Three Heel Clicks

Healthy

Getting More Activity in Every Day

Fashion, Healthy, Inspiration, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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Back in 2014 I ended up with a knee injury that caused me to wear a brace. It was pretty ecruiciating to walk most days and I found out that I tore my miniscus which is a little muscle on the inside of the knee. Up until that point I was walking every day in heels for work and at least an hour in workout gear after I arrived home. On weekends I tried to clock 4-6 miles on Saturday. But my knee was in the worst pain. It left me from walking all of the time to zero. Soon enough my muscles grew out of shape, stress increased and I entered a lower point in my life.

Being that walking was my number one form of exercise up until that point outside of dance which now I could do neither for a while. It was so hard and frustrating. I think we all go through peaks and valleys of working out and feeling really fit. I’ve been unhealthy and skinny and I’ve also been healthy and fit. I had to start slow after my knee injury and build back up my endurance to walking. I’m sharing this with you all, because whether you are out of shape, overweight or have undergone an injury yourself you can increase your activity little by little everyday to get enough activity in to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The other day I ran into an acquaintance whom saw me walk often to pick my daughter up from after school care. She asked if I still walked as much and I answered “yes, of course.” Now I just walk to different places since my kiddo rides the school bus. I thought back to that time in my life when walking a mile felt so heavy and difficult. It felt like with each step my body was made out of lead. I thought with so many people’s new years resolutions includes getting back into shape or exercising regularly today would be a good time to talk about building endurance by increasing your step count.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

I always have a purse big enough to throw a pair of flats in it. NEVER use the excuse that your shoes are uncomfortable. You can store a pair of flats in your desk for lunch walks or keep them in a larger purse if you are going out for the evening. Recently, I bought this pair and they required ZERO breaking in. Actually, I have a ton of cute flats that are comfortable and stylish for dressy outfits. I’ve rounded up my top used flats and sneakers for you guys below if you are looking for a good pair. Choose a neutral color like blush, white, black, tan or a navy so they go with lots of outfits!

Download a Step Tracking App

Last week I shared about my Favorite Features of the IPhone Watch which uses an activity app to push you to exercise, burn calories and stand throughout the day. Prior to my watch I used both the Apple Health App and Runtastic App to achieve tracking my steps. What I really like about the Runtastic App is how it shows you on a pie chart displaying every month the days you hit less than half of your goal, less than your goal but more than half, and when you hit your goal. It also averages your activity steps every month. I loved using it! Even though I have my watch now, I still reference Steps on my phone when I do not utilize my watch. I think the first step in improving ANYTHING in your life is to begin by tracking progress. Take a picture of today in a typical workout outfit and start monitoring what your body is doing over the next few weeks.

Create the Habit of Walking

Our bodies love knowing what to expect. For the first two-three weeks just make it a point to walk every single day. Maybe that’s for 15 minutes at lunch or when you get off work. Set an alarm to remind you to get up and get moving no matter what. When I worked at a desk I used to walk the first half of my lunch break and the second half I’d eat what I brought for lunch. It worked out perfectly for months. Once I created that habit, I would walk for longer and faster periods of time to burn more calories. So much of exercise is mental (ask any yogi and they will talk about how the alignment of the brain and body is key to holding half of those poses!) For the first few weeks just focus on a walk every day to get into the habit of it. Don’t worry about speed or distance. Set a time of 15-30 minutes and just get moving.

Take the Long Route

Unless I’m in a HUGE hurry I park as far from anything that I can and walk. It may be a trip to Target or meeting up with a friend at dinner but I park at the furthest point from the entrance in the parking lot as possible. If I’m at a shopping center I park at one end and do not move my car until I’ve run all of my errands in that area. Yep, the long route is an easy way to get more steps in daily. Walking takes so little mental effort. You put shoes on and get up to go. It takes me far less time to park at the back and walk inside somewhere than it does to fight traffic finding a close spot. If I’m just grabbing a few things from a grocery store, I walk to it! I am lucky that I live about a half mile from a store but I can take longer routes if I have extra time to pick up a few groceries. I also live within 2 miles of two coffee shops. You better believe I walk to both! Taking that long route gives me a reason to exercise.

