You're listening to the live happier, longer podcast, episode 73
Welcome to the live happier, longer podcast. This podcast is equal parts, information, inspiration, education and motivation, all dedicated to increase longevity and improving overall quality of life. I'm your host, Molly Watson, and I'm here to help you build the habits of a happier, longer life. Let's get started.
Well, hello and welcome or welcome back to the live happier longer podcasts, whichever is the case. I am your host Molly Watts and coming to you from a fairly cloudy Oregon. It's been up and down around here lately. Rain one day. Beautiful. The next must be spring, right? Hope. Hope you're all doing all right. How are you fairing during this pandemic? We've got going on, getting a little stir crazy. I definitely have been a little bit stir crazy and I've got a great news for you. One of the best remedies for stir craziness is really simple and it has to do with our guest on the podcast. Today we are going to be talking about walking, talking about walking with wellness coach Carolyn Cohen. She has a wonderful podcast out herself called wellness while walking, and it's literally a 30 minute long podcast. She has a little tone in the middle that tells you it's time to turn around and she talks to you.
She says she's gonna ramble while you amble. I love that. So let's learn a little bit more about why walking is a great exercise and it's why it's part of daily habit. Number one move. We always say moving is number one for a reason. Here is my conversation with Carolyn Cohen. Good morning, Carolyn. Hi, thanks so much for having me. Hey, I am so happy to have you on the podcast. This is, you know, as we've mentioned with each other, this is a very natural, intuitive conversation and discussion because what you talk about and what I talk about definitely go hand in hand. So I'm just thrilled to have you on here and talk to us more about wellness while walking. Thanks so much. Yeah. So I just in the, in the intro talked a little bit about this podcast and about you and how being a health coach, but walk me through a little bit how you got started on this journey and why walking, you know, wellness and walking.
Obviously as I mentioned for us, you know, our daily habit number one is move and we've done full episodes on walking before because a walking initiative through Scotland and just people overlook walking as a Berry, reputable, practical and efficient way of exercising. So I'm totally in on walking, but you tell me a little bit more about your background, where you CA, you know, how this became a passion for you. Great. Well thank you so much. So I'll just back up a little bit and just talk about how I became so interested in health and wellness. And that is because I had a mother who was a health nut ahead of her time and some of what she taught me, I think, you know, well, you'll see in the long run. Yes. so, you know, she tried her best. She was trying to keep my dad alive.
Actually all the men in his family had died of heart disease in their fifties and, and I think weren't healthy, even living leading up to that. So her mission was to you know, keep my dad alive and he is, and fantastic. You know, I was sort of collateral damage, so I came along for the ride and you know, there were, there was a little bit of restriction and I sort of rebelled when I had the opportunity to, so I spent a couple of decades just, you know, not taking care of myself and then my thirties things start to fall apart a little bit. So I spent a lot of my thirties trying to get myself well and there were some, you know, bumps and I had a bunch of kids along the way. But then it really became such an interest to me and I give my mom credit.
She was spot on with almost everything that she thought and felt and she wrote to the local paper and she worked with the school district on, on nutrition and schools in America. That's awesome. Yeah, exactly. And so you know, I came back to that and then I studied to become a health coach cause I realized I did want to share with people what I had found and what had turned my life around really changed my life. And I didn't think I had to be onerous or unpleasant. And actually, you know, I have found the whole journey quite fun. So w in working with so that was about 10 years ago that I became a certified health coach. And then working with people over this time, I've noticed that a lot of people and myself included at times, you know, we put such high expectations on ourselves and a lot of it has to do with what we see and hear other people doing.
Which hasn't been helped by social media. You know, we see like beautiful meals and we see, you know, incredibly, you know you know, a grid of workouts with, you know, iron men and you know, dripping off doing the whole. Exactly. And so I just felt like so many people were kind of, you know, trying to aspire to these things and not getting there and then stopping altogether. And so walking's a really good metaphor for how sometimes it doesn't take as much as you think to take the next step in your wellness journey and excuse the, I seem to talk and walking metaphor. So taking the next step is something that just comes out of my mouth all the time. I love it. So I'm staying true to the, to the mission, I guess. So walking is, I think coming into its own in a big way right now.
