your primary care physician on how to proceed if you have concerns.

3. Lower Risk of Disease

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Walking has been shown to reduce risk for several chronic diseases (including depression which I will touch on later). Heart disease is one of those chronic diseases. Walking for 150 minutes per week (as per the CDC) has been shown to significantly reduce the heart disease. The risk for certain types of cancers can also be lowered by walking. Walking also lowers blood glucose levels as well as insulin resistance which helps in not only preventing diabetes but treating it as well.

4. Improved Mood and Energy

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You may have come across the word “endorphins” in health class. They’re the “feel-good” chemical that’s released when you eat, make social connections, and (of course) exercise – its the main reason why you are in a better mood and have more energy after a good workout. Endorphins are especially linked to running (see: “runner’s high“), but walking releases endorphins too.

Not only does walking release endorphins, but people have reported an increased feeling of wellbeing from walking while on the walk and for as long as 12 hours afterwards! Walking (among other exercises) is also strongly linked as an aid in fighting depression.

“One study found that by walking just 30 minutes per day, individuals with major depression reported a 40 percent improvement in well‐being and an 85 percent increase in energy levels as opposed to those who did not walk.” – “How Walking Can Improve Your Mood“, Erin Palinski-Wade

5. Increased Creativity

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Finally, walking can give your brain a boost, especially in the areas of memory and creativity. No one is exactly sure how it works, except that a significant number of study participants (over 80%) performed better on a variety of creativity tests. One reason behind the boost in creativity may be that walking distracts the frontal cortex allowing ideas to flow. Another theory is that the general boost in mood that walking gives us causes us to be able to think of ideas and solutions easier.

Remember to always check with a licensed medical professional before starting any exercise program. Not only will it keep you safe, they can also give you wonderful tips to help you to meet your goals! Walking is my absolute favorite ways to exercise! My husband and I try to walk at least two to three miles every morning. What is your favorite way to stay healthy?

10 Reasons Why You Need To Start Your Own Backyard Chicken Flock

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Backyard Farming

1. Fresh Eggs (and Meat)

So, this reason seems fairly obvious and is the reason why many people who have their own flock started in the first place. Fresh eggs, particularly, has been a huge perk in having chickens for our family (our neighborhood zone doesnt allow culling so we don’t get meat from our chickens). The eggs we get from our hens just taste better than store bought, and we know they are fresh as opposed to the grocery eggs which could be three months old.

If you have never tried a fresh egg before you should seriously go to a farmers market and purchase some from a local farmer or see if one of your friends with a backyard flock will give you a few to try. I doubt you will want to go back to the grocery store!

2. Pest Control

Chickens eat ants, fleas, ticks and a great number of other undesireable critters found in your backyard. We live in a desert and our neighbors have complained about having scorpions in their yard (one of our neighbors even has had scorpions trapped in her light fixtures!)- but I’m happy to report that we dont have this problem and I believe part of the reason for this is our chickens. Chickens do a great job of keeping our yard and home pest free without pestacides and other harmful chemicals and is a wonderful perk of owning chickens

3. Teaches Your Kids Responsibility

Okay being compleatly transparent here – the only reason we got chickens is because of our daughter (who LOVES our chickens, by the way). When my daughter was about 16 months old we went to a local Big R where she saw the baby chicks for sale and she spent thirty minutes just looking at them in wonder. When it was time to leave, she cried. My husband was from then on hellbent on getting chickens for her but as a stay at home mom, I was not convinced at all. It just sounded like more work on my part and what did a one year old need with chickens? So after much begging and pleading and convincing, we did end up getting chickens and I’m surprised to say that I never knew how benefical chcikens would be for our girl. She helps us feed and water the chickens, collect eggs and secure the chickens at night. Even as a toddler, she thrives with having ‘chores’ to do and it makes her feel important and helpful to have responsiblity over the chickens. In her worst mood, she is eager to go out with her father in the morning and check on the chickens food and water and to make sure the coop is clean. Not only that she is perfectly aware at (almost) 2 where eggs and chicken meat comes from and the level of care and work it takes for a family to get food.

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4. Self-Sufficiency

Chickens have numerous benefits: from fresh eggs (and meat if you are able to have a rooster and live in an area that will allow you to cull a flock), to pest control, to fertilizer to weed management – our shopping bill and list has been cut drastically thanks to the little fluff-butts in our backyard! We aren’t yet at a closed loop system but we are able to do a lot more with our resources thanks to our chickens and our little family sleeps easier knowing we are a step closer to being environmentally conscious produces rather than consumers.

