The time was 4:26 and we just finished watching Notre Dame lose to Michigan (tear). The USC game didn’t start until 5, giving us exactly 34 minutes until kickoff against Ohio State. As I sat there on the couch next to my favorite football fan, waiting for the next Saturday game to begin, I thought to myself, “We can sit here for half an hour and channel surf, or we can do something constructive with our limited time.”
I turned to him and asked, “Wanna go for a walk?”
To my surprise and delight he said yes, so the shoes went on and off we went for a stroll around the block. Upon our return, with 4 minutes to spare, I could feel the tingle of blood-flow in my legs, the comfortable throb that lets you know you just did something good for your body, and I sat back in content. Maybe I’ll do this everyday.
According to the latest joint American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine guidelines on physical activity, “all healthy adults ages 18–65 should be getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days of the week.” Among these activities, walking is one of the most highly recommended and you don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership to do it. All it takes is a pair of shoes and you’re on your way to:
- – Reducing the risk of coronary heart disease
- – Improving blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- – Improving blood lipid profile
- – Maintaining body weight and lowering the risk of obesity
- – Enhancing mental well being
- – Reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- – Reducing the risk of breast and colon cancer
- – Reducing the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
The American Heart Association is so convinced that walking is a great way to regain your health, they came up with Start!, a great program that encourages walking. Their website invites you to Start! your walking routine, find paths in your community, meet up with other walkers and even track your progress. There’s also a program to help companies set up “Start! Walking” routes in and around the workplace. With new concerns about health care, this is a great way for companies to cut back on coverage costs while their employees receive a new chance at a healthy lifestyle.
For more information about how you can “Start! walking for a healthier lifestyle,” as well as other ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, visit their website and remember: there is always time to go for a walk.