When Strapped for Time Set a Timer

Most days I have some sort of a schedule or time constraints therefore I set a time for half of the time I have available to exercise and walk in a single direction. When the timer is up I turn around. For instance, if I am awaiting a friend for lunch and arrive 10 minutes early I set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes and walk down the street. Then, when the timer goes off I turn around and come back. A good rule of thumb is 1,000 steps for 10 minutes if you are going at a moderate pace. All of those little 10 minute increments add up! Another trick is to take an extra lap all the way around the grocery store or even a department store when shopping. We have humongous grocery stores in Texas and most of the year it’s really warm. I take advantage of their air conditioning and add a lap in before I check out.


Take a Walk When Recieving Phone Calls

Whether you decide to pace around your home or go on a strut outside phone calls are an easy way to get more steps in. Plus, you feel more energized when you are engaged and active. I use my walks to catch up with friends, make work calls or even conference calls that don’t require a lot of notes. Again, it’s super easy and only requires you to get up and get moving. Lately, I’ve entered the world of listening to podcasts. A walk is a perfect time to kill two birds with one stone. Go for a walk before work for 15 minutes and listen to a motivating podcast or informational podcast. I’ve been loving the Instagram Husband series! It’s been really insightful and inspirational. You can also learn a new language while walking with a language podcast or app.

Take the Stairs or Walk Up an Escalator

This is probably my favorite tip! I take the stairs up parking garages (yes all five or six flights) or at the airport to get to baggage claim. If I see the option to only take an escalator I walk up or down to stay moving. I also live on the second floor at my apartment building so getting in multiple flights is pretty easy with a dog needing to go out several times a day. Remember you are looking for the long route at all times. Take advantage of stairs and you’ll see you work muscles in your legs you didn’t know you even had.

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Involve the Family

Dogs are a good way to get you out an moving. They are always eager and love to spend time with you. They can easily add a couple thousand steps to your day without you having to give it much thought. There was a time where I would walk my dog while pushing a stroller with my toddler. We’d go for hours stopping at a park to play. I’d bring snacks for the kiddo and a coloring book or her tablet to play with to keep her busy. Now she’s too big for that so we use walks to spend quality time together. I stay off my phone and focus on our conversations. It’s so much like car time. My daughter now walks 4-5 miles with me to grab dinner, go to the grocery store or just make a few laps at the park. Oftentimes, I incentvize her to make the process a positive thing. But really, she enjoys getting to talk more than anything!

The more steps you take, the lighter your body will feel. You can reference your step tracking apps and pictures to keep you motivated and track your progress. Start by just walking and soon you’ll find your body feels so much lighter, you have more energy and you are naturally incorporating more steps into your every day life!

What are some ways you try to get more activity in your day?

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Favorite Features of the Apple Watch

Style, Lifestyle, Healthy, FashionCrystal JacksonComment
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As much as I love technology and worked in the tech field for a decade you may be surprised that I’m not always the first person to jump on the new gadget bandwagon. I’ve found over the years that first editions of most tech devices are overly expensive and come with glitches or kinks to be worked out over time. That’s why when the apple watch debuted a few years ago I wasn’t the first to go out and buy one. I wasn’t really sure why I would need a watch on top of my cell phone. Although I love watches (like this beautiful wood version from JORD), they haven’t been an item I wear everyday.

Let’s fast forward to today. After months of research about the Apple watch, I decided I wanted to get one. Lucky me received it for Christmas this year and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, it was my favorite gift received this year! I’m still getting to know all of the functionality but for today’s post I thought I would share what I already love after using it for just a few weeks.

Effortless Set Up

One of my hesitations for upgrading my cell phone is that it’s such a pain to set up a new gadget. The Apple watch is different. You charge it up, turn it on and it walks you through exactly what to do and how to pair it with your phone. I have zero clue if it can be used with non-Apple products, but if you are an iPhone user it’s completely effortless. Apple has this amazing ability to make things easy. Apple also trains you on new features as they roll out which is another reason to love their products. The easier something is to set up the more motivated I am to immediately put it into good use.

Getting Directions on Your Watch

I oftentimes am not the one driving but the designated navigator. I found that it’s so easy to miss your turn when you are the navigator if you get distracted by multi-tasking. With the apple watch it automatically gives you directional updates and vibrates your wrist when you need to make a change in your route. It’s saved me many times already from missing my next turn (thus, decreasing the stress on the actual driver - haha!) Now I know when my watch notifies me to quickly make a move in the next direction.

