The power of walking

Jennifer Campbell is this week’s special guest on The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast, the third of a four-part series on fitness and wellness for veterans.

Campbell, an Army veteran, is a certified personal trainer with a master’s degree in nutrition education. She is past commander of the California American Legion’s 24th District and Hollywood Post 43.

With the holiday gathering season upon us, Campbell said, “You’re going to indulge and that’s OK. Allow yourself to do it. Don’t beat yourself up over it. But also understand what those long-term limitations are and make a plan for that.”

Podcast co-host Jeff Daly said he’s spent a Thanksgiving with Jennifer and “it’s a bit different” with the healthier take on traditional dishes. Campbell laughed, adding that you can still make traditional holiday foods, just not packed with butter or sugar.

“You don’t have to load your mashed potatoes up with heavy whipping cream and butter,” said Campbell, who made garlic horseradish mashed potatoes for her recent holiday office party using vegan butter, 2% milk, garlic and horseradish. “They were a hit at the party.”

Campbell added to “make a pact with friends and family to limit that kind of stuff (candy, chocolates, sweets and sugary drinks). Or maybe make a goal for yourself if you have a hard time with willpower. One of the most important things from a fitness aspect that you can do is just move more daily.”

With that, Daly asked what we can do nutrition and fitness wise “to get that running start at the end of the year so we’re not putting all the pressure on January to fix everything.”

Campbell’s answer – walk.  

-          Walk one hour a day or if time is limited, try two half-hour sessions or do four 15-minute sessions.

Eating healthy and exercise “are all things that accumulate and make a big difference, you just have to make the commitment to do it and a lot of times it’s setting those reminders, getting other people involved to motivate and challenge you and remind you. Because a lot of times it’s out of sight out of mind. Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Especially if you do it consistently.”

Campbell writes the monthly fitness column in The American Legion Magazine to educate others on how to improve their health and wellness. She mentioned a few articles that would help this time of year:

Healthy holiday swaps,

Holiday health and fitness guide 

Power of hydration

New Year’s resolutions

Stay healthy during Christmas season

“Biggest takeaway is just consistency, making habits. Making habits over time that create actual lifestyle,” said Campbell, who would like to see The American Legion create a fitness and nutrition app as a benefit of being a member. “If health and wellness are important to us, let’s show (our members) that it is.”  

Among other highlights on the episode: 

• Looking ahead to Saturday’s Army-Navy game, Daly and Ashley Gorbulja discuss the game-day uniforms for the Army and Navy. Army honors the 1st Armored Division, the “Old Ironsides,” in World War II, while the Navy’s NASA-themed uniform honors its astronaut alums.  Gorbulja says compared to the Army’s uniform, the Navy’s “falls short on overall aesthetic … seems a little lazy to me.” Daly said, “The Army’s uniform is gritty, it’s reality, it’s things you can touch and relate to. The Navy’s is sterile like space.” Listen to what they think both uniforms should be. 

• Marine Corps veteran Annika Hutsler filled her prosthetic leg with beer and drank it during a Lakers game. “This is awesome,” Daly said. 

The other three episodes in the fitness and wellness series feature: 

• Nov. 22, Rob Wilkins, an Air Force veteran and life member of The American Legion. Wilkins, who was named to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition in 2018, discusses the importance of healthy living as we age, what he calls National Military Fitness & Wellness Month, which is November, and the importance for all veterans to remain active. Listen to the episode here. 

• Nov. 29, Dr. Dan Bornstein, who has over 20 years of experience in the health and wellness field, is the founding director of the Center for Performance, Readiness, Resiliency and Recovery at The Citadel. He addresses the importance of physical activity as we age, specifically for veterans, and strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as regular movement. Listen to the episode here.

Dec. 13, Dr. Trina Clayeux, who is married to a retired Air Force veteran. She launched her nonprofit organization, Give an Hour, in 2005. Give an Hour addresses the mental health needs of post-9/11 veterans by pairing them with counselors at no cost. 

Check out this week’s podcast and the more than 150 Tango Alpha Lima episodes available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.