I was recently talking with a friend who told me she had strapped on a pedometer while she was mowing the lawn. She walked 3 ½ miles just mowing her lawn. WOW! I had never really thought that the steps it takes to mow the lawn could add up to miles. All those miles pay big dividends when it comes to staying healthy.
The Medical College of Wisconsin and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee did a study and found that trekking on a treadmill burns more calories and increases cardiovascular fitness more than using a stationary bike, stair-climber, rower or ski machine.
A Harvard study of 40,000 female health professionals found walking at any pace for as little as an hour per week reduced the risk of heart disease. Walking longer and faster and more frequently produced even greater benefits.
Walking Fitness Levels to Strive For: (If you can walk at these rates you are doing fabulous!!!)
Under Age 30 Walk a mile in under 13 minutes
30-39 Years Old Walk a mile in 14 minutes
40-49 Years Old Walk a mile in under 15 minutes
50-69 Years Old Walk a mile in 15 minutes70 and Older Walk a mile in 18 minutes
- Walk in a safe environment. If that is not your neighborhood try the mall.
- When walking outside, walk when visibility is good.
- Carry water with you and stay hydrated.
- Carry a cell phone and possibly pepper spray. They make pepper spray specifically for joggers with a strap that can protect you from humans and dogs.
- Don’t have your iPod turned up so you cannot hear noises around you. You need to be actively paying attention to your environment.
Distract yourself: Distractions will keep you moving longer.
- Wear your MP3 and walk through so many songs. If you are not keeping track of time and speed you will just be grooving to the music and then your exercise will be done.
- Watching TV is a great distraction when on the treadmill. Men can tune into sports and not even realize the pace they are setting watching their team trounce the opponent. This would be a great way to alleviate stress when the game is going poorly, since exercise relieves stress.
- Get a walking partner and catch up on the things that have happened to them during the week. This might even work for couples to spend time together, exercise, and share some meaningful conversation.
- Call a friend and gab on the phone. Just remember to keep up the pace.
I think Thomas Jefferson got it right when he said “Walking is the best possible exercise.”