Walking Challenge

The New York Times had an article recently about what is the single best exercise.  Lots of experts weighed in about what for is best to build endurance and strength.  There are advocates for old fashioned calisthenics, biking and resistance training but many times people don't sustain these types of activities as they get older.  The demands of jobs, adult life, parenthood and just plain aging leads to more sedentary lifestyles for most people.  The best exercise is done throughout life and many believe consistent,  brisk walking is the activity that is sustainable long term.

Walking helps with weight control, mental memory, reduction in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  And it doesn't require any equipment or extra money.  Add hilly inclines and bursts of brisk power walking and you have an almost perfect aerobic activity.

The best exercise is the one you will do regularly.  Dancing counts as does biking, gym workouts, nordic skiing, spinning, swimming and any number of sports.  But many of these require equipment or going someplace or having partners.  Walking can be done by just walking out the door.

If you have an activity that you do regularly at least 4 times a week, great.  But be honest.  Do you really really do it?   If  you are one of the millions of adults who find you are doing less and less (and possibly getting fatter and fatter) each year, I would like to challenge you to start walking.   Brisk walking is considered a 15 minute mile.  Go ahead and challenge yourself and see if you can keep up that pace.  If you can't, no worries, start where you are and stick with it.

The challenge is on for you couch potatoes.  Go here to print a monthly calendar that you can use to schedule your work out and stick with it.  It is a great way to explore your neighborhood, be out in nature and develop an activity that you can do throughout your life.


theYogadr said…
Love it! I've always thought walking's health benefits have been underrated. It's been pooh-poohed by the aerobic junkies for years. I'm happy that it's finally getting the attention and accolades it deserves!
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Sandra said…
Walking is one of the best exercises ever. My coworker and I are taking on the ultimate walking challenge. We will be doing the Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk For the Cure this November.

I absolutely LOVE the way I feel after a good, brisk walk. Tired, but energized! And it's great for my blood sugar.
What about walking about 45 minutes every day but with a dog, mine loves it but we have to stop along the way . I would like a no-stop walk but since its not in the cards what are the benefits ?
Toni Brayer, MD said…
Raymond, I had a patient who lost about 25 lbs after she got a dog...just from walking the dog. You will get benefit from walking for 45 minutes even if not brisk. Is there a way to see how far you actually go? Maybe you can check it on the car odometer. You may be walking faster than you think.
Thanks Dr. Toni , now that I am back we walk at Blackie's pasture and we went half way , I understand that all the way to the end and back it is about 6 miles .....I have done it before ....so I should be able to do it again :-)
Anonymous said…
I'm going to do a 10K (6 miles) on Sat. and thinking about a Half Marathon the following weekend. For fast walking I usually do 15-14 minute mile.
Marie said…
I miss walking up my mountain...! But I have found some basic dance classes that get me moving and grooving and it keeps me upbeat. I still miss the great CA outdoors - even the rainy days!
Walking is one of the best exercises that will help the body physically fit. But there are some who will prefer going to gym rather than walking. But walking is also helpful to burn fats and decreases the percentage of calories.
Geoff Maritz said…
Hi, one of the things that I like about walking is the fact that my body is busy and I don't have to entertain it. This leaves me free to talk to God and lay my concerns before him.
I now have a car and find that I don't spend nearly as much time walking and talking as I used to. Pity. Yes walking is very good for you, especially if you are a hyper active type of person and to top it all, it's free. God bless, Geoff.
Here, I do not actually consider it is likely to have effect.
Harry said…
Thanks for the post, really effective info.
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Rachel Page said…
Distance is the key. No matter how many breaks you take, three miles is three miles.

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