Healthy Living: Preparing your Mind, Body and Bones for the 3 Day!

Welcome to the first blog of the “Healthy Living: Preparing your Mind, Body and Bones for the 3‑Day!” series. Thanks to the support of Amgen and working in partnership with American Bone Health we are excited to provide you with a special new series of emails, blogs and additional resources that will help prepare you for this life-changing event, as well as year-round health.

Putting Pep in Your 3-Day Step

Special Guest Contributor: Sally Warner, PhD

Walking can be such a mindless activity. But when you embark on a 60-mile walk, you really need to be mindful of your body and support your walk with intention. Here’s how you can improve your walk by training to increase your speed and reduce injury.

The Walking Cycle

Walking is a coordinated effort of the feet, ankles, knees and hips. The cycle of how a person walks is called the gait. There are two phases to the gait cycle:

  1. The Stance: This is the time a foot is on the ground. It makes up 60 percent of the cycle.
  2. The Swing: The motion of the foot off the ground.

During the stance phase, there are four motions that involve the foot:

  1. The heel strikes the ground.
  2. The entire foot contacts the ground.
  3. The heel lifts, placing weight on the ball of the foot.
  4. The big toe helps propel the lift and swing.

The swing phase has two motions:

  1. Acceleration into the swing.
  2. Deceleration into placement of the heel for the next step.

Get Your Feet and Legs Ready

Feet: Think of your feet as your base of support that allows you to have good alignment as you walk. Stand tall and imagine that the heel, the big toe and the little toe form a triangle. Try to feel all three points as you stand. Then practice coming onto the balls of your feet to help improve your balance.

Ankles: Flexibility of the ankles helps with walking. To increase flexibility, slowly point and flex your foot any time you are sitting. Pointing stretches the ligaments on the top of the foot and flexing stretches the Achilles tendon. Then move your foot around in circles to help create ankle flexibility in all directions.

Knees: Build good muscle strength in the quads and hamstrings to help support the knee joint. Cross train with a stationary bike, elliptical machine or by walking up stairs. Wearing proper shoes will also help with your knees.

Hips: Maintain flexibility and strength in your hips to help with balance and motion. Simple stretches like lunge progressions and strengthening exercises like 3-way hip exercises – shown below – can help with the hip flexors and gluteus medius muscles on the sides of your hips and buttox.

Be sure to stretch your muscles as part of every training session.

Get in Gear

Good walking shoes are generally flat but flexible, so your foot rolls forward with each step. They should fit well while leaving enough room for your feet to spread out while walking. Wear socks that are comfortable. Try socks in cotton or other sweat-wicking materials — they will keep your feet drier and help prevent blisters.

Now Let’s Walk!

Walking with good alignment and posture helps you take full breaths, engage your core muscles and use your leg and buttox muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand tall and tighten your abs slightly to help maintain posture.
  • Tuck in your hips to keep from arching your back.
  • Focus ahead on where you are walking.
  • Add an arm motion to balance your leg motion and add to your speed.
  • Lengthen your stride in back to propel yourself forward for power and speed. Walking this way also puts less stress on your joints.
  • Place your front foot closer to the center of your body.
  • Think about keeping your back foot on the ground longer.
  • Give yourself a good push off the back foot to add power to your stride.

Have a friend watch you walk and give you feedback on your posture and stride. As you get used to this new stride, you can take smaller steps and increase your speed. Happy walking!

About Dr. Warner

Dr. Warner is a member of the American Bone Health Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. She is Vice President, Scientific and Medical Services, at PAREXEL Informatics. Dr. Warner’s academic field of study was in the biophysical science of sport and exercise physiology. She received her PhD from the University of Utah and her MA from the University of Connecticut. She writes and teaches courses in the field of musculoskeletal imaging.

 

Five FUNdraising Friday Ways to Celebrate Spring

It’s the first Friday of spring, so that means that all our 3-Dayers should be smiling wide and getting excited for a fun weekend ahead. Hopefully you’ll be spending some of that spring weekend time training and fundraising for the 3-Day. There’s nothing like a sunshiney morning and a free day ahead to remind you of just how much you can get done when you put your mind to it! And we know that all our 3-Dayers are some of the most committed, amazing people out there.

So, let’s make the most of today, this weekend, and this spring! We’ll be covering training, team building and fundraising tips all season long, starting with these Five FUNdraising Friday Ideas:

Get moving (any way you can!)

Start by asking your yoga or pilates teacher, spin instructor, boot camp leader or personal trainer for a donation. Then, move on to the rest of the class! See if you can make an announcement before or after class or keep a donation jar at the gym check-in area.