There's been, even within walking there's been this hurdle of 10,000 steps and if you feel like doing 10,000 steps, you know, that's fantastic. But that was really, it all came out of marketing. It was like a Japanese company that was naming their pedometer. I think they called it 10,000 steps or something along those lines. And that became kind of the gold standard for a walk. And even with, you know, my, my clients I find like, they're like, well, I didn't get to 10,000 steps and they feel bad about their walk. And really what they're finding is that I guess just in our normal lives, we walk about 2,500 steps. If you can just get another 2,500 steps in, you've actually moved yourself from being, you know, in the most unhealthy tier to a significantly higher tier. It's just doesn't take that much to realize increased health benefits from walking just a little bit more.
I think if people got to 4,400 steps that were found to be like 40% less likely to die in the next four years then people who just got the 2,500 so it's not a huge hurdle. And so I love that, you know, that mindset to then pervade everything where, you know, it doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to eliminate all the sugar and flour in your life. But if you start cooking a little bit more, you know, if you just think about maybe adding in a new vegetable once in a while, those things, they do make a difference. You've talked about compounding, you know, they, they make a huge difference over time. Yeah. And that's, I mean, I, you're preaching to the choir so to speak, but that's, you know, exactly what I really want to always emphasize with people too.
It's those small incremental steps that you take daily that are consistent over time and sustainable over time. You know, I love what you said about your journey and how you've actually enjoyed it. You know, wouldn't it be wonderful to have a healthy life and a life that was healthy that you love? You know, that's the whole, that should be the goal. You should want to live happier, longer, not live more miserably, longer. You know, and you can do it over time. You just have to take small incremental steps and you have to keep going. And that's one of the other reasons that walking is so wonderful because obviously there are a, there's a small percentage of the population that is mobility challenged. But beyond that, you know, the vast majority of us can walk. We can't, not all of us can run. Not all of us are going to be, you know, passionate about weightlifting or, and just like you said, it's, it's challenging for some people to want to dive in and get sweaty.
Like, you know, you cannot do that if you're a working person. It's really challenging to go take, go to a hit workout during lunch, get complete, you know, at least for women, I'll, you know, maybe men are different, I don't know. But for women specifically, I know for myself going, getting totally sweaty, then having to redo my hair retake as you know, all of it and go back to work for the rest of the day is just not practical. But I can certainly go out for a 15 to 20 minute walk at lunchtime Ray, not withstanding here in Oregon. Right. You know and then be back to work without being completely messed up, you know slowly. And the thing that I, that, that we've always said about it too, what I really just like I said is it's sustainable. People in their eighties can get benefits from walking people in their, even in their nineties, you know, my dad's just turned 92, he's still out walking and yeah.
And it's one of the things that you can do to help set yourself up for not losing your mobility in the future, you know, and it's as simple as continually walking, so, yep. Exactly. Preaching to the choir, but, okay. I, sorry I digressed, but back to you are you, and what, so you got to, you got busy, you got trained as a health coach and from the beginning was walking kind of, you know, where did that interest come from? From the walking piece of it? Well, just in terms of finding, you know, I was loving reading all the studies and trying to keep up on everything. That was going on in terms of, you know, making sure that what I was telling my clients was evidence-based. And I started to read more about movement during the day, over the course of the day that we need to be, you know, moving all the time and in those zones, organic movement.
Yeah, exactly. Functional movement. You know, the, the people that they talked to in Okinawa or I carry anywhere else, they're not taking CrossFit. You know what I mean? They're not there. They're living to a hundred more than any other areas of the world. And it's not by, you know, doing the crazy stuff. It's by doing the day to day stuff. And they do walk a lot. They don't walk, you know, for fitness. They walk because it's part of their lives. They want sometimes to socialize, but oftentimes to go to church, to go to the market, take care of sheep, you know what I mean? They're walking from the writer of reasons, but so, and then that's conferring huge benefits to them. Right. So I think that, you know, the beauty of walking is that even if you're already working out, let's say you have a workout routine that you love and, and that's great.
