Last fall, Mary Kay Wardlaw and several other WIN Wyoming members attended a Walking Wellness program. They brought back 4 books written and co-written by the presenter, Robert Sweetgall. Rob has walked across America seven times since 1982. In his former life, he was a chemical engineer. After losing several family members to heart disease, he decided to take his health message on the road (literally). Here are some of the highlights I captured from his books.
- Humans often neglect one irreplaceable object their own bodies.
- The secret to health is only 2 feet away your own 2 feet.
- Humans spent 3 million years in the forest, 3000 years on the farm, 300 years in the factory , and the last 30 years glued to television. Our brains may have adapted to the new computer age, but our "basic pre-historic bodies" have not.
- Advantages of walking - 1) a rediscovery of the original form of human exercise, 2) safest physical activity on earth, 3) non-intimidating, 4) inexpensive, and 5) can be done anytime, anywhere and for life. One of the reasons walking is so special is because it is easy and natural. Walking frees the mind to explore ideas.
- Roads are engineered for 55 miles-per-hour motorists, not for 31/2 miles per hour pedestrians.
- Lack of time is the number one reason given for not being physically active. And yet, the average American finds over 4 hours a day to watch television. The author suggests a lack of priorities, not a lack of time, accounts for sedentary lifestyles. The average person spends 13 years watching television in a life time and 12 year engaged in physical activity (based on a life span of 75 years). There are 24 hours in every day certainly you deserve one of them.
- Wellness is a journey and it lasts for life. The minute you go outside walking, you start to feel better. It works like magic. Walking helps to keep you energized and in good spirits.
- To our ancestors, physical activity was not about competitive events like soccer or basketball or even about structured activities like aerobic class. If youre looking for a form of physical activity to sustain overtime, dont overlook walking.
- Walking one mile a day significantly drops mortality rate. Primary health benefits are reached from walking one to three miles a day. Walking four or five miles a day reduces mortality rate only slightly more. Beyond five miles a day, the death-rate curve begins to climb back upwards [information based on the Harvard Alumni Study]. Why is this important? The greatest health benefit is experienced by walking the first mile every day. Many people feel they cant handle a 2, 3, 4 or 5-mile a day walk. On the other hand, they might say "A mile? I can handle that."
Source: Walk the Four Seasons by Robert Sweetgall, 1992, ISBN 0-939041-14-6; Pedometer Walking by Robert Sweetgall, 2001, ISBN 0-939041-20-0; A Journey to Wellness, Walking Across the Navajo Nation by Rob Sweetgall and the Navajo Nation Journey-to-Wellness Team, 1999, to order: call 1-800-762-9255; Walking Off Weight by Robert Sweetgall, Roba Whitely, and Robert Neeves, 1989, ISBN 0-939041-10-3
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD
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