You can even take it one step further by asking your instructors to host a special outdoor class where the proceeds will go to your 3-Day goal. Imagine starting your Saturday with a relaxing yoga class in the park, or a challenging boot camp on the local high school soccer fields. You’ll be getting your sweat on and earning donations toward your 3-Day goal at the same time!

Save a “pear”

Get a grocery store or local farmer’s market to donate some pears and then set up a table outside with a sign that says, “Save a ‘pear’—make a donation to the 3-Day.”

You’ll make people giggle, and probably get some happy-hearted donations while you’re at it!

Set a springtime challenge

Post it on Facebook. (If you haven’t set up a Facebook Fundraiser yet, now’s the time!) Email it out to your friends and family. Put up a sign in your cubicle. Shout it loud and proud that you will be doing something crazy if your fundraising goal is met before spring is over. Spring officially ends on June 20 so that leaves everyone lots of time to make some big ole’ donations.

Then, go wild with whatever challenge you set for yourself, and make sure to tag us in all the pictures!

Take advantage of tax season

Tax season is no one’s favorite time of year. At least no one we’ve ever met! But, it’s the perfect time to remind people that donations to the 3-Day are tax deductible. Send out emails and fundraising letters reminding your potential donors and asking them to contribute part of their tax refund to a good cause like the 3-Day. They’ll be putting that found money to good use, plus they can deduct it on next year’s return. It’s a win/win.

Stay caffeinated, 3-Day style

Host a get-together at your home or at a local coffee shop. Ask your favorite coffee shop or cafe to donate coffee (and maybe some goodies!), then invite your neighbors and friends to spend an afternoon learning about the 3-Day from you. This can also be used as a team building activity if you invite some potential new 3-Dayers!

Let anyone who attends know they will have a chance to pay tribute to someone affected by breast cancer by being featured on the shirt you wear on the 3-Day. Suggest a donation of $20 (or more!) to be listed. You can also get creative and have them sign pink ribbons to be attached to your shirt, or pink buttons, instead. You’ll have the coolest shirt on the 3-Day!

What are your fundraising plans for the spring? Share them in the comments so we can spread ideas across our 3-Day family!

5 Easy Ways to Get Outside this Spring

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Finally! Spring is here at last! Who’s excited for those warmer days ahead? The approach of spring means the 3-Day Series is coming up quickly so it’s the perfect time get outside and take a new approach to your 3-Day training, team building and fundraising efforts. Here are some fun and easy ways to make the most of the new season.

Take a training walk

This is the most obvious answer. Get outside and take a walk! Whether you’ve officially started using our 3-Day training app to guide your steps, are taking part in local training events, or training on your own time, spring is the time to kick it all into high gear. Warmer weather and more daylight give you even more opportunities to get your steps in.

Take your fundraising into the sun

There are so many ways to fundraise for the 3-Day, but you can get even more creative than usual now that the weather is getting warmer. Here are just a few outdoor fundraising ideas:

  • Advertise while you walk: Ask local companies to sponsor your walk and in return, wear their logo or name on your T-shirt while you train.
  • Work the neighborhood: Walk from house to house throughout your neighborhood to ask for donations. There’s nothing like a face-to-face request!
  • Dog walk for donations: Send out a flyer to your neighborhood offering to dog walk or dog-sit while the owners are out of town. Time with the pups will give you an excuse to get outdoors!

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Give camping a try

Not all our 3-Day camps will be outside this year (say “Hello” to hotel camps!) but that doesn’t mean you all can’t get out and camp under the stars this spring! Grab your friends, family, or 3-Day teammates and have a slumber party camping night in your own backyard. Everyone can bring their own tent, or get a taste of the famous 3-Day Slumber Party tents and get a big tent for everyone to get cozy in together.

Plan a scavenger hunt

This is one of our favorite ways to host a 3-Day team building event! Call your 3-Day teammates and ask them to each bring two new people they think might be interested in the 3-Day. Then use our tips to plan an afternoon of fun that will give everyone just a taste of the excitement, teamwork and support they’ll find on the 3-Day.

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Let the flamingos flock

This is the most fun way to celebrate the new season! Start by buying 10 pink plastic flamingos for lawn decorations. Pick 10 homes in your community to be the “lucky” recipients. Attach note cards to the flamingos’ necks with a phone number and your 3-Day donation information. Let your friends and family know that for a $10 donation, the flamingos can be removed from their yard, but for $15 they will be moved to the lawn of their choice. Then they can spread the flamingo fun to their own friends and family!

Make sure you also place a sign that has cards with your contact name and phone number next to the flamingo for those who drive by and would like to have the flamingos placed in a friend’s yard. That way, they can contact you and donate to your 3-Day goals.

How are you getting outside this spring? Tell us in the comments!