Friday, May 28, 2010

The Culture of Walking: A Few Snippets From the Blog of Garth Poorman

Journal Entry, May 24, 2010: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage = $2.78, 178 pennies, 2 nickels, 4 dimes, 2 quarters; Ground Scores = 5.

Journal Entry, May 27, 2010: Weight – 172.2 lbs; Coinage = $2.05, 65 pennies, 5 nickels, 9 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles = 5; Ground Scores = 4.

Journal Entry, May 28, 2010: Weight = 171.6 lbs; Coinage = $2.87, 62 pennies, 4 nickels, 7 dimes, 5 quarters; Glass bottles = 7; Best coinage find = 3 quarters in a newspaper vendor, a “super find.”

Feature Entry: The Culture of Walking: A Few Snippets From the Blog of Garth Poorman

Garth Poorman, (pictured above) at age 36 decided to walk 18 miles a day from West Hebron, NY to New Orleans, LA. He left August 29th, 2009 and arrived in New Orleans January 5th, 2010. His blog aptly named “poor man walking” was so named because he spent each night on the road as a guest of either strangers or slightly known friends of his family. What follows are a few of his comments. His blog address is

** Follow your bliss!

** August 31 My first full day of walking had everything I was hoping for in this journey. It had amazing natural beauty, time for reflection…

** Because of you this trip was a rich tapestry of fun, learning, adventure and, most of all, the shared experience of human kindness.

** He (Forrest Church) challenged me to give myself the Present of Presence.

** Have Fun. Be Honest. Enjoy People.

** 3 pair of Therlos socks

** It is hard to not crack a smile in a sun shower.

** 18 miles a day. leave at 8am and walk for two hours straight. The first hour of that I walk in silence. I love the mornings - the crispness of the air, the sounds of the birds, my little corner of the world awakening - and I always find it invigorating to start the day just appreciating it all.

** At 9am I put on my headphones and fire up a podcast. Usually, its the Sports Guy Bill Simmons.

** After two hours, I always break. I find a bench or a stoop or a spot in the shade and I rest for 20-30 minutes. I take off my shoes and socks and wipe off the perspiration.

** I enjoy the morning. I endure the afternoon.

** It is a little scary to think of how heavily I rely on Google.

** [S]omething I feel is essential about the human spirit. (What he listens to on Ipod, reports about in his blog, or motivates his thinking while on the road)

Hope you enjoyed the excerpts. Happy Memorial Day.

The MoneyWalker

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gardening Versus Walking With An Aside About Dog Walking

Monet's home in Giverny France.

Journal Entry, May 18, 2010: Weight = 173.6 lbs; Coinage = $1.71, 66 pennies (one wheat), 3 nickels, 4 dimes, 2 quarters; Best coinage find = two quarters in a pay phone, a “super find” (.50 or more in one side, does not include car wash finds).

Journal Entry, May 19, 2010: Weight = 171.2 lbs; Coinage = $6.93, 133 pennies, 10 nickels, 26 dimes, 10 quarters (big day at two car washes).

Journal Entry, May 21, 2010: Weight = 172.6 lbs; Coinage = $.80, 55 pennies, 3 nickels, 2 dimes ( what happens when the car wash canisters have been “visited” by the competition).

Journal Entry, May 22, 2010: Weight 173.2 lbs; Coinage = $4.91, 96 pennies, 16 nickels, 24 dimes, 3 quarters (an asphalt nickel, my first).

Feature Entry: Gardening Versus Walking With An Aside About Dog Walking

May 20th (note the gap from journal entries) was gardening day, but not any gardening day, it was outdoor prep day for the huge weekend party for the MoneyWalker’s Bible study groups. We are the hosts. Ms MoneyWalker is agonizingly thorough counterbalanced by the MoneyWalker who is a worriless procrastinator. But two twisted ears notwithstanding, four hours of work later, the yard was stunning.

We attacked the task together and early. Upon entering the front yard, we encountered a dog walker. Her dog had just finished his business on our curb grass garden. Unobserved and without cue from us, the walker reached into her bag and fetched a rubber glove and a plastic bag. In it went. She looked up, we smiled, she smiled, “good mornings” all around, and away she went on a 3 mph pace. Using the caloric expenditure table and estimating her weight at 130 lbs and 40 minute walk duration , she would have burned about 150 calories.

