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To Get Fit and Trim, Try Walking

In these financially challenging times, here’s an inexpensive and effective alternative to a gym membership for improving your health and slimming down: Walk.

Walking is the simplest form of exercise around. It’s free, it doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t take a lot to get significant results. Studies have shown that walking for as little as 30 minutes a day in ten-minute increments can cut the risk of heart disease – the leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of death among Laborers – by as much as forty percent. Walking also reduces risk for type 2 diabetes, cancers of the breast and colon, eases depression and improves bone density, key in warding off osteoporosis.

Furthermore, walking, whether strolling or striding, burns calories. Most Americans eat more than they should, and waistlines make it clear that they don’t burn the calories to make up for their overindulging. More than 60 million Americans are obese, and obesity is the number two cause of preventable death in the U.S. However, those who make a habit of getting up and moving around weigh an average of 18 pounds less than those who do not. Studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.

Calories burned per hour at different body weights
Walking 110 lbs. 125 lbs. 150 lbs. 175 lbs. 200 lbs.
Strolling (less than 2 mph) 100 114 136 159 182
Moderate pace (3 mph) 175 199 239 278 318
Brisk pace (3.5 mph) 200 227 273 318 364
Very brisk (4.5 mph) 225 256 307 358 409
Uphill (3 mph) 300 341 409 447 545

Get the Most Out of Your Walk

  • Wear comfortable shoes with arch support, firm heel and thick, flexible soles to cushion feet and absorb shock.
  • Stretch your muscles before you start, including calf, quadriceps, hamstring and side.
  • Warm up by walking slowly for the first five minutes and then increase your pace until you feel warm.
  • Cool down by walking slowly for about five minutes and then repeat your stretches.

Unlike exercise regimens that require special clothing, special equipment and a structured class, walking can be done just about anywhere, anytime and, with the exception of a pair of sneakers, without changing into exercise gear. When you have completed your walk, you can go right back to whatever you were doing without first having to recover from a “no pain, no gain” workout.

Walking is easy to do and easily habit-forming. That means you will get results. Step up your stepping out. You’ll be pleased that you did.

The LHSFNA’s training manual, Nutrition & Fitness For Laborers, and the Nutrition & Fitness For Laborers and Build a Better Body brochures are designed to help Laborers improve their dietary and exercise habits. They can be ordered through the LHSFNA’s website by clicking on Publications.

[Janet Lubman Rathner]

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