My last article was all about the risks of heart disease. Heart disease is this country’s number 1 killer. It is common knowledge that leading a sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of heart disease and stroke. So many people are so enmired in their sedentary lifestyle, however, that even if they did want to break the cycle, they are unsure where to start. One of the first things doctors will say is “get out and walk.” Walking is basic exercise. By exercising for as little as 30 minutes each day you can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
You don’t have to walk miles on the first day; increase your distance with each day you walk. Start out by walking for 15-20 minutes and make the middle half of that time more than a casual walk. Make it brisk, or at least as brisk as you feel you can handle. Each day, add a little bit of time to your walk. In fact, the AHA has a great chart for Beginner Walkers.
April 4, 2012 is National Walking Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA). What makes the timing of this so great is that it gives you a chance to go out and get any athletic gear you may need (good walking shoes are a must!) and time to break-in anything you purchase. It also has great timing in that it is a full 8 weeks before the Denver Heart Walk, which takes place on June 2, 2012, downtown Denver.
Parker has many options for outdoor walking paths. Cherry Creek Trail is very popular for walkers, runners, and bicyclists alike. Walk along Mainstreet. If it’s raining, hit the Parker Fieldhouse and walk along their indoor track (this is also a great option for those with sun-sensitivities). Grab a friend for some company or, if you prefer, grab your mp3 player with upbeat music loaded to keep those legs pumping.
If you’re interested, the AHA is helping communities set up walking clubs. More information on these walking clubs can be found here. Parker does not currently have a walking club set up – perhaps you would be interested in founding one!
Whatever your reasons to get out and walk – be they to get healthy, to be less sedentary, to get out enjoy the beautiful Colorado weather, etc. – just remember to start slowly and work your way up! You can do it! And April 4th is as good a day as any to start!