Thursday, July 09, 2015

Thursday Thirteen 380: Walking

I'm sure by now you all know that I am a walker. Whether it be the local bike paths, the Arboretum, or just around the neighborhood, I try to get out at least three or four times a week, weather permitting and with the exception of winter (I don’t deal well with icy streets and extreme cold very well). Noted perambulators include William Wordsworth (who often walked 14 miles a day!), Henry David Thoreau, Friedrich Nietzsche, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln.

I like long walks of 3-5 miles, particularly in the evening before sunset, but occasionally earlier in the day — depending how hot it is in summer and if I decide on attending one of the free guided walks at the Arboretum. I also try to vary the route I take, both for safety reasons and to reduce chances of boredom. And, unlike many I see using the local paths, I do not listen to music or talk on the phone while walking. I like to be aware of my surroundings (i.e.: hearing people coming up behind me), and enjoy listening to the birds, the soughing wind through the trees, and the occasional chorus of frogs. I do carry my camera, though, as one never knows what one might see while walking.

Here are a few facts about walking:

1. The foot has 26 separate bones, 30 muscles, 56 tendons, 33 joints and 250,000 sweat glands.

2. Walking helps the body with producing new bone tissue, the equivalent of a new skeleton every seven years.

3. Walking within 30 minutes after eating can boost calorie-burning by 30 percent.

4. Walking in sand, loose soil or deep grass can also increase calorie-burning by as much as 30 percent. (Of course, it also makes it easier to turn an ankle.)

5. Walking up hills increases calorie-burning by as much as 45 percent.

6. Walking a mile in 15 minutes burns as many calories as running in 8-1/2 minutes or belly dancing. (I can actually walk a 15-minute mile, so long as hills and ice are not involved.)

7. Walking a mile a day in addition to one's regular activity could result in a fat loss of about one pound per month. The more you walk, the greater the results, but diet also plays an important role here.

8. Using a quality treadmill can also provide a good workout by ensuring a steady pace.

9. The energy costs of walking can be increased by 78 percent by walking backward (recommended for open spaces only—and no, I have never tried this. I have enough problems walking forward some days).

10. Walking barefoot does not flatten the feet as many believe, but merely thickens the skin on the bottom of the feet.

11. If walking for 30-60 minutes a day seems daunting or too time-consuming, break it up into 15 minute increments. Walk for 15 minutes during your lunch hour, and 15 minutes in the evening after dinner. Have to take the kids to a practice? Instead of sitting idly in the stands or along the sidelines, get your exercise while the kids get theirs by walking a few laps around the field, park or parking lot.

12. Walking is the fastest growing fitness activity in America.

13. Walking with a friend can help keep one motivated, but it is essential to find someone who walks at about the same pace as you do, or you will do your body more harm than good. Walking slower than your natural pace can be as bad as walking too fast. Can’t find anyone to walk with you and don’t want to walk alone? Get a dog, or volunteer to walk a neighbor’s. You may also be able to find a local walking group online.

Do you enjoy walking, prefer a different form of exercise, or are you an admitted couch potato?

* Source: Too Busy to Exercise by Porter Shimer

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen


Beth at PlantPostings said...

Yes! I'm a walker, too. (Actually, I prefer hiking trails away from roads and traffic.) This is great information!

Heather said...

Thanks, Beth! It's been a while since I've walked any local hiking trails, but am glad to live in such a walkable area, with access to bike paths and nature trails (Arboretum). I actually walked to the Capitol Square for last night's concert, a distance of about 4 miles many would balk at.

CountryDew said...

I use a treadmill. Before my surgical screw-up two years ago, I generally did 30 minutes a day on it. After surgery I could only manage two minutes before it made me sick but with physical therapy have worked my way up to 15 before I have to stop. Very slow progress but I keep working on it.

Heather said...

Anita: Glad to hear you've worked up to 15 min a day on the treadmill since PT. I know what a milestone that is, considering your last couple years.

mittens said...

Nice to know this stuff, Heather. Ive always been a walker, its nice to know I've been doing it right without even trying =)

Heather said...

Mittens: Nice to have validation, isn't it? *G*

Jana said...

I'm on hiatus from walking long distances for two reasons: Some nasty business called Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot and Summer Sweating. I can't STAND to get hot and sweaty. But to add insult to injury, my stupid foot is rebelling against me.

BUT, I really enjoyed all these facts. And as soon as my foot gets over itself and the temps cool back down I'll be back out there pounding the sidewalks. :)

Ron. said...

I get up off the couch and walk all the way to the bathroom or the fridge as often as absolutely necessary.

Mia Celeste said...

I try to walk too, but I really need to do more of it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Alice Audrey said...

Walking has certainly made a huge difference for me. Weight loss, greater mobility and flexibility... I'm so grateful. But I'll do it with my music playing as much as I can.

colleen said...

I walk to and from the mailbox everyday and it takes about 10 minutes! I used to walk a lot in my 20s.

Lea said...

Very interesting info about walking.
I am a walker, but not very fast. I try to walk 1 1/2 to 2 miles at least 5 times a week. The most walking I have ever done in one day was 5 miles. I was a lot younger then!

Heather said...

Jana: Sorry to hear about the foot problems. You would not have enjoyed my walk last night -- it was so humid I was already sweating after walking the three blocks to the bike path, never mind at the end of an hour plus. I slacked off my normal pace and refilled my water bottle twice. The shower after felt SOOOO good!

Ron.: You slay me. Really. *snicker*

Mia: We're getting to that time of year when I have to sometimes force myself to walk in the evenings. Last night for instance, when it was hot and sticky. Loved seeing that the small yellow cone flowers with their showy droopy petals had bloomed since Tuesday, but hated the humidity. Not nearly as many people out as Tuesday night.

Heather said...

Alice: I'm glad walking has proved so beneficial for you. So long as you're aware of your surroundings while listening to your music. I usually have some song playing in my head anyway that I don't need the added distraction of "real" music, LOL. I also like knowing if someone is coming up behind me.

Colleen: It only takes me about a minute to walk to my mail box and back, LOL.

Lea: Yay, another walker. I think the most I've walked in one day is around 10 miles, and that was last autumn.

Novroz said...

This is very interesting!

I can't walk as much as I want to as I only live 2 minutes away from where I work and the air around my place is not that good. However, I do enjoy hiking in the mountains a lot! So, I might not walk every day but once I walk I'll go for hours ;)

Heather said...

Novroz: I'm lucky to live in a green city with lots of parks and trails for walking or biking. We do occasionally have air quality alert days during summer, but not often. Right now we are getting some smoke haze from wildfires up in Canada drifting down into our area, some days more than others.