ASK JANICE This time of year is the “primo” time of year for getting outside, taking a deep breath and going for a walk. Summer and all its commotions are over and winter is just around the corner.
Time to slow down a bit and be reflective and maybe think about how you want to end 2012 with some new habits and begin 2013 with a healthy bang.
Taking in the colors of autumn has continuously been one of life’s simplest pleasures. Here on the Oregon Coast we have great fall colors, maybe not as they do inland but what we do have some of nature’s other magic. Fall offers particular tones of light and the distinctive way it falls (pun intended), through the trees and across the ocean. The coast also offers an amazing air quality and there is something extraordinary about it this time of year. The combination of these three characters offers an amazing gift of nature that is so accessible and affordable to us. All we have to do is walk out the door.
Beside the pure mental therapy of going for a walk this time of year there are some fantastic health benefits. Wow all that for the low price of $0.
The consequences of walking!
- Walking is a mode of transportation that gets you from one place to another.
- Walking is easy and you can do it alone or with friends.
- You will be healthier mentally and physically.
- Improves your sex life. J
Harvard Research says: “Later in life, walking becomes as much an indicator of health as a promoter of it. After age 65, how fast you walk may predict how long you have to live. Walking, or gait, has long been recognized as a proxy for overall health and has been measured in many studies. Researchers have found a remarkably consistent association between faster walking speed and longer life.” This statement was made because a number of studies done. One study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and published Jan. 5 2011; issue of The Journal of the American Medical association found a remarkably consistent association between faster gait speed and longer life. They calculated that people with gait speeds of 1 meter per second or faster lived longer than would be expected given their age of gender. (1 meter/second is equal to 2.2 miles/hour. That is just a bit slower than the speed needed to cross the street at most timed traffic lights.)
So does this does not mean if you are older and you work on going out there and walking faster you will live longer. One cannot draw that kind of cause-and-effect conclusion from this study. But on the other hand countless studies undisputed conclusions that walking and walking faster results in better health and a longer life.
How about counting steps to make it a bit more interesting and to be sure you are walking you’re way to a longer healthier life? I suggest adding in a pedometer. They can help you set and reach goals, offer motivation and accountability. Just clip it to your waistband and of f you go, you won’t even know its there. You can even use it in your daily life to see how many steps you are taking. Other studies show that distance counts too! In addition people that wear a pedometer walk about 2000 more steps a day, (about a mile), then those that don’t.
- Fewer than 3,500 steps: very sedentary.
- 3,500 to 5,000: sedentary.
- 5,500 to 7,500: somewhat active. You're headed in the right direction but need to step it up.
- 7,500 to 9,000: doing better, but still not meeting the minimum recommendation.
- More than 9,000 steps: active. Stick with it and keep moving.
- 10,000: the minimum goal recommended by health experts.
- If your goal is to lose weight, you probably need to work up to 12,000 or more steps a day.
Forgive me for seguing from the beauty of autumn on the Oregon Coast to research studies to pedometer technology. I am a bit of a nerd in that sense. Never the less this is a great time of year to go out and enjoy the outdoors, and get a jumpstart on the winter. Nature is a great motivator; it wants you out there enjoying it!