An hour of organized movement (i.e. a workout) several times a week cannot undo the other choices we make outside of our workouts. Many people sit most of the day at work, at home, or in the car. Simply getting out of your chair for a minute every half hour can help reduce the impact of sitting for hours. Components in a balanced Total Health program include but are not limited to: Cardiovascular exercise, Full body strength training, Balance, Flexibility, Mobility, and Restorative activities. It also includes ways to avoid static positions, to move joints through a full range of motion, and to move in multiple dimensions like we do in real life.


In order to build quadriceps strength and improve fitness without putting excessive stress on tentative or already painful knees, you might want to consider adding some backward travel to your training program. Try a few short bouts of walking backward up a gently inclined slope, on a slightly ramped treadmill, or jogging backward to test out how it feels.

Who Might Be a Candidate?

People who may benefit from backward-walking training include anyone who:

  • Is undergoing post-surgical knee joint rehabilitation.
  • Suffers from muscle strains of the hip, groin, hamstrings, or lower back
  • Suffers from lower extremity injuries including sprained ankles, Achilles tears, or shin splints
  • Has tried everything including ibuprofen, ice/heat treatments, complete time off from training, physical therapy, stretching, and more traditional strength training without sufficient results
  • Is looking for a different stimulus or cross-training option
  • Needs to be able to change directions rapidly and occasionally run backward in his or her sport (such as soccer, football, basketball, rugby, or lacrosse)

Some of my clients recently asked for strategies to increase movement during the holidays. They expressed concerns about diminished activity due to numerous video conferences. My own client sessions have become less active for me since I began Zoom sessions. I still demonstrate exercises, but mostly I supervise clients completing their workouts at their homes or coach through struggles while I stand at my treadmill desk screen.

Note the operative words: stand and treadmill desk. Grab every opportunity to stand instead of sit. If you have an adjustable desk and can stand for at least half your work time, great. Build opportunities to walk during work meetings or phone calls. My hiking buddy actually started a conference as we returned to our cars after a recent hike. Increase daily movement however you can.


If you feel stuck with your workouts, or you struggle to make any gains despite herculean efforts, check your overall volume of activity and the quality of your sleep. Rest and recovery play an enormous role in performance as well as in injury recovery. Most adults don’t seem to get enough sleep.

What are some indicators of overtraining? The following behavioral indicators are your body’s way of making further increases in stress volume and performance improvement nearly impossible:

  • Apathy
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Decreased libido
  • Increased thirst or sugar cravings (beyond the norm)
  • Lethargy or sluggishness
  • Loss of ability to concentrate
  • Unexplained irritability

Our bodies are remarkably intelligent. Can you tune into what your body is telling you?

Physical indicators include:

  • Change in resting heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or muscle soreness beyond DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Lymph gland swelling
  • Reduced performance (slowed times, weaker on climbs or lifts),
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Unusual weight fluctuation

None of these is a “sure” indicator. However, if you have several at one time, your body may be asking for rest.



Mindfulness has become a popular practice in yoga and therapies, but it also has its place in the mountains. To be “mindful” means paying complete attention to what’s going on, both inside your head and outside of yourself, and being fully present at the moment. If you are multi-tasking, you are likely not being mindful. Likewise, if you are rushing to get things done or tag the summit and get back to the car, you probably don’t have a good chance of being mindful. The other component of mindfulness is accepting yourself exactly as you are, or treating yourself the way you would treat a good friend. The next time you’re out in the wilderness see if any of these mindfulness tips help bring you back to the present moment.



This may be one of the hardest articles I have written because of my own emotional battle with the scale that dates back to my teenage years. As an adolescent, I loved seeing the number on the scale go down. And I hated the confusion that arose when, despite best efforts, it went up. Well before I understood that weight can fluctuate several pounds from morning to night, I sometimes tortured myself by getting on mine multiple times a day.

Worse, I fell into the judgment trap, sometimes getting knocked flat by a number my developing brain interpreted as “too high”. (According to whom?) After decades of struggle, one day I finally realized it was high time I ditched the scale.

What the Scale Measures

A typical scale measures how much mass your physical body has in earth’s gravity. Nothing more, nothing less. It cannot tell you anything about your intrinsic value, your personality or skills, or how you manage crises in the real world. A digital Tanita scale uses bioelectrical impedance to supply information about body composition, but only if the user is properly hydrated. A recent online article in Forbes estimates that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. So at best, scales provide a snapshot of relative trends rather than absolutes. At worst, they can destroy delicate self-esteem, especially in teens whose bodies are changing hormonally and growing into their adult forms.


You may have just crossed the finish line for a marathon, triathlon, or another long-distance event for which you’ve been training long and hard. Maybe you’re riding a high after your event, or you might even feel beaten up. What is the best way to begin recovering? Let’s take a look at “active recovery” and its uses, benefits, and applications.

Traditionally Defined

Exercise physiology texts refer to “active recovery” as the cool-down or tapering-off phase of a single bout of exercise. Continued movement (i.e. walking after an intense run, or a few light laps in the pool after a race) may help prevent muscles from cramping and stiffening up after intense exercise; furthermore, it helps facilitate the recovery process.

Active aerobic exercise immediately following extreme exertion accelerates lactate removal and also prevents venous pooling or the tendency for blood to pool in the lower extremities if an exerciser stops moving immediately. By continuing to move around gently, the muscles continue to pump blood back up to the heart.

In contrast, “passive recovery” (i.e. lying down, taking a cool shower, or getting a massage immediately after exertion) does not seem to have the same benefits as active recovery and should be included after active recovery or as a separate session altogether. “Active recovery” can also be used in the broader sense, after a periodized training phase and not just a single training session.


Before I share my recent experience with forest bathing, I wish to extend deep gratitude to Chloe Lee, affiliated with Cascadia Forest Therapy. She first introduced me to the practice in March 2021. Chloe has a unique and deeply personal way of extending “Invitations” to enjoy the forest.

Last Tuesday, she invited me to join her on a guided walk in the Arboretum. During our two hours, she asked me several questions about my own practice which I thought would make a good introductory blog post. Any errors herein are mine alone.

What Is Forest Bathing?

Put most simply, forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is the Japanese practice of self-care and mindfulness that involves opening your senses to all the forest has to offer, from noticing movement, seeking tiny objects, experiencing colors in new ways, or finding a place to sit and absorb whatever Mother Nature offers.

If after reading this post you’re interested in learning more, please visit Cascadia Forest Therapy’s article on a “Typical Forest Bathing Session” or scroll down for some wonderful resources I found on my shelf.