Meanwhile the MoneyWalkers went to work—mowing (no self-propelled mower), edging, hand trimming, weeding, thinning, transplanting, sweeping, pruning, hand watering—and four hours later we called it a day. The only stoppage was two brief G2 Gatorade breaks (G2 is diet). Again using the caloric expenditure table: .032 x 40 minutes x 173 = 225 calories burned. Using the dog walker’s weight of 130, she would have burned 165 calories for forty minutes of gardening. Incidentally, the Consumer’s Report Health Newsletter reported that dog walking is ranked as the number one source of motivation for taking the daily walk.

Measuring caloric expenditure using the table developed by nutrition and exercise physiology scientists is relatively simple. The table lists most daily household tasks in one section and most recreational/sport/fitness exercises in a second. The first factor (see .032 above) is a measure of caloric effort per one minute of exercise. The weighting is based on METS or “metabolic equivalent of tasks.” See Bill Yates, M.D. in his blog, “Brain Posts, Commentary on Research in Clinical Neuroscience” for a good discussion of METs and Wii computer game technology. The formula for measuring caloric expenditure is as follows:


To calculate caloric expenditure, use the table to locate the physical activity and gain the caloric expenditure per minute of exercise for the specific activity. Multiply the caloric number by the number of minutes of the workout. Then multiply the previous product by your weight in pounds. Using the MoneyWalker’s pace of 4 mph and his weight of 173 and a walk of 90 minutes, calculate as follows:

.042 x 90 = 3.78
3.78 x 173 = 653.94 calories burned

Using the table to calculate the MoneyWalker’s caloric expenditure for their gardening labor, Ms. MoneyWalker first: .032 x 200 minutes x 118, Ms MoneyWalker burned 755 calories (note two 20 minute breaks were deducted from the 4 hours workout calculation.) The MoneyWalker ‘s calculation is .032 x 200 x 173 = 1107.2. It is obvious that the more one weights the more calories are burned.

Now the real challenge begins for the MoneyWalker. In seven hours, the party begins. How will the MoneyWalker deal with the temptations of all that wonderful food that will be served? Will he negate all of the effort and benefits of the gardening expenditure? Stay tuned for the answer.


Monday, May 17, 2010

The Obesity Debates, Part II

Journal Entry May 17, 2010: Weight = 173.6 lbs.; Coinage = $5.58, 178 pennies, 11 nickels, 15 dimes, 7 quarters; Glass Bottles = 6; Ground Scores = 4; best coinage find = plentiful canisters at the car wash.

Journal Entry May 16, 2010: Weight = 171.8 lbs.; Coinage = $1.49, 34 pennies, 4 nickels, 2 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 6; Ground Scores = 7 (a nice office chair and a desk lamp all to be recycled); Best coinage find = 2 telephone return coins , a “super find.”

Journal Entry Mary 15, 2010: Weight = 172.0 lbs.; Coinage = $2.03, 38 pennies (one wheat), 2 nickels, 3 dimes, 5 quarters; Glass bottles = 6; Ground scores = 5; Best coinage find = 2 quarters in a parking meter return slot, still another super find, two days in a row—very infrequent.

Feature Entry: The Obesity Debates, Part II

Marc Ambinder, a writer for Atlantic Magazine has defined two causal forces that are considered the leading explanations for the overweight/obesity “epidemic” that is racing through America; a condition that has been defined as contagious by researchers at the U. of Colorado. In the presence of other overeating, we are also inclined to overeat. Thomas Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reminds us of what we intuitively know, the two big causes of obesity is the one/two punch of reduced exercise and increased food consumption.

But the debate is about who is the blame. Caution, the blame forces are politically loaded with financial, psychological, and sociological implications. When discussing this issue, it easy to slip into politically incorrect observations and suggestions. In a parlor party, one group will blame the overweight for not being able to control their urge to overindulge, another will blame agribusiness for over marketing foods that are intentionally designed and dietetically engineered to hook consumers on foods loaded with salt, sugar, and transfat.

Serpentining through both camps is an argument for and against government control. Those for personal freedom argue that is the right of the individual to choose when and what is to be eaten. This group would also be resistant to placing limitations on agribusiness. Another group advocate taking a “tobacco solution” which means heavy state and federal taxes on foods that are linked to obesity. One suggestion is to place a penny tax on each ounce of sugar sweetened soft-drink sold.

And Hollywood actresses are known to fuel the fire. Oprah Winfrey has been forthcoming about her yo-yo fluctuations and her frankness has tended to “normalize the conversation." Jennifer Love Hewitt, Tyra Banks, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson and Kelly Clarkson are stars with documented weight gains and have responded to news reports at times with indifference and defiance at others. Some obesity experts warn that when stars gain weight it sends the message that gaining weight is acceptable; others contend the opposite, that profiling Hollywood stars that have gained weight adds to the national crisis.

