Obesity rates have slightly petered out in the last year, yet overall numbers for overweight Americans remain high. A reason why 35% of all Americans are obese may be because of our lack of exercise, as certain studies point out. One prominent way we receive exercise (or don’t) is through walking.
Writer Tom Vanderbilt (Chappel, 2012) says that all humans are, “born pedestrians.” Unfortunately, most of the United States’ federal and municipal money goes to creating better streets, not sidewalks or bike lanes. As such, less people are inclined to walk than ever before. Also, pedestrians are a dying breed because cars and other machines get us to the next destination quicker. Vanderbilt laments that, “We’ve engineered walking out of our existence and everyday life.”
Not only can walking provide excellent exercise, but it can also limit the effects of genes linked with obesity. According to a recent study presented at the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism, walking can drastically decrease the effects of weight gain genes by 50%. To achieve such results, people just need to walk one hour each day.
With all this positivity surrounding walking, what can you do to achieve that one hour? First, walk at work! During your lunch break, take a 10 to 15 minute walk. It can be either leisurely or more structured. Second, park your car far away from the entrance to the mall or your work. It will make you walk further, and it can save you a few precious drops of oil, making it easier on your wallet. Finally, leave the car at home and walk to work, school, or local grocer. What better way to discover a neighborhood than to walk through it?
Whether or not you can squeeze in an hour per day, you will be surprised how quickly the minutes add up. Just because you cannot take a walk during work, that does not mean you should give up. Brainstorm and find a way that you can squeeze in a couple of minutes here and there during your every day.
Chappel, B. (2012, April 16). Americans do not walk the walk, and that’s a growing problem. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/04/16/150586667/americans-do-not-walk-the-walk-and-thats-a-growing-problem
Park, A. (2012, March 15). A daily walk can reduce the power of weight-gaining genes. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/15/a-daily-walk-can-reduce-the-power-of-weight-gaining-genes/
By Natalia Evdokimova