Column 5 - Walk for Heart Fitness

Original publication date: October 5, 1983

Our beautiful summer is over. Gone are the days of lounging, drink in hand. Gardening is over. Swimming is over. Bicyeling is almost over. (Unless you happen to be a student.)

Also gone is the lethargic feeling we get from hot, muggy summer days. We won't be sweaty or sunburnt for another year. We'll eventually retire indoors for the fall and winter with the heat turned up, extra blankets on the bed, and cozy slippers on our feet. The ovens will be going again cooking breads, rolls, casseroles, and lots of goodies. We'll spend more time watching television, reading, and just sitting around.

It won't take long for our bodies to lose the shape we worked so hard on all summer. If it took three months to get into shape, it will take about three weeks to readily lose our flexibility and muscle tone.

Despite this, fall is my favourite time of year. (On cold, rainy days, I say summer is.) The fall air is fresh and clean with just the right amount of coolness to make me feel invigorated. The colours of the leaves are beautiful and deserve to be looked upon. We can make the most of fall and all that goes with it by donning our favourite sweater and going for a walk.

Walking is considered the safest form of exercise for anyone, particularly if you are over 35 and have not done regular exercise for some time. Whether fit or flab, you will discover the benefits of walking.

My parents, both in their early fifties, have rediscovered the benefits of walking. My mother has walked in the mornings for some time, and my father has just started getting up earlier to walk about two and a half miles before work. After only two weeks of this routine, my father feels much better and has noticed greater flexibility.

Consider all that walking can do for you. If done at a brisk pace, walkmg can provide sufficient aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is activity that causes the heart to beat faster, causing the respiration rate to increase. This strengthens the heart allowing it to sustain more stress, whether it be weight gain or added tension. By doing aerobic exercise over a period of 15 minutes at least three times a week, we can decrease our resting heart rate. Our lungs won't have to work as hard to produce and circulate fresh oxygen throughout our body. Aerobic exercise can burn calories, assist in weight control, help control blood pressure and improve muscle tone.

Walking will also get us out of the house. It will be an outlet to help eliminate feelings of tension and boredom which increase as the weather gets colder and we spend more time indoors with nothing to do.

Wear comfortable clothing, preferably clothes that are layered to protect from the cold while retaining body heat. Most importantly wear comfortable shoes. Shoes that have a rubber sole, such as the ones policemen and mailmen wear are the best. Jogging shoes that you bought while on a jogging kick would be good as well.

Walk around the block, to the park, or anywhere you would feel safe and enjoy yourself. For the first few times, take your time and get the feel of walking without the rush of getting somewhere.

Have fun!!

Copyright 2020 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.