Health-full minute: go for a walk

Health-full minute: go for a walk

April 20, 2022

By Kae Tritle, RN Well-Being Coordinator
 
Spring is finally here, and the weather beckons us to be outside. One of the easiest and healthiest changes you can make is to increase your physical activity by taking regular walks. Some of us have gotten in the habit of wearing digital fitness devices, which keep count of all the steps we take during the day. I have found that when I’m confined to my office and computer, I only take 2,000-3,000 steps per day or less. But when I get outside for a 20-30 minute walk, the number of steps climbs to 6,000-7,000! 

A healthy number of steps is at least 7,000. Research has discovered that people who spend at least 2,000 calories per week in conscious activity (climbing stairs, walking, and intentional exercise) have notably better health profiles and live longer than people who are not active (sedentary). When people walk 10,000 steps per day, they use 300-450 calories. Multiply this amount over a week, and you will have walked over 70,000 steps and have burned 2,000 calories. But even 5,000-7,000 steps per day will help with your health.

Why should you walk?

Increasing our physical activity, particularly outside, has other health benefits. It releases the feel-good hormones of endorphins, lowers stress, helps with our breathing and circulation, increases our brain function/memory, and improves our overall sense of well-being. In other words, a walk is good for the whole body! 

While you know that walking is good for you, what will motivate you to do it? A fitness device is a great motivator! It brings to your consciousness how active you aren’t, and its presence urges you to increase those numbers. You can purchase these wearable fitness devices in many retail stores or online.  

Our Conference also is a participant of the Virgin Pulse Activity Program sponsored by Wespath. Our conference employees, clergy person, and spouses are eligible to participate. Virgin Pulse is a web-based activity program that helps you earn rewards for enhancing your fitness and overall wellness by digitally tracking physical activities, health habits, steps, and learning activities. 

You can connect with friends and colleagues who are also participants of Virgin Pulse for support and competition. Virgin Pulse is compatible with and supports the following devices and apps: Fitbit, Apple Watch, S health, My FitnessPal, and others. It has a mobile app for both IOS and Android devices, making it easy to track, synch, and connect.

Each day synch your “Max” wearable device and enter tracking data to earn “Healthmile” points. As you accumulate “Healthmiles,” you earn a cash reward based upon a level system (up to $40/quarter or $160/year.)  Go to http://join.virginpulse.com/wespath to join. Click here for a PDF of Virgin Pulse information and enrollment instructions.

Where should you walk?

Around your neighborhood is a good start. Many communities have parks with trails up and down your company or school hallways or the aisles of large-box stores. Iowa is also blessed with many trails. Iowa by Trail is an app by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation that maintains a website that gives the location and description of trails around the state. Many of the County Conservation areas have nature trails that you can use for walking. Check with each County’s Conservation Commission or Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

I hope that this has helped you make one little change that may have a lasting effect on your life. 

As you walk, remember this from Psalm 37:23, “Our steps are made firm by the Lord” 

Blessings are upon you as you become more active.