If you give yourself permission after that to be sedentary the rest of the day, you know, you're not taking full advantage of being active. And so walking is one of those things that you can sprinkle in. You can do it as your main workout, but you can also sprinkle it in if you're doing something else. Movement related. And so I just began to fall in love with it because you can use it in so many ways. You can take that 20 minute walk at lunch, you know, and add in a couple of other times when you're moving your body, you're so much better off. They're really finding that, you know, getting up and moving a lot, you know, in a very moderate way. That's really the key. And so I feel like that's so doable for people. And so I was just really excited to get the word out that this is so, so helpful.
And it's, you know, it's just so much a part of who we are. Developmentally as humans, you know, we're, we're meant to walk and so I just think it's such a great basic thing to fall back to not everything has to be so ratcheted up. You know, some somethings can be simple. Yeah, absolutely. That, I actually was thinking about this too. I, I recently, you can see it here on my wrist. I started wearing a Fitbit for a long time. I resisted. I don't know why mostly cause it was so big, but I really decided that after a while I really wanted it. I wanted it first for because sleep for the sleep portion of it too. But what I love about it is what you just said is that it gives me a step goal per hour, which is very moderate, you know, for, it's basically, I think it's based on that, just like normal people take 2,500 steps in a day.
So every now and then it will tell me like, Oh, you have only, you know, 63 more steps in this hour. You know, or whatever. And I find it fun and kind of motivating. I'll be like, Oh shoot, gosh, I've been sitting, you know, especially for somebody like me and I work all the time at a computer during the day, at least right now during this time of covert, I feel like I'm more in front of my computer than I typically am. And so it's a good little reminder to just get up, you know, and do just as you said, to be, to sprinkle it in throughout the day as opposed to, I mean, I do enjoy and I think that there's a number of reasons beyond just the physical walking, getting outside the, you know, the, the just being outside is a wonderful thing.
Although, you know, I walk on my treadmill too, so, right. It can be all kinds of walks and that's another beauty of it, right? Is that there, there, there are all these different ways that you can walk. So yeah, you can even walk in place in front of your eye. I've seen, you know, walking videos on YouTube and right. Where you can just stand in front of your TV and March around if you, you know, I, I think I, I have to pay attention to these things because here in Oregon know we get blessed with some rainy weather and it's just not as much fun for me to go out into the, to the rain and walk around. But you can do it inside as well. And that's, I absolutely, yeah, it's great to have a treadmill and like you said, but you also don't need one.
In fact I talk about this woman Jessica slaughter, who is in her eighties and she took off a tremendous amount of weight walking in her one bedroom apartment. And so it wasn't safe for her to walk outside actually. Yeah. So it's just, you know, you really can make it happen and if you do sprinkle it in, you'll actually will feel better also. But I love the reminder to get up after you've been, you know, sitting in one place for awhile. Actually something I try to do is work for, you know, half an hour, 45 minutes, get up, move around, stretch my body. It feels so good. I also go to the bathroom because I try to drink it every one of those. So it's like, you know, it's, it's kind of habit stacking as you all about. And so that's just mindful for me that even though I might be, you know, getting stuff done and being productive, I also know how important it is to, to get up and move around and try to get a little water on at the same time.
Yeah. And in fact, I just read, I was reading a little article, I can't remember who it was from this week about, cause I am also, as I mentioned, one of the things I'm passionate about too that doesn't really fall into the habits is sleeping. And because there's a lot of research about the, about how important sleep is for so many things, especially cognitive decline and dementia as people age. And so I really, you know, it's a, it's an interest for me. Brain science has been a very become a very passionate interest for me over the course of doing this podcast. But yeah, the what a lot of people have this a lot of us experienced a mid-afternoon kind of drop in our energy from, you know, post lunch, whatever. I think everybody's familiar with that, wanting to kind of get, you get kind of sleepy in the middle of the afternoon.
And what it was saying is a way to, even though it feels counterintuitive cause you feel kind of like you just want to curl up in a little ball is to get up, go outside and take a 10 minute walk and how revitalized you will feel and how much more energetic you will feel just by taking a short walk. Right. And my kids are here, you know, at home now learning and I keep telling them to get up and take a quick walk in between your classes because you learn better too. So you know, it's all these things that just are all tied in together. And I find it, I find it absolutely fascinating. Another thing people always ask me is like, what's the best time to walk? And as I've said, like I think ideally you would actually take those steps and spread them out over the course of the day.
