Friday, February 26, 2010

OK, I'm Going to Sit Down Now

I sometimes think I would go crazy-crazy-crazy out-of-my-mind if I didn't take daily walks. I am hardcore when it comes to walks--eschewing the sidewalks and hitting the asphalt of the street instead. I guess that makes me a Street Walker.

Still having a third grade mentality, I stamp my calendar every time I take a good walk. For years and years I used a star stamp. Then, in a wild, impetuous move, I switched to a bird stamp. Thus, an entire switch in vocabulary had to take place. A "Star Worthy" walk is now called a "Bird Worthy" walk. "I have to earn my Star," is now "I have to earn my Bird."

You get the idea.

My goal for the year is 409 walks, but Ev's surgery and a bout with a nasty cold/cough got me off track for a bit. THEN I heard this article on NPR:

A new study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that women who get moderate amounts of exercise in middle-age tend to be much healthier at 70 and beyond. Active women cross-over into the senior decades with far fewer chronic diseases and greater mental acuity.

Picking up the pace to a brisk clip could be enough to help ward off disease as we age.

So, you may wonder, how much exercise? Well, there's good news for the 85 percent of Americans who don't have a regular, vigorous work-out routine. Turns out, walking is enough. And the brisker, the better.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated the health of more than 13,000 women who had reached the age of 70.

They found that women who regularly walked at a moderate pace had much higher odds of staving off disease and aging successfully than their counterparts who didn't exert themselves beyond leisurely, easy walking.

And there's evidence that picking up the pace -- beyond just moderate intensity -- may be very beneficial. The women who walked at a very brisk clip increased their odds of successful aging by 3-fold.

The benefits of exercise held up for women across weight-ranges, from thin to heavy.

The Archives' study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that regular, moderate-intensity exercise helps protect against a range of conditions -- from osteoporosis, to cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cognitive declines.

Does this not inspire you to put some middle-age exercise in the exercise bank so it pays you big time dividends in old age? It inspired me!

Now, I don't want to be a big shot, but I happen to have a very cool pedometer which measures both regular steps and aerobic steps and has a seven day history feature. So, this week, I strapped on that puppy and went out and hit the pavement. Honey, I earned some Big Time Birds. I hereby present to you Bossy Betty's Walking Totals for the Past Week:

Friday: 11,373 steps / 5000 aerobic
Saturday: 16134 steps/ 9816 aerobic
Sunday: 14,233 steps/ 8284 aerobic
Monday: 10008 steps/8480 aerobic
Tuesday: 13,519 steps/ 9816 aerobic
Wednesday: 11,373 steps/ 4404 aerobic
Thursday: 14,760/ 9816 aerobic

For me, walking is as much a mental necessity as a physical one. Tomorrow we find out what makes Betty a happy walker--both revered and a little feared in her neighborhood.

Happy Days to All!


Brian said...

I've had the aerobic habit since the age of fourteen. Although I used to take epic walks, I get most of my cardio at the gym nowadays. I don't see how people can live without it. So many health problems are avoided by regular exercise.

Wisconsin Parent said...

I'd walk with you. Running is killing me, but we would have a blast turning our entire calendars into a zoo!

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

LOVE the bird stamp! What a fantastic idea to post your progress in such a creative way!

I'm a runner, and as much as I dread getting on that treadmill some days, I feel like a million bucks afterwards!!

Green Monkey said...

i was a runner....i am no longer a "runner" I am now a woman who exhibits a desire for running (deliberately) and recently THINKS she found the will and drive and stamina to RUN. ohhhhh, but I could be wrong... its, after all, friday night, and the moon look very round.

Alissa Grosso said...

I love that bird stamp. I have my own OCD tendencies when it comes to calendars. Does walking the dog count? He's a pretty brisk walker, and we take a few walks every day including one in the mile-two mile range.

Linda said...

I really have to get back into it myself. I like going to the gym but, when the weather is bad (like it has been). I have the need to stay safe at warm at home. I keep telling myself that Spring will be here soon.
Thanks so much for your coment.

Erin said...

You know . . . the two places I have lived where I got sick the LEAST often was in New York City and here in Singapore. The only two cities I have lived in where I did not have a car and relied on lots of walking and public transportation. I completely believe that walking keeps you healthy!! : ) Here's to great birds!

Anonymous said...

I love the stamp, what a cute idea.