by Christina Cioci
This campaign for better health is one of the many great initiatives to get people moving. Although it promotes exercise it is different than any other because it is taking something as easy as walking and turning it into a national effort. The Every Body Walk campaign gathers experts and their knowledge and ideas of ways for all people to incorporate walking into their daily routine. Whether male or female, young or old there is no time like the present to get into better shape.
Feeling like you are just too busy? Mark Fenton, author of a new book The Complete Guide to Walking, New and Revised: For Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness offers a walk routine that virtually anyone can abide by. Health.com discussed the scoop on the routine as “interval workouts to give you the most calorie-burn in the least amount of time”. Just a 15 minute walk twice a day for three days a week can keep you at a lower risk of obesity, heart risk and other health related diseases.
Whether you have never exercised or are a regular gym junkie walking will be beneficial with different walking “styles”. Beginners can try light to moderate walking strides and aim for two 15 minutes walks a day. If that is too much try 10 minutes and build to 15 twice a day for three days a week. Another option is to alternate between moderate stride, brisk walking and jogging for 40 seconds each. Always warm up before the brisk walking and cool down after by doing a moderate stride so your body can work up to its fullest potential. Dr. Bob Sallis says that walking just 30 minutes a day will do more than anything else prescribed. “Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.” Dr. Sallis also recommends a healthy diet with walking and no smoking will reduce the risk tremendously.
Many people want to get healthier for their kids or grandchildren. Whatever your motivation, make sure you are also doing it for yourself. If parents teach their children about good health then the cycle will improve. Getting kids outside and moving is important to do at a young age. In 2011, video gaming and sedentary lifestyles for kids is still a battle but with the encouragement of parents at a young age, kids can learn to love the outdoors. If parents are outside doing fun-looking activities then kids will naturally want to join in.
Jeff Alt, an outdoor enthusiast and author asks an important question; how do you get your children to enjoy hiking? Start early and make it fun! This sounds easy enough but Jeff discusses the sedentary life mentioned above. “TV and computer and video game addictions are replacing outdoor playtime. Passive inside entertainment is contributing significantly to the national obesity epidemic. It’s time to get off the couch, America. Get the kids outside!”
This is important advice to all parents. Engaging kids in outdoor activities will benefit them physically, emotionally and socially. Form a group hike or walk for the kids to interact with other children their age. Make a scavenger hunt for the kids and tell them to search outdoors with parent supervision for the desired objects. Try setting a goal on a poster in the kitchen with fun stickers to see what you find and which physical activity they’ve accomplished. Alt gives advice on how to incorporate interest in outdoor activities. Have a computer lover? Set aside time to research future outdoor activities you and your child can visit. Get them excited and allow them to search for activities online that they would like. Got a rainy day? Rent a movie or documentary for kids about outdoor exploring. Show them the wildlife, nature and “cool” things about the world that is just outside their doorstep.
Walking will improve your life whether you are new to the exercise world or a veteran. Try different approaches and do what works best. A healthy, balanced diet along with moderate exercise at least three times a week can build the way to a long, happy life for you and your loved ones.
July 7th was National Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day. So take your daughter, son, parent or friend and take a leisurely walk. It doesn’t matter if you chose to walk in a park, beach, your neighborhood or a school track. Just 30 minutes a day of exercise will keep the risk of obesity away.