Active-Steps-Walk-to-Better-Health

Active Steps: Walk to Better Health

(Photos: Tulane Prevention Research Center staff and students celebrated National Walking Day April 6 with a walking break in downtown New Orleans)

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, that's 30 minutes a day 5 times a week, to prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and many other diseases. The average U.S adult walks only 5,000 steps per day! This means that most Americans lead a sedentary lifestyle putting them at risk of developing a long list of chronic diseases. This risk can be lowered with adequate amounts of physical activity.

Walking is a low impact, low risk exercise that requires almost no equipment except maybe a good pair of walking shoes and an open mind. And although 10,000 is not a magic number it is a great step goal to aim for. In recent years, devices that track steps, such as FitBit, Jawbone, Misfit, and Garmin, have become increasingly popular and can be great ways to stay motivated and informed about daily activity levels. If appropriate, a pedometer can be used to set short term goals, such as increasing the amount of steps taken each day by 1,000 for a week to eventually build up to 10,000 per day.

Try this to increase the amount of steps taken each day:

o Go on an evening stroll with a friend
o Park the car further than you normally would
o Take the dog to the park
o Take a walking break with a coworker

And to add variety or increase the workload:

o Alternate between walking and walking lunges.
o If there are stairs nearby, go up and down a few times.
o Stop and stretch.

When beginning or resuming a walking regimen remember to breathe consciously and deeply while keeping the core engaged and the gaze forward and as the weather gets warmer stay hydrated and wear sunscreen!

By Katherine Ortiz, RD

(Active Steps is a recurring feature that appears regularly in the Tulane PRC's e-newsletters and covers fitness and physical activity tips from Katherine Oritz, a Registered Dietitian, Certified Yoga Teacher, and graduate student at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. If you have any suggestions for Active Steps topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   physical activity , sidewalks , walking , worksite wellness

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