What can really address the problem other than self control? Several have advocating one or more of the follow solutions: 1) strategically labeled caloric information on all food sold by fast-food restaurants; 2) restrains and govt. control of food advertising; 3) more govt. research for new treatments for the ow/obese; 4) rewriting insurance policies that penalize the obese or reward the BMI compliers; 5) city banned trans-fats from restaurants; and 6) socially marketing of the importance of exercise and eating healthier both in schools and in the work force.

Other suggestions include 8) increasing subsidies for fruits and vegetables; 9) using zoning restrictions to keep fast-food restaurants away from schools; 10) “removing unhealthy foods from all schools, child-care and health-care facilities, and government institutions”; and 11)“completely eliminating” children’s exposure to food advertising on television.

These recommendations leaves the MoneyWalker wondering, whose responsibility is it to fix behavioral problems that are individual in nature but have financial implications for all of us? Ambinder asks a worthy question: “Would it be fair if the government induced health sanctions to combat obesity? Or should it be the responsibility of individuals and families?”

An on-line discussion group on Pandalous includes several well stated opinions concerning the debate. The MoneyWalker invites you to enter the debate on this site. Let us hear from you.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Obesity Debate

May 9, 2010: Weight = 173.6 lbs; Coinage and Paper Money = $17.36, $11.26 in coins and $6 in paper money, a five and a one.

May 13, 2010:
Weight = 175.0 lbs; Coinage = $3.74.

May 14, 2010: Weight = 173.2; Coinage = $2.03

Feature Entry: Obesity Debate

Marc Ambinder in the Atlantic Magazine has written a fact filled and sobering article about obesity and its cost to the American taxpayer. Obese Americans spend about 42 percent more on health care than so-called healthy weight people. Issues of personal freedom and the fact that obesity and improper diet are highly correlated with chronic diseases are the two factors that are driving the debate concerning obesity and health care cost. Ambinder indicates that chronic diseases account for three out of every four dollars spent on health care We all want our individual freedom, but is it fair that those of us that maintain our weight must help pay for high medical insurance to cover those that don’t?

On one side of the debate is a group that thinks that the obese lack the willpower to avoid overeating and gorging on fattening food. The other group blames the food industrial complex for creating and aggressively marketing so-called “hyperpalatable” foods, ones inexpensively processed that are sugary, or salty, and energy-dense. Some scientists believe that such foods change our brain chemistry with the results that make us overeat.

Should the government get more directly involved? In one sense, this writer is all for personal freedom and believes that overweight people with their self-indulgence and limited willpower are spoiling it for all of us. But another part of me sympathizes with those that believe that Americans are losing the calorie war because of environmental factors such as fast food, sedantary competition with physical activity, and unscrupulous advertising.

We can't all have six-pac abs, but in our next blog we will focus on what causes obesity and what we can do to address the issue. In the mean time hit the streets with a money walking program. With that and a few weights you will look like Joe Six Pac in no time.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Auditing for Blogger’s Fatigue

Journal Entry, May 8, 2010: Weight = 172.4 lbs; Coinage =$6.39 (perhaps the biggest non-paper currency walk in the MoneyWalker’s two year legacy of money walking), 222 pennies (one wheat), 10 nickels, 23 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved and placed in containers = 4; Ground scores = 10 including a very interesting hard back book written for children between 9 and 12, perfect for two of the MoneyWalker’s grandchildren; Best coinage find = more than 100 pennies at the back door of a detailing car wash. Because he knows of my charity, after removing paper and other debris from his vacuum, he dumps the loose change that settles at the bottom outside his back door.

Feature Entry: Auditing for Blogger’s Fatigue

Google’s researchers report that of all the blogs being written today, May 8, 2010, in three months 95% of the blogs will have become inactive and probably “dead.” For those of us that blog beyond the three month barrier, it is inevitable that we will doubt ourselves and our drive to sustain our blog. Thoughts that lead to doubt and impulses to quit are manifestations of Blogger’s Fatigue.

