Around the Park/ After dark. . .
*The blog post title is from Jill Scott’s song A Long Walk. Check the song out, Check the album out, and then continue to binge listen to her for a few hours.*
Today we are talking about walking. Walking? Yes, WALKING!
Walking has been the topic of many conversations, conference calls & convention workshops in my life over the last 12 months. In September 2015, the Surgeon General released his Call to Action which focused on Walking and Walkability. Active Living Research, The CDC, The National Physical Activity Plan, National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity and many other organizations have followed suit and provided infographics, assistance and other information about walking and starting walking programs.
I run hills. I lift. I climb. I play tennis. Everybody knows this, but all these activities can be hard on the body. Walking, on the other hand, provides a multitude of benefits (which I’ll list below) and it is low impact. When I had a full schedule of clients for personal training, walking was always included in the warm up for clients with chronic conditions.
The World Health Organization, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and American Heart Foundation recommend a minimum 10,000 steps per day to improve health and reduce risks of chronic disease. (source)
Why is walking such a hot topic these days?
- Walking is inexpensive. You don’t need any specialized equipment or clothing.
- Lower risk of injury because walking isn’t vigorous and has a low intensity level
- It is highly inclusive [for many disabled individuals] with the assistance of a walking aid or another person.
- For individuals who are sedentary and inactive, walking is a great way to introduce physical activity.
- Walking is physical activity and there are numerous health benefits that are associated with being physically active.
Grab a friend, family member, boo… whoever or grab your MP3 player and start walking. Here are a few guidelines:
- When you walk, if you take a step with your left leg, your right arms swing. This is naturally how you walk, but you *might* start thinking about it and get confused. I probably just made you think about it and now you’re messing up. My bad, folks. Just swing your arms normally, don’t start over thinking it.
- Brisk walking is better than a stroll. If you are using walking as your physical activity, then you should really be working and pumping your arms- not casually strolling around, sniffing flowers and stopping to text.
- Stretch when you’re done.
- 30 minutes a day is ideal, even if you split your time up in 10 minute bouts.
- For higher intensity, add stairs into your walking routine or walking up hills.
There are a ton of resources out here for individuals who want to walk, members of the community who want to increase walkability, if you are interested in the research being done and organizations that have been key in this initiative.
- Every Body Walk! Campaigne aimed at getting American up and active.
2. Step It up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action.
We know that an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity – such as brisk walking – can significantly reduce the risk of health disease and diabetes,” added Dr Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General. “The key is to get started because even a small first effort can make a big difference in improving the personal health of an individual and the public health of the nation.
3. Girl Trek– Pioneer a health movement for African-American women and girls grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership and health advocacy. GirlTrek is a groundbreaking 3-year-old national nonprofit that mobilizes women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through a habit of daily walking.
I hope you do start evaluating your health and finding ways to improve it. Walking is a great option, and I strongly encourage it!