With studies showing the benefits of walking to be comparable to those of running and the ability to create walking paths from your iPhone as just a touch away, the American Heart Association is offering reasonable ways to live better and get healthier by means of a new Walking Paths smartphone application and an Online Activity section.
“The message now is that physical activity can be worked in anytime, anywhere,” said Kim Enoch, American Heart Association Heart Walk director. “We hope that the Walking Path app will encourage people to get outside, enjoy an affordable form of physical activity and interact with others.”
The fact that anyone can download the American Heart Association’s Walking Paths app for Android and iPhone, and use the Online Activity Tracker to log their times or distances traveled, plot and save their walking routes, enter their daily meals and snacks as well as get help with their walking plans, means there is no excuse for anyone with the desire to get fit. You can even plug your personalized walking plan into your activity diary to get the most out of your routine and workout.
The American Heart Association says its mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and walking is the simplest way to start and continue that fitness journey. According to some surprising findings reported in the American Heart Association journal “Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology,” walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running can.
Researchers analyzed more than 33,000 runners in the National Runners’ Health Study and more than 15,000 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. They found that the same energy used for “moderate intensity walking” and “vigorous intensity running” resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study’s six years.
“Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities,” said Dr. Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., the study’s principal author and staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkeley, Calif.
“The more the runners ran and the walkers walked, the better off they were in health benefits. If the amount of energy expended was the same between the two groups, then the health benefits were comparable,” Williams said. “People are always looking for an excuse not to exercise, but now they have a straightforward choice to run or to walk and invest in their future health.”
If you are tired of walking alone or might prefer the company of others as a new way to motivate yourself, the AHA suggests you start your very own walking club as a good way to expand your workout group and help others improve their heart health. Simply visit mywalkingclub.org. to get started.
Other reasons to promote walking include: Walking costs nothing to get started. Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise. Walking is easy and safe. Studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours. Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits. Walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health. Physically active people save $500 a year in health care costs.
With statistics showing 68 percent of all adults being obese or overweight, while childhood obesity has more than doubled and even tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years, The American Heart Association is inviting young and old to start a new life resolution to improve their health by taking the first step to a healthier life.
In addition to the new Walking Path app, the AHA has also launched a new Worksite Wellness Program to create healthier eating and physical activity on the worksite as seen in the Oct. 13 Lifestyles feature, “Worksite Wellness Program in Cleveland.”
For more information, contact Kim Enoch at the American Heart Association at 423-763-4408 or visit www.startwalkingnow.org.