Closing those Activity Rings

Tracking my steps was the number one reason I wanted to get an Apple watch. I know there are Fitbits and other pedometers, but I’m one of those people who likes less than more when it comes to gadgets. I figured if I was going to invest in a step tracker it might as well sync with my health app on my cell phone. What I discovered about the Apple watch is it challenges you more and more everyday. It reminds me when I’ve been sitting too long and tells me if I’m behind in the day on hitting my activity goals. It also separates exercise from steps by measuring your heart rate. It’s almost become a game to me to make sure I close all of the rings each day.

Answer Calls Without Having to Pull Your Phone Out

There’s nothing worse than being out and about with your phone tucked away in a pocket or purse when you receive an important call you just don’t want to miss. The watch will allow you to put a call on speaker so you don’t even have to touch your phone! Also, if you don’t want to answer a call you can simply dismiss it using your watch instead of your phone. The best part is, your phone doesn’t duplicate things! If you dismiss a call on your watch it doesn’t tell you that you have a missed call on your phone. The two act in tandem to make things easier!

Relax and Breathe Feature

This was an unexpected feature I’ve grown to enjoy. The breathe feature will randomly remind me to take a full minute and focus on breathing. It uses an expanding and contracting visual design to help you take a moment to relax. Being a person diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder this really helps me slow down throughout the day. I am defintiely one that needs to be reminded to relax and the app is perfect for keeping me on track!

There are a ton of other features that I know I haven’t even explored yet. The ones listed above were immediately active when I started using my watch! I love the silicon pink band and overall aesthetic of the rose gold face of this version. I’ve found it looks great with most of my casual outfits and if I get dressed up I can still wear it under long sleeves. I plan on eventually looking for a dressier band but for now I’ll stick with the classic blush pink hue this one came with!

If you have an Apple watch, what are your favorite features?

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30 Days of Health During the Holidays Recap

Fashion, Healthy, Inspiration, Style, Travel, LifestyleCrystal JacksonComment
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Wow was this a fun segment! I seriously enjoyed getting to share a daily tip with you all on Insta-stories (you can still find the segment on my highlights) and Facebook stories over the month of December. While I too still order late night dessert from UberEats and indulged in my fair share of holiday festivities I made it a point last month to keep my health on track. As a recap, I thought it would be nice to have the 30 Days of Healthy Holidays list all in one place. These are simple tasks you can do at any point during the year. I recommend setting an alarm on your phone so you remember to check this list every morning.

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Here’s a complete list of all 30 Healthy Tasks:

  1. Drink a tall glass of water first thing when you wake up

  2. Meditate for 15 minutes

  3. Take a walk during your lunch break

  4. Pack a lunch or buy a salad

  5. Begin taking a multi vitamin

  6. Cut out sugar for all of today

  7. Turn of all electronics 2 hours before bed

  8. Walk 5,000 steps in one direction in a park or neighborhood, then turn around

  9. Walk 30 minutes after breakfast, lunch and dinner

  10. Stretch before getting out of bed and allow your body to slowly rise

  11. Set an alarm to take three 5-10 minutes break to keep your stress levels down

  12. Try not eating dairy for the next few days

  13. Fill half of your plate with veggies and eat them first

  14. Replace a meal with a smoothie today

  15. Drink a cup of herbal tea this afternoon

  16. Make it a point to get 10,000 steps today

  17. Take a bath to relax with epsom salts to relax muscles

  18. Take 10 minutes to do deep breathing before tackling difficult tasks

  19. Cut out sugar today and replace it with unprocessed fruits and vegetables

  20. Don’t drink more than two cups of coffee or caffeine today

  21. For beverages, only have water today

  22. Add probiotics to your diet for better digestion

  23. Sweat today - run, walk briskly, get your heart rate up

  24. Get outdoors today for an hour

  25. Drink your body weight in water today

  26. Try a new activity like ice skating or golf

  27. Have a cup of chamomile tea before bed to relax

  28. Eat at least three pieces of fruit today

  29. Make sure you get plenty of rest tonight - at least 7-8 hours

  30. Take 15-20 minutes to reflect on which tasks worked best for your health this month!

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I love putting together outfits that allow me to get out and get moving like the one I’m wearing today. Patagonia, Puma and Old Navy continue to be my go to brands for comfortable outdoor friendly clothing. Old Navy makes some of the most affordable and stretchy jeans that don’t feel like you are restricted. I love the rockstar ones I’m wearing here and they come in a variety of colors. I also wear this Patagonia jacket constantly from outdoor walks to camping because it’s water resistant and adds a nice layer of insulation. It’s perfect for cooler days and carries from Fall to Winter to Spring.

What are your favorite outdoor gear items?

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