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Friday, November 21, 2014
Staying active can be challenging in the winter months and can severely hinder motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I love to run outdoors and explore the Illinois trails in the area. Winter arrived early this year and I'm now looking forward to finding places to ice skate and ski, but on those bitter cold days it's easier to find an indoor track or gym to stay physically active. For individuals trying to stay active and just starting out, I would suggest visiting with a personal trainer at the local gym or fitness center to make workouts personalized and effective. Remember physical activity and exercise are just as important as eating healthy in weight management. Walking is a great way to stay physically active, as well as an effective method to relieve that pesky holiday stress. Having a hard day at work? Try taking a step back and walk a few laps around the office.
Why is Walking Healthy?
The American Heart Association finds walking 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as:
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Colon and Breast Cancer
Research at Harvard Medical School, followed individuals for 11 ½ years, and found walking 5 ½ miles at a casual pace of two miles per hour cut the risk of a cardiovascular event by 31%. Taking a 10 minute walk can increase endorphins in the body that reduce stress, tension, anger, fatigue and confusion. Research has found using a fitness app or a pedometer can assist in increasing motivation to stay active!
What is a Pedometer?
First, a pedometer is an inexpensive, pager sized device typically worn around the belt to measure and record the number of steps taken based on body movement. Pedometers can have different features included; many have number of miles walked and calories burned. Using a pedometer is a great way to increase motivation to be physically active and track physical activity.
*How Many Steps is Equal to a Mile?
On average, 2000-2500 steps are equal to one mile. If looking for more exact amounts, research at Middle Tennessee State University measured stride length based on height. See table below.
Number of Steps in One Mile
What is the Recommendation?
Walking is a great low-impact exercise, and is one of the easiest activities to maintain over long periods of time! The National Institute of Health recommends:
Sedentary adults can safely add 2,000 steps to their day or making a goal of 10,000 steps per day.
When looking at getting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, shoot for 6,000-8,000 steps per hour for at least 30 minute period. This would constitute brisk walking.
Will Walking Help with Weight Management?
Set realistic goals when first starting a walking routine. On average, an individual burns between 85-135 calories per mile. Walking one mile during a lunch break at work, five days a week, will burn approximately 500 calories! If this is done consistently for two months, that's 4000 calories, more than one pound of fat! (3,500 calories=1 lb.)
Location, Location, Location!
Don't feel like bundling up to walk outdoors or there isn't a lot of space in the office? Try a few these local fitness centers. Note: locations often charge a small fee to use the indoor track. Contact locations for further information.
The Christian County YMCA in Taylorville offers a walking program to use their indoor track or gymnasium track anytime the building is open.
Check them out at: http://www.ccymca.org/SitePages/Health.aspx
Jersey Community Hospital Wellness Center in Jerseyville has an indoor walking track to help get those steps!
For more information go to: http://www.jch.org/wellness-center/facility/
Check with the schools on the use of the gymnasiums.
Fusion Fitness in Hillsboro also has an elevated walking track that looks down on the cardio/fitness room, gymnasium, and indoor pool. The track also has exterior windows for a view of the hospital and fusion campus.
For more information go to: http://www.fusion4life.com/page10/page13/page13.html
For more quick nutrition, physical activity, or wellness tips follow me on twitter! Looking for upcoming programs? Feel free to visit our local extension website at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cjmm/
*TIAGO V. BARREIRA, DAVID A. ROWE, and MINSOO KANG, "Parameters of Walking and Jogging in Healthy Young Adults," International Journal of Exercise Science. Vol. 3 (2010) Iss.1.