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Stride for Better Health

From: <wagner.art@verizon.net>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 10:27:27 -0700
Message-ID: <3811-220046511172727470@computer>
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Title: Stride for Better Health
Author: Patricia Wagner 
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Date of Copyright: copyright © 2004 by Patricia Wagner 
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Stride for Better Health 
(c) 2004 by Patricia Wagner

Did you know that walking is one of the best activities you 
can do to dramatically increase your level of health? 

Many people today are afflicted with "coach-potato-itis!" 
They come home from work, switch on their TVs and forget 
that their bodies need maintenance. But one day reality 
comes crashing through when their doctors say, "You have a 

This article will show you a simple strategy for improving 
your health through a fun and inexpensive walking program 
that promises many benefits. 

First, it  will increase your energy level. Since walking  is 
an aerobic exercise, it helps the heart and lungs become 
more efficient.  

Both PCOPF (the President's Council on Physical Fitness) and 
the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney 
Disease (NIDDK) state that a regular walking program can 
lower resting heart rates and blood pressure. It can help 
burn excess calories and increase muscle tone too. 

Second, walking can enhance your mental health. Taking 
regular walks can help reduce stress and enable you to sleep 
better. It can also help relieve symptoms of depression, 
anxiety and stress. When you walk, your body produces 
endorphins which produce a feeling of wellbeing.  

Third, it's fun! The Presidentís Council on Physical Fitness 
(PCOPF) calls walking the most popular form of exercise. It 
can be very enjoyable taking walks with a friend or loved 
one or even in groups. My husband and I often take walks at 
night and discuss our day. It's a special time for me. 

Here's what you'll need as you begin your new 
walk-for-health lifestyle. Purchase a pair of comfortable 
shoes, sunscreen or a hat and sunglasses. Choose 
loose-fitting garments. Bring along a bottle of water on 
warm days. 

But before you briskly stride out the door to begin your 
new adventure, you'd better check with your doctor first if 
you experience any of these symptoms:
-persistent dizziness 
-chronic shortness of breath 
-high blood pressure 
-heart problems
-chest pain 

When you're ready to begin walking regularly, there are some 
precautions to take. Walk during daylight hours or at night 
only in well-lit areas. Be sure to obey all traffic rules 
for pedestrians. If you decide to wear headphones, make sure 
you can still hear what's going on around you - like cars 
honking. Stop and rest if you start feeling sick to your 
stomach, dizzy or experience unusual pain. 

Try to walk whenever possible as part of your daily 

- For example, park a distance from stores so you 
can get some extra exercise going to and from your 

-Why not visit local parks to enjoy the beauty 
of nature while you're exercising? 

-Check out the neighborhood where you live to find 
good routes. 

-On rainy days you can walk in malls instead of doing
without your exercise time. 

-It's a good idea to make a habit of selecting stairs 
instead of elevators when you need to spend time in office 

-It's more fun if you have a companion. This is good exercise 
for dogs too - they love to go for walks!  

Experts recommend thirty minutes of brisk striding per day. 
It's best to walk every day, but you only really need to 
walk five days a week. This can be broken down into smaller 
segments of time - three ten-minute walks instead of one 
long 30-minute one.  

Try to stride as fast as you can without overexerting 
yourself. You can tell when you are going at a brisk pace 
because your heart will beat faster and you'll breathe 
deeper. However, your heart should not be racing and you 
should still be able to carry on a conversation. 

So get off the couch, put those chips down, slip on your 
comfortable shoes and start striding your way to better 

Patricia Wagner offers informative tips on living a more 
energetic lifestyle at http://www.a-to-z-wellness.com and 
through her free "A to Z Health Tips" newsletter. Subscribe 
at http://www.a-to-z-wellness.com/subscribe.htm. Contact 
Patricia at wagner.art@verizon.net. 
Received on Friday, 11 June 2004 13:27:25 UTC

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