It is easy to speculate the causes for blogger’s fatigue. The research for this blog indicated that lack of traffic is the number one reason people discontinue their blog. Most can’t deal with the great ugly truth of the blog-a-sphere, for the mass majority of bloggers, conversation is nearly always one-way. How lonely! To avoid blog fatigue, the blogger must have a strong sense of “personal worth.” Of course, lack of time, loss of interest, and personal interruptions such as an illness are other reasons for withdrawing. And for those that blog for revenue, they are often disappointed in their return.

For any of us to sustain a blog we must perceive that our blog is successful. Because what is considered successful is relative. Operationally, a successful blog is one that provides sustained personal meaning to the person that is doing the blogging. For those that might be experiencing blogger fatigue and that are considering the discontinuation of their blog, it might be helpful to reflect on your blog. Such reflection might prove to be a Rx for your blog behavior and provide a helpful antidote for blogger’s fatigue.

In the same way that a medical Rx is based upon one or more examinations, we blogger’s must periodically examine our blog’s effectiveness. Blogging is not a simple process. Bloggers need information from feedback provided by followers to feed our will to continue. Without feedback, blogger fatigue will occur. If one’s blog is not being read, we must examine frequency. Infrequent blogging will turn away even the most interested readers. At least one expert believes that bloggers should have some presence two or three times weekly.

As we continue our audit we must consider style. Does our blog reflect our own personal touch, or does it look and read like many other blogs? Our readers want us to think and write in a way that reflects our courage to act with creativity. Notice that the expression “to think outside the box” was not used for the thought above. Since readers become tired of reading clichéd and overworked colloquialisms, our audit must examine writing style.

Also, a blog audit should inspect the blog’s niche. Is it too narrow? Too far-reaching? Who is our intended audience? If we are not getting the desired traffic, perhaps we need to refocus. However, we cannot know our traffic pattern by only using the comment section of our blog. Many people regularly read the MoneyWalker but never comment on line. Others follow the blog but are not listed as “followers.” Still if we are getting little or no extrinsic feedback, we must examine our niche and intended audience as a possible cause.

The motivation to sustain a blog is not the same as the motivation to begin a blog. At the beginning we want to communicate our message to the entire world. Later motivation is an internal one that is more interested in questions as “Have I done my best work?” “Is the information in this blog helping to make the world a better place?” As we audit our blog, the motivation that drives our efforts must be reexamined for relevancy anchored to the blog’s current reality.

Further, is our blog becoming stale? If so we need to seek new ideas. Our readers like novelty, but they also like familiar things presented in novel ways. When repeating simple truths central to the blog’s purpose, we should present our repeated messages in different ways.

In our audit, are we giving each topic or project the attention it deserves? Do we inform our blog with relevant and accurate research? Google and Wikipedia are easy to use, and their sources are usually accurate. If we are not gaining satisfaction from our entries, it is certain that our readers will not find them time worthy either.

Blogging fatigue will occur if we can’t find blog time. Blogging is a hobby and like all hobbies requires a time investment. As we audit, do we appreciate our hobby enough so as to make adequate time? Some report that to find time and to add freshness of thinking, they take on a partner or multiple partners.

Are we conducting adequate amounts of blog-a-sphere networking and socializing? We can’t gain followers if we are not willing to follow. We can’t expect comments to our blog ideas if we aren’t willing to comment about other’s ideas. Finally, how is the tone of our blog? Except for friends and relatives, our readers are neutral judges. They will favor us when we are brave, humble, courageous, committed and loving.

Blogging fatigue will happen to most of us. Conducting a self conducted audit might be the Rx needed to get us back on a track with even more success. I welcome your comments.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fidelity and Walking for Fitness

Journal Entry May 5, 2010: Weight = 171.2 lbs; Coinage = $5.20 135 pennies, 9 nickels, 14 dimes; 8 quarters; Glass bottles = 14; Ground scores = 2; Best coinage find = a super find, 4 quarters and a nickel; a super find is defined as any one find of 50 cents or more in any place but a car wash canister.

Journal Entry May 3, 2010: Weight = 173.4 lbs; Coinage = $2.23, 78 pennies, 2 nickels, 6 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 2; Ground scores = 5 including a very good area 5x7 rug that will be cleaned and recycled in a forthcoming charity yard sale for the Friendship House, a ministry for battered women and their children. Best coinage find = 3 quarters in a newspaper vender, a super find. Note, finding fifty cents or more in one location is very rare, and this find was the second in one week.