But there is a special benefit to getting out in the morning. I'm not gonna, you know, hold people to it cause they have to know themselves if getting out in the morning is not for you, you know, been walk some other time. Right. But the beauty of getting out in the morning, you know, I love to combine, you know, benefits of things getting, getting out in the morning. First of all, it just puts you in a better mood most of the time, but it does help with your sleep cycle because you're getting bright light into your retinas. You know, your, your brain is, is, is aware now. This is daytime, you know? Right. And so it does have an extra benefit of of kind of keep, you know, having your sleep work for you, which as I agree, it's just one of the most important foundational things you can do for your wellness.
Right? Like I said, I've kind of, that has been one of those things I've learned more and more about as I've researched for the podcast. And it's definitely not something to be overlooked. So, and it does, there is a very direct correlation between 30 minutes of walking daily and better sleep at night. So it's one of those things that's very positive on both sides. So, yeah, right. For sure. Right. So you're, you're going along, you've been a health coach, you do your thing, you're working with people and all of a sudden you decide, I think I'm going to do a podcast.
So tell me about how you decided, cause I love this podcast, I'm going to share this so people will find it. But because basically it's a 30 minute podcast or thereabouts, but a short, sometimes shorter, but it's, and it's designed so that, and then in the middle of it, there's an auditory signal so that people know, okay, it's half way turn around if you, if you go out and back. And that's a lot of times I go out and back. So I appreciated that so much. And I love the fact that you say you keep Amblin, I'm going to keep rambling and hear here. And so I think it's hilarious. Hilarious, but in a good way. But you just kind of talk, I mean, I mean, I loved that part of it. The podcast is not funny. It's motivational and it's inspirational and it's about learning about wellness.
So tell me what you, how you came upon that idea. Well, thank you so much. First of all, it's so it's helpful to hear. I really appreciate it. And so I guess looking back on it, I just felt like so many people, like I said, were falling into the trap of not taking the low hanging fruit and being really happy with that and that progress. And so my goal was to try to reach beyond my client base and just try to convince people to take those few steps and do those little things for themselves that will pay off in the long run. And something I read. I know you're a fan of thinking you know, to our later years based on, you know, your dad and, and your work. I I also like appreciating the wisdom of those who came before because why wouldn't you like to learn from them?
Right? And they have so much to teach us. And, and the way things are going now is that, you know, medical miracles, you know, abound. You know, we've really been good at keeping people alive, but you know, as much as we're facing a chronic infectious disease right now, chronic diseases is a huge burden on our, you know, well our health and our wealth because they're very expensive to treat and they last a long time. And so it felt to me like, you know, we really should think ahead and, you know, we can live longer now, but we want to be able to live longer and be healthier. And what a lot of the elders, you know, I had read about and listened to their wisdom. We're talking about taking care of yourself because even though it's wonderful to be able to live longer, if the last couple of decades are spent, you know, battling a chronic disease, it's not necessarily, you know, the best life we can have.
Right. And so so I just wanted to get the message out to people maybe when they had a chance to kind of thank, you know, am I doing the right thing for my health? And you know, just, you know, your health is so important, not just to you but to the world around you. And hopefully, you know, people that get to, you know, middle aged have a little bit more time on their hands and they can focus a little bit more on themselves, whereas they might not have been able to earlier. You know, raising a family or, you know, trying to, starting a career. And so I really want to encourage people to put themselves on their own list to make their health a priority and just take some, some really easy, you know, first steps that you can find that, you know, they're there gratifying beyond what you could have imagined.
So so that's why I started it. I'm naturally sort of shy, so it was a little bit of a hurdle to, you know, start speaking to what, you know, could have been a bigger audience than just my client base. But I really felt like I couldn't find any messages that, that I could turn my clients to that were consistent to what we were working on. So I hadn't found yours. It would have been a good one because I think, you know, just the, the five for life idea is exactly right. It's just little things like you do regularly. So that's how I came to start the podcast. And you know I love walking and but if you, if you find something else that you love and you move your body in a different way, I mean, like I said, those centenarians that live in the blue zones, you know, a lot of them are doing other things as well, like gardening or you know, building things or what have you.
