Choose walking

You are probably expecting another lecture on why exercising is important, or an article explaining all the things you are doing wrong. However, this article isn’t meant to put you down or highlight your flaws, but rather inspire small lifestyle changes that will improve overall health and wellness.

Get Moving UMass is an initiative, launching in the fall of 2011, aiming to “create a culture of lifelong healthy living.” GMU suggests you start by taking it one step at a time; changing small things in your day-to-day routine, helping you reach an ultimate goal.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, maintain your physique, to improve cardiovascular endurance, get more energy, or simply to get where you need to go efficiently–walking is the answer.

We all have our excuses that keep us from walking to work, class or the store, but this articles serves to put all of your excuses to rest.

You say…

1. It’s too early. It’s never too early to go for a morning stroll! The benefits of taking a walk to start your day will always outweigh any excuses you have for staying in bed or choosing the bus instead. You will feel like you took some kind of revitalizing vitamin, we promise. Walking gets blood circulating, exposes you to some much-needed vitamin D and lowers stress levels, all while reducing your risk for health conditions. Wipe the sleep from your eyes, make some time for a healthy breakfast and get stepping.

2. I don’t have enough time in the morning. Whether you wake up at 7am or 2pm, give yourself a little extra time to walk to class. If you have 5-10 minutes to spare getting in line for the crowded bus, you definitely have time to walk to class.

The distance from one end of campus to the other is no more than 1 mile. This means, if you are walking at a leisurely pace of 3mph, you can get where you are going in roughly 20 minutes. Walk a little brisker, at 4 mph, and you can go 1 mile in 15 minutes–which is exactly how much time you have between classes (and odds are, you don’t have to go a whole mile in that time).

3. My attire is not appropriate. I do not advise walking a significant distance in your dress shoes or heels (if that happens to be your attire for the day), however there is nothing wrong with wearing your sneakers with your dress pants or pencil skirt for means of transportation. Change when you reach your destination and no one will know the difference.

4. I don’t want to be sweaty when I reach my destination. You have the time, you are dressed appropriately, but you are now worried about sweating. This is reasonable. No one wants to break a sweat before the pop quiz gets announced, but I promised you will not be dripping. We are talking about walking a mile at the MOST. Bring a change of clothes if you are concerned, or dress lightly, carrying your sweatshirt in your hand. But really, don’t be afraid to sweat. Sweating is good for you. Walking will improve circulation, allowing for toxins to exit your body via perspiration.

5. I have too much to carry. The upside here is that the heavier you are, or the more you carry, the more calories you will burn. Invest in a sturdy backpack and get moving. If you really have way too much to carry, try and adjust your schedule so that you don’t have to tote around your school things, gym clothes, work attire and lunch all day once. You can rent a locker at the Rec Center, or ask your supervisor if there are lockers to use at work. With less to carry, you’ll be more inclined to walk to your destinations.

6. I live off-campus. Most off-campus housing is not too far from the center of campus.

Sunset –> Library

.8 mi (from the center of Sunset Ave.)

16 min

64 cal

Puffton –> Library

1.1 mi

22 min

88 cal

Amherst Center –> Library

1.2 mi

24 min

96 cal

Alpine Commons –> Library

2.4 mi

48 min

192 cal

If you are struggling fitting workouts into your class schedule, walk to school from your house or apartment. This is an easy to do if you start your day a little bit earlier than usual. Plus, depending on where you are going to or coming from, you might be adding 20-30 minutes into your routine for the for the crowds on the bus anyways.

7. It’s cold/hot/rainy/icy/blizzarding. Ok, all of these are valid excuses except for hot/cold. If there is no precipitation, dress appropriately and start walking. If it is hot, carry water. If it is cold, dawn your fleece. You will feel accomplished and you will see results you want before you know it.

Walking will help you stay fit or get fit. Getting fit will help you lose weight, improve your weight training and provide the cardio you need to maintain a healthy weight. Walking is for everyone.

If you are one of those people who is always running late or just can’t fit a walk into your schedule, invest in a bike. Staying active will improve your overall health and wellness. Help us “create a culture of lifelong healthy living” by being an example to others. Get healthy and get moving, UMass.

*Mileages were calculated using Google Maps and MapMyRun. These mileages were converted to time and calories based on a 140 pound person walking at a speed of 3mph. If you weigh less, you may burn less. If you weigh more than this, or are carrying a heavy bag, you will burn more.

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