This Wednesday (October 4th) is Walk Maryland Day, and whether you live in Maryland or not, try and get out for a walk and enjoy being outside. According to the American Diabetes Association, walking is probably the safest and least expensive form of physical activity. It can fit into just about everyone's schedule, and only 30 minutes of walking per day, five days a week, can benefit your heart and lungs. If you are trying to lose weight, you'll need 60 minutes of walking per day, along with diet changes.
I love to walk, and I got back into a daily routine as soon as it warmed up this past spring. I have a couple of routes I take right here in my neighborhood, which has some nice hills and beautiful scenery. Like anything, those routes got a little boring after awhile, and I began looking for something else. I was also thinking it would be fun to walk with others. A quick internet search led me to a local organization called the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County. As it turned out, they sponsor several walking groups here in my county but none was close by. With some phone calls and a meeting or two, we established a Westminster walking group, and we began walking together in August. Not all 70 people on the email list show up, but a lot do and it's been fun getting to know new people and becoming healthier as a group.
This Wednesday, groups from all over my county will come together in Westminster and take a walk down Main Street. I can't wait to see how many people will show up! I hope it's a huge crowd and a visible sign to others that we all need to do our part to become more healthy.
That being said, if you are feeling motivated to start your own exercise program, but it's been some time since you were active, the American Medical Association has some advice for you in their book, the Complete Guide to Prevention and Wellness.
- Check with your doctor first.
- Start slowly.
- Set goals- Set short and long term goals, such as building up to 60-75 minutes and 10,000 steps.
- Track your progress. The link above for Walk Maryland has activity logs for you to download. Get a pedometer or Fitbit.
- Think variety. It's good to mix things up to avoid boredom and keep you challenged.
- Be comfortable. Good shoes go a long way (pardon the pun).
- Listen to your body. If you experience pain, stop and get it checked out right away. If you are sick, take a couple of days off.
- Eat a healthy diet. Have your doctor help you develop a diet and exercise program which is right for you.
- Get support. Friends and family are great, but I've really enjoyed getting to know my fellow walkers through Walk Carroll. Things are always better together.
No matter where you live, I hope you'll consider getting out for a walk this Wednesday. We all need to do our part to keep healthy, and walking is a great way to do it. If you live nearby, I'll be looking for you!