Monday, March 4, 2013

Walking IS Excercise!!!

 So, I am really excited about our "March to Health" month.  As we shared in January, our family has started a family health challenge again this year.  It has been pretty fun.  I will just say, we are all pretty competitive so it helps make the challenge work.  Rachel was our first winner of the year for January, HOORAY!!!  She did great.  The winner for February will be announced in just a couple of days.  We make it simple so anyone can do it, but also with things that will make a difference and can be a challenge.  For instance, exercising 30 min a day, no sweets (including pop), reading 30 minutes, not eating after 8:30 p.m., drinking at least 64 oz/day, eating nutritious meals.  You get a point for each item, for a total of 9 points per day.  So for some, no sweets will be no big deal at all but eating breakfast might be extremely hard.  Each can be accomplished by anyone, but can be a challenge.

  When we did this 2 years ago, my husband did not want to be part of the challenge, but I finally convinced him this round.  He has been debating with me since we started (only in February because of the move) on whether or not walking is exercise or not.  He does not believe anything but running is exercises so I have set out to show him that indeed it is exercise, and good exercise at that!  As I have posted in the past, I had joined "Walk with Walgreen's" sometime last year because they will give me points toward merchandise in their store for something I am already doing, so I started there. 

  1.  The first article I found was called, "Turn Your Walk into a Workout".  It basically talked about how walking is the easiest form of exercise we can do and there are ways to make it more effective and beneficial.  It talks about your target heart zone and staying in that to help you "achieve cardio benefits, burn fat, and become more fit".  The other tips the article gave are:
"1. Walk for a good amount of time. It’s recommended that you walk 10,000 steps or five miles a day, and research shows that just 20 minutes of walking has health benefits.
2. Increase the speed and incline you walk at. Walk up a hill or raise the incline on your treadmill. This will help get your heart rate up and increase the intensity of your walk.
3. Use a heart rate monitor during your walk. A monitor will help you track your heart rate, alert you when you are in the optimal zone and warn you if you’re too high.
4. Use music to stay motivated."
  To read the rest of the article, go to "Turn Your Walk Into a Workout".

2. The next article I found was also from "Walk with Walgreens" it is called, "5 Reasons You Should Be Walking".  The five reasons it gives are:  1. Increase Your Fitness Levels, 2. Lose the Weight, 3. It's Easy, 4. Muscle Tone, and 5. Stress Reduction.  You can read the rest of the article at this link here:  "5 Reasons You Should Be Walking".

  Being a nurse, I could not have felt right without doing a little research from the medical standpoint, so I turned to the one and only webmd!  There were several good articles but I narrowed it down to the following 2.

3.  The first one is called "Heart Disease: Walking for a Healthy Heart".  It had the key points nice and summarized for me on the first page so here they are, "Walking is a form of aerobic exercise and is one of the easiest ways to increase your physical activity and improve your health. Physical activity increases your heart rate, strengthens your heart, and increases blood circulation through your body, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your organs. Exercise also increases your lungs' ability to take in oxygen, lowers blood pressure, helps to reduce body fat, and improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Key points
  • Have a checkup before beginning an exercise program. If you have heart problems, your doctor may want to do tests to find out how much activity your heart can safely handle.
  • Start out slowly at first, with a warm-up in the beginning, a faster pace in the middle, and a cooldown at the end.
  • To stay motivated, walk with friends, coworkers, or pets. Set goals you can reach.
  • Use a pedometer to count your steps. Wear it all day and try to take at least 2,000 more steps a day than you normally do, and gradually increase your steps over time."
  • Try to do at least 2½ hours of moderate exercise a week.1 One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
The rest of the article can be found here:  "Heart Disease: Walking For a Healthy Heart".

4.  The final article is called, "Walking for Exercise, Americans Making Strides".  My favorite part of the article was this little phrase here, "The ideal walk, says Frieden, is a brisk one. "You should get a little winded," he says. 
And the ideal exercise is one that you like doing. "The key concept is to do something you enjoy, to build it into your routine, and to keep doing it throughout your life."   It doesn't clarify who "Frieden" is but it does say that although walking is more popular than it was 5 years ago, most adults are still not getting the amount of exercise recommended by the Federal Health Guidelines.

Hopefully you found these articles somewhat informative and entertaining.  If you have a friend or spouse who likes to argue with you that walking is not exercise or you don't believe it is yourself, maybe these will help convince the unbeliever it truly is!!!



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