Feature Entry: Fidelity and Walking for Fitness

Fitness blogger Hal Higdon drawing from the work of Mark Fenton, editor-at-large for Walking magazine. Higdon has drawn an interesting continuum to explain the reasons why people walk for exercise. On one end is the person that takes leisure walks to enjoy the outdoors and hope that the exercise will improve his/her health. On the other end is the race walker who is a “hip-swinging, elbow-pumping, glory-seeking individual” who trains to win a medal at a local walking race. In the middle is a class of walkers who seek health benefits that comes from an optimum level of physical fitness and weight control. This individual dresses like an athlete, not someone out for a stroll. It is the latter individual that defines the MoneyWalker’s purpose and motivation for walking. To remain true to this purpose, the concept of fidelity is a necessary component.

Fidelity is one of those rare English words capable of heavy lifting, of expressing clearly the obligation of a noble concept. In a sense, when one accepts the responsibility of being a fitness walker, there is an implied fidelity between the walker and the concept. Put in the time and weight control and a healthy fitness level will be forthcoming; slack off and expect weight gain, hypertension, and a host of other negative consequences. A successful fitness walker is one that retains a commitment to basic principles. A major threat to fitness walking fidelity is boredom. To be effective the pattern of frequency, duration, and intensity must be replicated over and over. There seems to be a limit to how walks can be varied to avoid the long term reality of boredom. Our word “hi-fi” comes from fidelity. When a copy of original music is recorded and the replay is of a high quality, it is hi-fi. Similar with the computer age term “wi-fi,” or wireless fidelity.

To better understand the importance of fidelity and fitness walking we may wish to draw upon the writing of Aristotle and his notion of friendship. Aristotle believed that friendship has three components: “Friends must enjoy each other's company, they must be useful to one another, and they must share a common commitment to the good.” Similarly, Cicero believed that friendship is based upon virtue which both creates and preserves friendship. “It depends upon harmony of interest, permanence, and fidelity.”

The ultimate manifestation of fidelity is the friendship of marriage. The pictured Irish Claddah ring is a traditional symbol of fidelity and love. The hands are for friendship, the heart is for love, and the crown is for loyalty.
The fidelity lesson for fitness walkers is to treat the habit in the same way you treat a friend. Feeling bored, take a walk. Busy, take a walk. Have sore muscles, take a walk. Raining outside, take a walk. Burned out, take a walk. Tempted to take a week off, take a walk. Fitness walkers that achieve life-long benefits from walking, treat walking in the same way they as they treat a lifetime friend or better a lifetime mate—with unending fidelity.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cruise Walking

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.2 lbs (2.2 lb slippage since last post, thank Carnival Cruise Lines); Coinage = $5.11, 171 pennies, 16 nickels, 16 dimes, 4 quarters; Glass bottles = 6; Ground scores = 6; Best coinage find = a quarter and dime behind a USA Newspaper stand lost behind a clump of grass; Best ground scores = a discarded designer bed ready to be slightly repaired and recycled.

Journal Entry: Cruise Walking

The MoneyWalkers just completed a five night cruise to the Western Caribbean. The highlight was walking the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula, one of the “new” seven wonders of the world. Of the hundreds of Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza is probably the best in terms of excavation and accessibility. While the officials no longer allow walking up the temple, there still remains ample opportunity for fitness walking along the lengthy walks in the park.

We do not recommend money walking during vacation exercise. Still the habit is strong, but Ms. MoneyWalker found our only coin, a penny on the first day. We do recommend maintaining an active exercise regiment and serious consideration for the importance of food discipline. The Carnival line, like most cruise companies prides itself in the quantity and quality of their food and beverage service. In addition to three formal meals a day, there are non-stop eating opportunities essentially 24-7. On the first day, we took the overview tour of the Triumph, the name of our ocean liner. The host, a funny Brit named “Chicken” indicated that on average, cruise guest averaged 1.5 to 2 lbs weight gain a day. His first stops were all food stations. To his credit, the second stops were the health spas and fitness gym. He also pointed to the jogging/walking track high above the bridge.

Sadly, a majority of the guests were either overweight or absolutely obese. The MoneyWalkers budgeted ample time for daily exercise. My regiment included a one hour daily walk on the fitness track. One mile equaled 11 laps and I logged 44 laps each day. It wasn’t enough; the MoneyWalkers both gained a modest amount of weight during the trip. In addition to the formal exercise and the ample amount of walking required by our shore excursions, we actively practiced portion control and judicious portion selection, often selecting the “spa” menu.

There are many joys inherent in taking a cruise vacation, but the trials and tribulations of a cruise are difficult for people wanting to hold the line on weight control. The buyer must beware.

The MoneyWalker