5. Low Maintenance

Chickens are incredibly self sufficient and autonomous. I like to joke that our house is like a mini zoo, but out of the dog, cat, toddler and husband – the chickens require far less time and attention. They would prefer if I didnt pet them or mess with them at all. They would much rather if I just let them scratch and peck at bugs and let them turn that all into delicious eggs- thankyouverymuch! I’m not saying that they dont need caring for- they do… but once they are let out in the morning, fed and watered, and their coop is clean… they really have no other use for me unless I come bearing gifts of oatmeal or table scraps.

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6. Healthy Lifestyle

As mentioned previously, chickens require a routine and although our morning chicken routine takes a max 10 minutes to complete, it still requires us to get up early and get dressed to let out the chickens. There is also something to be said of being a producer of something rather than a consumer. Something in the act of producing and providing gives your life a certain nobility, meaning and confidence otherwise unacheivable by any other means. It sounds almost silly to think that something as simple and mundane as raising chickens can give your life meaning there really is something to taking an active role in caring for the food you consume. But dont take my word for it… check out the articles here and here.

7. Gardening

Chicken poop is magical fertilizer. Although you have to be careful not to pile too much on one area (it makes the soil too hot), it contains nitrogen and nitrogen is crucial to producing healthy happy plants. As mentioned they also keep the bug population down and eat weeds. They will also help clear the roughage out after your garden is done producing. While I don’t recommend letting the chickens have free range over your garden (they really don’t care if a plant is your prized zucchini plant or a dandelion), they will absolutely eat on any weeds you throw over the garden fence to them. How many animals do you know of eat garden pests, help with weed control, AND fertilize your garden? Every day I’m amazed at how helpful these little fluff butts are.

8. Entertainment

Forget Netflix, these little guys are seriously entertaining and hillarious. Dont believe me? Look up chickens running on youtube. I’ll wait. Did you go? Seriously!! Go look! Okay, you back? Now imagine that like 100% better because they are like that all day long every day and each one has a funny little personality to go with all that.

9. Therapy

There is something calming about caring for something besides yourself. After a stressful day, I often find myself out in the back yard with my flock feeding them oatmeal. Bianca (yes I named them), will feed from my hand and as long as the treats keep coming will allow me to pet her pretty white feathers as long as I dont try to get too fresh and pick her up. Its fun to watch them become more at ease with me as time goes on and theres something healing about that. Chickens also cost less than cats and dogs so it is a good option for people with a backyard who need something to help them deal with isolation. There are even some facilities that have chickens for the residents to care for in nursing homes as well as being used as a form of autism therapy as chickens can help to provide consistancy and routine. Se articles here and here for more information.

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10. Weed Control

Chickens, especially larger flocks will help with weed control. Keep in mind that a chicken doesnt much care if the leafy green they are snacking on is something you consider to be a weed or your prize zucchini plant, the chicken will happily peck at both… so its best to keep them out of the garden until after your growing season is over, but during the late fall through early spring they will love to munch on anything green and growing and it will also help them to get extra nutrients for egg and growing that they wont get from crumble.

Do you own chickens?  Any reasons I left out?  Make sure to comment by clicking the comment button to your left!

Welcome to Chicky Mama!

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Hello and Welcome to Chicky Mama!

This blog is for lovers of life, the outdoors, travel, kids, creativity, and chickens (not necessarily in that order).  Ultimately this blog is about living life to its fullest where you are in life.   I hope to convince you that you don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy your home, your kids or even your backyard.  I hope this blog will inspire you to do the things you want to and feel led to do.  I also hope this blog will equip you with the tools you need to do that.  First, I want to share my background with you.

I worked as a supervisor in leisure travel for almost 7 years.  Although I loved the people I worked with and made decent money, working in the corporate world was never a dream of mine.  In early 2016, my husband and I were surprised and delighted to find out that I was pregnant (after being unable to have children for over 6 years).  It was during this time that my husband was also called into the ministry in Colorado.  This was also wonderful news to us, but difficult news- as this meant having to leave all our wonderful family and friends in Kentucky behind- with a new baby.

We moved to Colorado in the beginning of 2017 and I worked at home managing my team remotely.  Meanwhile, I had hired a sitter to watch my daughter and nursed her on my breaks.  I was incredibly lonely.  I worked long hours at my job and my husband worked even longer hours at the church.  I felt like I never left the house and most of the mom groups in the area met during working hours.  Not only that, but my pregnancy was not an easy one and it left me in a delicate health afterwards and my work life “balance” allowed no room for a healthy lifestyle.  We decided that it was time  for me to make another big change by becoming a stay at home mom.

In fact, today marks my one year anniversary as a stay at home mom!  I have never worked so hard in my entire life but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!  Although some days are harder than others, I do not regret this decision that lead me down this weird, wacky wonderful adventure.

Money is sometimes tight, being a parent is always hard, being away from family (and friends that feel like family) is so difficult-  but I am happier than I ever have been because for the first time since college my husband and I am pursuing things we feel passionate about.

 

 

 

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Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton