There are many benefits to leading an active lifestyle. Participation in regular physical activity decreases the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and breast, colon, bladder, kidney, and lung cancer. In addition, an active lifestyle can improve your cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and increase energy. But you don’t have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment to get these benefits. Walking is a great way to increase your physical activity.
Why walking? Walking is one of the best types of physical activities because it is accessible to almost everyone, doesn’t require specific skills or equipment, is inexpensive, can be done in a variety of settings (in your neighborhood, at the mall, around a track), and can be performed at any chosen intensity.
How to get started
- Start slow and easy. If you haven’t gone for a walk in a while, walk 10 minutes to start.
- Pay attention to your posture. Walk with your head lifted, eyes forward, and tummy pulled in.
- Focus on breathing. If you can’t talk during your walks, you are trying to do too much. Slow down and take a few deep breaths. If you can sing, you are doing too little. Pick up your pace a bit.
- Bring water and wear a hat on sunny days.
- Wear a comfortable pair of gym shoes. If your shoes are new, break them in before starting your walk.
- Slowly increase the pace, distance, and/or frequency of your walks.
- Set short-term and long-term goals. If you currently don’t have a walking routine, try setting a short-term goal of 10–15 minutes of walking 4–5 times a week. After you have met this goal for a few weeks, gradually increase the time and frequency of your walks.
- Set a long-term goal of walking 30-60 minutes, 5-7 days a week.
- Add your walks into your calendar or to-do list. This helps make your walks part of your daily routine instead of an extracurricular activity.
Tips to add walking into every day
- Park farther away from your place of work, the grocery store, the mall entrance, etc.
- Walk during your lunch break.
- Instead of having coffee with friends, take a walk with them.
- While at work, instead of emailing a colleague, walk to that person’s desk.
- Whenever you are on your cellphone, stand up and walk around.
Join Us! Putnam County Fall Walking is being offered for any age and any fitness level, starting September 8th for 8 consecutive Thursday’s at 9AM. Location will be at Big Walnut Sports Park. Feel free to join us as your schedule allows for friendship and fitness. No need to register. Show up for as many as you can!
Visit our homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. Office hours are Monday thru Friday from 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-4:00pm. Evening and lunch appointments are available, upon request. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time. Purdue University is an equal access/equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.
Aug. 21 – Indiana State Fair Ends
Aug. 22 – 4-H Projects picked up from Indiana State Fair
Sept. 5 – Labor Day Holiday, Extension Office Closed
Sept. 9, 15, 22, 29 & Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27 – Putnam County Fall Walking group, 9:00am, Big Walnut Sports Park
Sept. 27 – Train your Brain: Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy program, 6:00pm, Fairgrounds, register at 765-653-8411