Walking Your Way To Better Health and Take the 365/365 Challenge
No This Is Not a Resolution
I don’t believe in resolutions, so I’m not going to shuck and jive with you about one here. Resolutions are short-term and I'm talking here about a lifestyle change.
I also don’t believe in magical elixirs that will allow you to live longer. I don’t believe in those miracle pills that you see on infomercials that promise an added twenty years of quality life. They are many, those elixirs, and they have been the placebos of life for as long as I can remember. Snake oils, rhino tusks, the ground root of the abba-abba plant, all promising to leave you virile and capable of climbing Mt. Everest without an oxygen tank.
There are, however, two things that are agreed upon by practically every health professional in the world. One is to eat right, and the other is to exercise.
ARGGGGHHHHH….did I just say exercise?
Yes, I did, and that is what this challenge is all about. No, I do not want you to commit to climbing Mt. Everest, or even that fifty-foot hill out back of your place. I do, however, want you to commit to walking on a daily basis. To be exact, I want you to commit to walking……
One mile per day for 365 days! That, my friends, is the challenge! I want you to, in effect, walk the width of the state of Florida, but do it over the course of one year. How great will you feel a year from now when you tell your friends at the cocktail party that you walked the entire width of Florida? Wider than the state of Missouri….longer than the state of Iowa….all on foot, and you did it!
I can already hear you spewing forth the first of many excuses: I don’t have the time!
Seriously? To walk a mile it takes between 13-25 minutes depending on your pace and physical fitness. Are you really going to sit there and tell me that you don’t have 25 minutes to devote to better health? Are you really going to tell me that you would prefer to watch Honey Boo Boo rather than improve your health?
May the ghost of Roger Bannister haunt you forever!
Heck, may the ghost of Roger’s overweight Aunt Bertha haunt you forever!
The Facts and Nothing but the Facts
Okay, we are starting out slow, because most medical professionals and health care workers suggest walking 30 minutes each day. However, I like the sound of the 365/365 Challenge, so that’s what we will start with.
Why walk you ask? Seriously, you need to ask that? Well, I could get snippy and explain that the world is getting progressively fatter, but I won’t go that route. How about we talk about obvious benefits:
· Boost blood flow throughout your body
· Boost blood flow to the brain by 15%
· Lower blood pressure by 5%
· Lower heart rate by 5%
· Increase memory programming area in the brain
· Lose 100 calories if walking at 3 mph
· Strengthen bones and muscles
· Reduce body fat
· Reduce chances of heart disease, and other diseases as well
· Give yourself bragging rights around the water cooler at work
And of course there are others, but for now that’s not a bad list to begin with now is it?
Make It Easy on Yourself
Okay, so we have already established that any excuse you might have is so much hogwash. However, there are still certain things you can do that will make walking more enjoyable and easier to do, as if walking outside isn’t enjoyable enough already! Let’s face it, some people need positive strokes or added guidelines to entice them to do that which they should already be doing.
Keep these suggestions in mind as you begin your 365/365 Challenge:
· Wear a pedometer so you can keep track of your progress
· Get a good pair of comfortable shoes; walking is not enjoyable when you are fighting blisters
· Set a comfortable pace; you can always increase the pace once you are in better shape
· Increase your intensity as time goes on; do so by walking up hills, walking with hand or ankle weights, or even increase your distance
· Warm up and cool down for every walk
· Wear loose, comfortable clothing
· Wear protection from sun
· Carry waterproof clothing just in case
· Carry liquids with you
· Walk with a friend for companionship and to fight possible boredom
Do you walk on a regular basis now?
Do you really need statistics to tell you that you need to exercise? Fine, try these:
· 58 million U.S. citizens are overweight
· 78% of Americans are not meeting basic activity level recommendations
· 25% are completely sedentary
· 80% of Type II Diabetes related to obesity
· 70% of Cardiovascular Disease related to obesity
· 30% of gall bladder surgery related to obesity
· 2nd leading preventable cause of death in U.S. is obesity
· $39.3 million in lost productivity due to obesity
· 25% of all white children in U.S. are overweight
· 33% of African American and Hispanic children are overweight
· $130 million in hospital costs related to obesity
· One in four overweight children show early signs of Type II Diabetes
· 60% of obese children under the age of 18 have at least one risk factor for heart disease
How’s that for a bottom line?
Can you do the challenge?
This writer is real big on remembering when; I look at the world today and I have no problem coming up with an example from days gone by that shows the change in society.
I was driving by a neighborhood park this afternoon, and the realization hit me that there were no children playing in the park. Now true, it is winter, but there was no rain and the temperature was 42 degrees F. There was not one child playing outside as a matter of fact, park or otherwise.
I have to tell you, that is so strange to me! When we were kids we were outside constantly no matter the weather. If we weren’t playing baseball we were playing football, and if we didn’t have a ball we would play King of the Mountain or just explore the neighborhood. We were riding bikes and playing at the park and…..and…..and.
So where were the kids today when I drove around? Playing on their computer? Watching television? Playing video games? All of the above?
Come to think of it, where were the adults? Playing on the computer? Watching television? Playing video games? All of the above?
I’m going to call it the way I see it, folks, and if it offends some people then oh well! Today’s modern society is getting lazy, and it is costing us dearly. Lazy bodies make lazy minds, or lazy minds make lazy bodies, and the end result is an epidemic of health issues that are getting worse rather than better.
And the only thing that will change this trend is a commitment on the part of the individual. No government can legislate it; no sermon from the pulpit can spur us into action. Each of us is responsible for our health, so the buck stops on our doorstep!
So what do you say? 365/365….can you commit? Do you want to commit to a better, healthier lifestyle? Would you like to live longer, live happier and enjoy life more?
Think about it while you are chowing down on your stockpiled Twinkies and watching Honey Boo Boo!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)