Walk Backward

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I recently shared about the book 52 Ways to Walk. You can check out a review of the book HERE.

Although I’m excited to try out all 52 ways of walking, as suggested in the book, I found myself derailed.

I initially selected, randomly, a walk with others activity. And then the weather turned incredibly hot with temps at or above 100 degrees daily. Excuses, excuses.

Eventually I found a group to walk with and I’ll enjoy that shared activity with them soon. For my first walk from the book, I chose this one: #49 Walk Backward.

And yes…it is exactly what it sounds like!

Walk Backward title meme

Why Walk Backward?

There’s a fun story behind this walking activity.

In 1931 a Texan named Plennie Wingo decided to walk backward around the world. After practicing for six months, Wingo set out from Santa Monica, California with a stout walking stick for balance and tiny mirrors attached to his glasses so that he could see behind him.

Wingo walked backward across the US to Boston, Massachusetts. He sailed from Boston to Germany and continued his backward walk. Although he was jailed in Turkey, Wingo eventually completed a walk of 7,000 miles…all in reverse. He gained recognition as the Guiness record holder for “greatest extent of reverse pedestrianism” and lived to the amazing age of 98. Wingo attributed his good health to regularly walking backward.

The Health Benefits of Walking Backward

It seems that Wingo discovered a truth.

According to recent studies, the best way to improve walking forward is to occasionally walk in reverse. Doing so strengthens the lower body while improving balance and stability.

Plus when we walk backward without using our eyes to see ahead, we learn to rely on something called proprioception, a system of neurons embedded in our joints, muscles and limbs that work with our senses to communicate with our central nervous system and brain.

Researchers speculate that walking backward requires unfamiliar, more complex movements, enhancing proprioception abilities along with balance and perception.

Walking in reverse demands more physically as well as we start on the toes and roll to the heel. (Wingo went through 13 pairs of shoes on his historical walk.) We engage the shin muscles and glutes differently and lengthen out hamstrings.

Backward walking aligns the spine and pelvis, reduces lower back pain, strengthens knee joints and improves stride and gait.

Walk Backward view behind
Walk Backward – my view behind me as I walked

Tips for Walking Backward

Engaging in this activity requires some care. Wingo sprained one ankle and broke the other and he caused a car accident.

For safety, walk in a familiar area that is level and without obstacles. Ask a friend or family member to join you, walking forward and serving as a guide.

Focus on each step, walking slowly and pushing off the toe then rolling to the heel. Let arms swing naturally and keep back straight and head centered.

Keep the walk short if this is your first time walking backward. If you enjoy this activity build up to longer backward walks.

My Experience Walking Backward

I chose my neighborhood for this backward walk. Greg accompanied me as my guide and to offer an arm if I felt unsteady. My neighborhood contains fairly new sidewalks, making a smooth, level surface to walk upon.

Due to the heat, even in the morning hours, we kept the distance short and I didn’t walk backward the whole way. After climbing a hill part way, I turned around and walked in reverse for a while. And then I returned to normal walking for a distance before reversing again.

Immediately I noticed a difference in my lower back and legs. I could feel muscles working in ways I don’t notice when walking normally. Although the distance was just under a mile, I later experienced a bit of soreness in my left leg and foot from the unaccustomed gait. The discomfort quickly disappeared.

Overall, it was a fun and unique experience. And not one person looked at me strangely…well maybe Greg did…and no one ran off the road while driving by due to the unusual sight of a woman walking backward!

To receive the most benefits, I intend to include walking backward as a regular activity.

Walk Backward cindy
Me on number 49 walk backward.

Pick Up Your Copy of 52 Ways to Walk

Is walking an important form of exercise and relaxation for you? Then you would enjoy this book as well. The activities are so varied and the information in each chapter is well presented and motivational.

I appreciate that the book contains a full year of weekly walks. And it inspires me to create other interesting walks as well.

Pick up your copy of 52 Ways to Walk by clicking this LINK. And watch for future posts. I’ll share occasional highlights of some of the walks.


52 Ways to Walk book


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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas

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A couple of months ago, I did the four week Blue Zones Challenge. Find links to those weekly updates at the end of this post. As I completed the last week, I decided to continue, turning the challenge into a lifestyle.

One reason for my decision is the simplicity of this way of eating. I enjoy combining whole foods into meals. And while I love the Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook, and intend to share some of my favorite recipes from it soon, you don’t really need the book to create your own Blue Zones inspired meals. By keeping some basic staples on hand, you too can enjoy this healthy aspect of the lifestyle.

Check out these easy Blue Zones meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas title meme

What is a Blue Zones Lifestyle?

I recently came across the books and studies by Dan Buettner. Working for National Geographic, with a grant from National Institute on Aging, Dan identified and studied the longest lived people on Earth.

These people lived in regions in the world that Dan dubbed the “blue zones”…so named because he circled those areas on the map with a blue marker. And what he discovered were commonalities among those who frequently lived at least a decade longer than other people. Check out the website HERE.

These long lived people make moving naturally an important part of their lives, destress regularly, eat a plant based diet, create supportive social circles and know what their purpose is and live it each day.

The long term benefits of living a Blue Zones lifestyle include:

  • living a longer, healthier life
  • more energy, improved strength and increased health
  • better sleep
  • weight loss and then weight maintenance
  • nurturing supportive relationships
  • discovering purpose
  • creating a better local community
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas travel
It’s easy to eat the Blue Zones way while traveling. Beans and brown rice with sourdough bread.

