It may seem intuitive, but it is true that walking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Walking can have a huge impact on your health by reducing your risk of disease and other poor health conditions.
Here’s even better news about walking — it is free. You can walk anywhere, and no equipment is required to reduce your risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, enhance sleep and keep you mentally sharp. Even a quick one-minute stroll pays off.
Walking is something that you can typically do anywhere depending on your environment preference and safety. You can enjoy the fresh air and scenery of outdoor walking or maybe you feel safer walking indoors on a treadmill or at a mall. Here are some ways that you can vary your walking routine through indoor or outdoor walking.
Outdoor Walking• Neighborhood — Just walk right from your home. If it is not safe to walk near your home, consider walking in a neighborhood near your office or other locations that you frequent, like the grocery store or a family member’s or friend’s home.
• Downtown — Explore your community on foot. Downtowns are a good place to walk because they usually have sidewalks and crosswalks to help keep you safe.
• Parks and trails — You can use paved or gently rolling paths to avoid rocky terrain. Or if you want a challenge, find a trail with a steeper incline to increase your intensity without having to pick up your pace.
• Tracks — Most schools have shared use agreements, allowing community members to use the track.
• Your home — Just stepping in place will burn calories. Try doing it while you watch your favorite TV show. On the other hand, walk and talk when on a phone call.
• Fitness center — If you do not already have a membership, you might want to consider joining a fitness center to have access to a treadmill, especially during seasons when walking outdoors may be difficult in your area.
• Faith organization — If your faith-based organization has a gym or a fellowship hall, use that space to get a quick walk in.
Whether you decide to walk inside or outside, there are different ways to walk. Depending upon your goals, you may need to mix it up and try different types of walking. Here are some ways to walk:
• Everyday walking — Everyday walking is moving around your house or place of work, walking to and from your car, strolling around shopping, or any other incidental activities that require a little bit of walking.
• Leisure walking — Strolling while chatting with a friend, talking and walking while on the phone, or walking the dog are examples of leisure walking. When you are walking leisurely or strolling, you are relaxed and moving easily. Your effort is light enough that you would be able to sing while you walked.
• Fitness walking — This type of walking is faster and more purposeful. Fitness walking can be done at a variety of levels, but it is a brisk pace for you. You should be breathing harder and your heart beating faster, but you should still be able to speak in complete sentences.
• Interval walking — Interval walking is when you alternate fast walking for short periods of time with equal or longer intervals of slower or moderately paced walking to recover.
The Pennyrile Area Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agents are sponsoring a walking challenge we are calling “Walktober.” This is a four-week challenge beginning Oct. 5 and running through Nov. 1. You can register by downloading the FitBlue app on smart phones, or by calling the Trigg County Extension Office at 270-522-3269.
Flyers with information about registering are available at the Extension Office and are posted on the website and the Trigg County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Facebook page. The deadline for registering through the app is 11 p.m. Oct. 4 Central time. Prizes will be awarded, and everyone that completes the challenge will earn a “Walktober” T-shirt.
For more information, about this and other subjects, call 270-522-3269.
SCALLOPED CORN AND OKRA
4 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
4 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups cooked corn kernels, drained
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup skim milk
8 ounces shredded 2% cheddar cheese
1 cup Italian style dry bread crumbs
Stir-fry okra in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 10 minutes. Place in baking dish alternating layers with drained corn.
Prepare white sauce by heating remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in saucepan over low heat and blending in whole wheat flour. Cook oil and flour mixture 1 to 2 minutes. Add skim milk all at once, cooking quickly and stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Stir in cheese until blended.
Pour mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle bread crumbs over casserole. Bake at 350º F for approximately 45 minutes, until casserole is heated through and the crumbs have browned.
Yield: 8 (1 cup) servings
Nutritional Analysis: 220 calories; 9 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 340 mg sodium; 24 g total carbohydrate; 4 g dietary fiber;7 g sugars; 9 g protein
Editor’s Note: The source of information for this article were information releases by Natalie Jones, UK Extension specialist for Family Health.
Reach Cecelia Hostilo, Trigg County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, at P. O. Box 271 (2657 Old Hopkinsville Road), Cadiz, KY 42211, by phone at 270-522-3269, fax at 270-522-9192 or email email@example.com.