Better Choices, Better Results

The World of Walking

I have been walking at least 6 days a week for a few weeks now.  I’ve been walking 3 miles per day at a pretty fast pace.  Well – I thought it was a fast pace.  I’ve been walking to music from The Biggest Loser workout CD’s and also a 70’s Disco Workout CD. 

I’ve been working up a sweat, so I estimated that I was walking a 15-minute mile.  I was WRONG!

I timed it this morning, and I’m only doing a 20-minute mile.  Twenty minutes?!?!  No, no, no.  I must do better than that.

Since I need music to help me keep pace, I went on the search for new workout CD’s.  But first, I needed to know how fast the music needed to be.

All the music on The Biggest Loser CD’s are less than 130 beats per minute.  I found out from The Fitness Walking Guide  that my music needs to be at least 137 beats per minute. 

I logged on to the internet to find faster music.  I found a site called Workout Music Video  that had CD’s for Power Walking!  I now have 2 CD’s on the way to my home.  One is a Disco CD with music at 140 – 145 beats per minute and a Pure Rock CD with music that ranges from 134 to 156 beats per minute.

I’ve been enjoying my morning walk, and so has Daisy, although I’ve not made her do more than one loop around the neighborhood yet.  The poor thing is so chubby that I need to slowly work her into a longer walk as well!

Did you know that walking for exercise is more than a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood?  (Please note: see your doctor before starting any workout routine.  There – the legal stuff is covered!)   Walking for exercise means that you get your heart rate up!  For some “how-to” tips of fitness walking, visit The Walking Site.

Want to know just how much good you can get out of regular walking?  Take a look at this list that I got from The Fitness Walking Guide:

Live Longer. Yes, you read that correctly! A recent article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that how fast you walk is related to your life expectancy.

Increase your resting metabolic rate. This helps to burn off extra calories and keep them off permanently. Fitness walking revs up your metabolism and you will burn more calories all the time, whether you are sleeping or watching TV!

Because it is considered a low to moderate impact activity, fitness walking is easy on your joints and bones and doesn’t cause injuries as often as high impact sports like running.

Prevent or control coronary heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. There have been many studies that have shown that walking can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and diabetes.

Improve your moods and reduce anxiety. A psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach studied individuals over a 20-day period and found that the more they walked, the higher they rated their overall mood, happiness and self-esteem. Other studies have found that exercise can help by reducing the symptoms of major depression.

Reduce the risk of memory loss and brain deterioration. In 2001, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found that women in their seventies who walked at least one mile a day were less likely to lose their cognitive abilities than women who walked only a half a mile a week.

In 2007, researchers from the University of Illinois found that exercise, such as brisk walking, reversed brain shrinkage and increased brain volume in older adults, ages 60-79.

Slows the physical signs of aging. Exercise is vital to keeping your body feeling younger. It can strengthen your bones and improve your circulation. Keeping your body in good physical condition makes you look and feel younger.

Boost Brain Blood Flow. The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital’s Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas found that women age 60 and older who walked briskly three or four times a week improved blood flow to the brain by 15 percent in just three months

So – now that you know the benefits of walking, get out there and give it a try.  If you are just starting out, start slowly and work your way up.  I’ve found that I love it, and I hope you will, too!

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