Easy Blue Zone Meal Ideas

It’s so easy to eat the Blue Zones way. Let these ideas be a springboard for creating your own simple, nutritious meals.

The meals include these staples every day:

  • 1 – 3 servings of 100% whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice
  • 1 cup of legumes such as chickpeas, black beans, red beans, pinto beans, lentils and black eyes peas
  • 2 handfuls of nuts such as walnuts, almonds or cashews
  • 5 -10 servings of fruits and veggies

Avoid sweet drinks and treats, overly salty foods and processed foods.


Breakfast is the largest meal of the day…and the easiest. I alternate between oatmeal with berries, walnuts and chia seeds or beans and rice plus a fruit smoothie most mornings as well.

Some easy ideas:

  • 1/2 cup of brown rice with 1/2 cup of any type of beans, canned or cooked at home
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice with 1/2 cup of cooked lentils
  • 1 cup of oatmeal (gluten free if you are sensitive to it) with strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and chia seeds
  • 1 cup of oatmeal with sliced bananas and a tablespoon of no sugar added organic peanut butter
  • 1 cup of oatmeal with diced cooked apples and walnuts and a drizzle of pure maple syrup
  • blended fruit smoothie with frozen berries, 2 fresh bananas, chia seeds and 1 cup or more of filtered ice water to create desired consistency
  • chia pudding made with coconut milk, walnuts and mixed fresh berries

You can combine brown rice with any legume for breakfast. It is so filling. And combine cooked oats with any type of fruit and/or nuts for a hearty meal.

Easy Blue Zone Meal Ideas beans and rice
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – black beans and rice for breakfast
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas oats
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – oatmeal with berries


Lunch is the next biggest meal of the day. This is the time to bring in veggies and lots of them. You can also add another half cup of beans and a grain such as quinoa or brown rice noodles.

Here are some of my favorite Blue Zones inspired lunches:

  • chopped veggie salad topped with chickpeas
  • veggie bowl with quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and squash…any veggie
  • plain baked potato with mixed veggies, brown rice or beans
  • when it’s an oatmeal for breakfast day, a bowl of brown rice and beans with sliced avocado
  • vegetable soup
  • three…or five…bean chili served over quinoa or brown rice
  • curried chickpeas with brown rice or noodles

Use fresh or dried herbs and spices to flavor beans, rice, veggie bowls and soups.

I love preparing this simple chickpea recipe. Heat a couple of tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan. Add two cups of cooked chickpeas…or one can of chickpeas, drained, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Cook and stir over medium high heat until chickpeas are warmed through and fragrant. Add chickpeas to brown rice, veggie bowls or salads.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas salad
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – chopped salad with cherry tomatoes and turmeric/paprika chickpeas
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas soup
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – veggie soup with lentils and herbs


This meal is the lightest, unless for some reason I had a light lunch. Focus on veggies, fruits, brown rice pastas and quinoa. If I haven’t gotten my cup of beans in, I’ll add beans to the evening meal.

Easy dinner ideas:

  • stir fried veggies with quinoa or brown rice
  • fruit salad
  • chopped veggie salad
  • curried noodles with stir fried veggies
  • roasted veggie plate with sweet potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts
  • brown rice pasta with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and basil
  • brown rice salad with chopped fresh veggies and black olives
  • vegetable soup
  • fresh fruit and veggie plate with sliced avocado
  • sweet potato and black bean stew

Although I keep dinner light, I also use it as a catch up time, to make sure I’ve had all my beans, grains and veggies.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas pasta
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – brown rice pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil for dinner
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas noodle dinner
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas –  raw chopped veggies and cold rice salad with cooked broccoli and cauliflower


I practice afternoon tea. It’s an important break in the day for me. I typically have herbal tea such as peppermint or green tea with a bowl of berries or sliced apples or pears with walnuts or cashews.

If you need a snack during the day, try fruit, cut up veggies, a handful of nuts or a small piece of dark chocolate.

I drink water all day and I sometimes include a cup of hot tea in the mornings or evenings. If I’m hungry after dinner, I’ll have another handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.

During the summer months I snack on sliced watermelon and seasonal fruits such as cherries and peaches.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas tea
The perfect afternoon treat…herbal tea and a bowl of fresh fruit.
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas watermelon
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – watermelon as a snack or a meal

Tips to Make Blue Zones Meals Easy to Prepare

I keep canned and dry beans on hand always, for quick meal prep. Also I cook up batches of brown rice in the instant pot, twice a week, so that I have it ready for breakfasts and quick meals. Containers hold quinoa and dried lentils which only takes a few minutes to cook.

Stock up on staples such as diced tomatoes, brown rice pasta and noodles and frozen and fresh veggies and fruits. As suggested in the Blue Zones Challenge Book, keep a large bowl full of fruit out on the kitchen island or counter, for snacks. Have an assortment of dried herbs and spices in the cabinet for seasoning food.

I buy walnuts and cashews in bulk along with large containers of gluten free oats.

I love knowing I can walk into the kitchen and prepare a healthy meal in minutes. Plus that awareness and well stocked kitchen prevents the “I don’t know what to cook, guess we will grab fast food” dilemma.

Does this post give you ideas for easy ways to prepare Blue Zones inspired meals? I hope so! Now is the perfect time to try these simple meals. Plus the health benefits are amazing.

If you have any questions, ask them in the comments.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas simple meal

Interested in the Blue Zones Four Week Challenge? Check out these posts:

Blue Zones Challenge Week One

Blue Zones Challenge Week Two

Week Three Blue Zones Challenge

Blue Zones Challenge Week Four


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