Any way that you can move your body is great. So I, you know, I'm there hopefully motivating people to take the walk once a week. You know, I released an episode once a week, it's usually about 30 minutes. But I'm hoping obviously that they're doing different kinds of walks the other days, you know, we'll send you another podcast and audio book. Like you say, connecting with somebody, you know, right now that's a little harder, but hopefully, you know, maybe there are ways you can walk in a socially distance way with a friend and connect with somebody. You know, noticing nature around you and appreciating beauty. I mean that has a huge impact on longevity is, you know, being able to be grateful for things, find things, you know, silver linings like in this situation. So there are all kinds of different walks that you can take during the week.
And then I help once a week, you know, people connect and listen to me and I try to, like you said, make it motivating. I do share some information about my self and my past and my journey and hopefully some of it's relatable and funny, some degree. But I'm just excited to have people along on a walk with me. Yeah, well I think it's a great, I, you know, one of the things that I've been doing and I'm just gonna I in for that, those times when they're not listening to you and I do appreciate you coming on once a week. I think that's a great, just a great incentive, a great motivator for people to get out and take that walk. One of the things I've been doing during this pandemic time and I would totally recommend it to people. My walking partner, my longtime walking partner went off and moved to Arizona this last year on me, which is just been tragic at a number of ways because she's down there in the sunshine walking all the time, but regardless.
And of course she's one of my dearest friends, but one of the things we started doing during this pandemic is getting on the phone with each other while we're walking, which is like we are walking together like we've always done over the course of the years. And I figured out how to get my headset in my ears and my little lapel mic works okay. And she can hear me and I can hear her. People probably think I'm crazy cause I'm talking the whole time, but you know, I don't care. And so we walk like we are like, we would be walking, you know, like we walked side by side for the last 20 years. So it's it's been really fun. So if you have a friend in a different state that you don't talk to, you know, or somebody that you even are used to talking to side by side and they're not there right now.
It's my, my suggestion is to go take a walk and get them on the phone and just both you walk together. So I love that. Yeah. It can be such a nice way to connect. It absolutely can. So whether virtually or or in person. I, I think it's, you know, it's, it's fantastic. I think walking meetings are another great thing to be able to have again, a little harder right now. But you know, again, you, you learn more, you're able more, you know, to be receptive to the other what the other person was saying. Believe it or not when you're up and walking. They're just, you know, I love, I love to use the walk in different ways and I think, you know, connecting with your old friend. That sounds fantastic. Yeah. So Carolyn, let's talk about how my listeners can get in contact with you, how they will find you.
The podcast is called, it's called wellness while walking and it's event, yeah. On all those podcast players anywhere. Exactly. Anywhere that you get your podcasts, it should be there. Perfect. And the easiest, I know you're on your, all your social is the same wellness while walking and if they want to talk with you, you work with people whether they're there with you locally or virtually. So if they would like a program put together for getting their own walking habit built, they can connect with you. Exactly. Yes. I love to work with clients who either are ready to make a change that they've been thinking about for awhile or that their doctor has prescribed to them and they just don't know where to begin. So we break it down together and take all the steps together. So I do work virtually, literally and virtually the steps together.
All right, exactly. Can connect with you wellness wall email@example.com correct. Exactly. Yes, that is correct. Carolyn, I really appreciate you coming on the show today and we'll link everything in my show notes. I'm also gonna link, I don't know. Quite a while ago for our newsletter folks, we sent out a some benefits of walking a sheet and I'll share that with you too. But I think it's a good thing to, to link into the show notes for this episode as well. So fantastic. I'd love to share that with my listeners as well. Absolutely. Absolutely. So everyone have a great week.
And Carolyn, thanks so much for being with me. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks for listening to the live happier, longer podcast. If this podcast is helping you and you'd like to go a little deeper, maybe track your progress on your habit building, you should check out our five for life planner. The planner is 13 weeks undated, and you can start literally at any time to create the habits of a happier, longer life. It'll keep you motivated and it'll keep you accountable. Hen, Hey, it's affordable. So go to shop dot five for life.co. That's shop dot five for life.com and enter promo code podcast for a special discount.