Of course, we carry our own weight as we walk, which produces a variety of health benefits. Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and at your own pace. You can walk without worrying about some of the risks associated with more vigorous forms of exercise. It is also a great activity for people who are overweight, elderly or those who haven’t exercised in a long time.
October is National Walking Month and there’s no better place to celebrate than on the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway. Why do we need a designated month to put one foot in front of the other? It’s a way to make the public aware of the benefits associated with staying active.
The experts say most people take a fraction of the recommended 10,000 steps per day. Walking the Greenway can greatly boost your percentage. The average person will take between 2,000 and 2,500 steps while walking a mile. Walking just two miles a day on the Greenway, coupled with your regular daily activity, could put you very close to the goal. The added benefit is a much healthier body.
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta says physical inactivity is one of the top 10 leading causes of death worldwide. Their figures show more than 70 percent of all adult Americans lead sedentary lifestyles. As a result, we spend more than $2.5 trillion a year on medical care. About 80 percent of that figure is spent on treating chronic conditions that can be prevented or treated by regular walking.
A sedentary lifestyle is often the gateway to obesity. The CDC says more than 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese. By the year 2030 it is estimated that number will reach 50 percent. Today, more than 17 percent of American children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, which will result in millions of new cases of diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and other serious medical conditions.
Walking, like other exercise, can help you achieve a number of important health benefits. Medical experts say walking can lower your “bad” cholesterol and raise the level of “good” cholesterol in your body. Walking has many other benefits. Among other benefits, it can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, help you manage your weight, improve your mood, relieve depression and anxiety, and even lower your risk of colon cancer and kidney stones. Walking can help improve your balance as you get older and increase your muscle strength and physical endurance.
Health is wealth, and taking the time to invest in exercise and proper diet is like putting money in the bank. No government or public agency can do those things for us. Each individual must shoulder that responsibility. It’s encouraging to know that many local citizens take that responsibility seriously. This is evidenced by the large number of people using the Greenway each day.
The Greenway not only provides opportunities for physical activity to improve fitness and mental health, but also preserves and restores our open spaces and makes the community more livable. Since its inception more than 10 years ago, the Greenway has become a magnet for those who want to enjoy the outdoors and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
So let’s get moving! October is a great time to be outdoors and enjoy the fall colors while improving your health.
The four-mile Greenway is now completely connected with the recent opening of the section through Tinsley Park. It now stretches from Willow Street downtown to Mohawk Drive behind The Home Depot and is an ideal place to celebrate National Walking Month. It is one of the many reasons I like to say … “Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.”