Tue, July 23

2011: Walking offers more than good exercise

A recent study conducted by Arizona State University (ASU) has reported that obesity may be “socially contagious.”

According to the CDC, Boomers (age group of 40-59) are more obese than generations older and younger, setting them up for several unhealthy senior years, and the reason is rather simple.

It takes physical activity, not just dieting, to lose weight. A brisk walk, mowing the lawn or riding your bike a couple times a week, along with a healthy diet, would do wonders for your waist line. Not to mention your memory and your mobility later in life.

Arizona Take Charge Challenge (ATCC) is a 12 week physical activity program that motivates individuals to become more active in their daily lives. The program is available to anyone who would like to participate, and there is no charge to join”

Walking around regularly just makes a lot of sense if you want to keep off that extra weight and to increase your longevity.

Walkers have a smaller incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other killer diseases. They live longer and get mental health and spiritual benefits.

Walking benefits brain power, improves mood and helps ward off depression, and allows you to connect more deeply with your spiritual side and with your loved ones.

“The summer heat in the Verde Valley can zap people’s interest in walking for health, unless they plan their walks for early morning, shaded areas or create an indoor walking schedule in an air-conditioned place,” suggests Carla Hover, the Physical Activity Program Health Educator , 254-9362

“Walking can be the foundation or springboard for other physical activities or it can be an essential way for people recovering from illness or injury to regain conditioning, flexibility and an overall feeling of well-being.”

Walking is a form of physical activity that allows people to leave stressors behind and move forward to investigate and explore. The simple joy of talking with people while walking and sensing how our bodies respond to daily walks is incentive by itself.

Walking slows mental decline. A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17-percent decline in memory, as opposed to a 25-percent decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.

For information on community walking programs available through Yavapai County Community Health Services, call 639-8130 in Cottonwood or 771-3122 in Prescott. The Arizona Take-Charge Challenge begins in mid-September and is a 12-week program that encourages people to form teams to get active and moving.