Thoughts in Transit

Monday, February 13, 2012

Make Walking Count

This week the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association and the town’s Health Department will kick off a 10,000 steps challenge: A Step in the Right Direction, a nine-week program to get people employed by the town and with the VNA walking for a healthy heart.

It will start on Valentine’s Day for town employees and the following day for the VNA.
We all, of course, walk our way through our everyday lives, but is it enough? The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps as a good goal. Busy moms might think they don’t have time to even think about this, but they probably are well on their way and just don’t know it. Those who sit behind a desk most of the day might want to duck, thinking it’s just not possible, but a look at a pedometer might just persuade them otherwise. How else to start counting?
Finding one is easy enough—just check out your local pharmacy or discount store. Finding where to put it on your person might be more of a challenge, because it should be someplace that stays with you all or most of the day. Clip it on a pocket maybe?
My daughter, who works in a public health position, gave me a pedometer in the fall. I didn’t wear it every day—and slacked off when the winter hit and I found myself under the weather. But the steps were adding up, just not consistently.
Working in downtown New Milford, I know several loops, or routes, to keep walking interesting. The first one, in fact, is the parking lot behind the railroad station. It’s a long oval, not a straightaway as traffic racing through might make it first seem. And, to keep things from being boring, my daughter said, there’s always walking backward or a sideways “grapevine” stride! That I did try, much to the amusement of a local police officer in a parked car in the lot I hadn’t noticed until he waved!
Geri Rodda, RN, the town’s community health nurse, pointed out that the participants in the nine-week program will be getting some “fun facts.” All numbers, of course. The smaller ones might seem more encouraging: the fact that the length of Bank Street, where I work, is about 60 steps; the Green, from Bank of America to Tivoli Restaurant is about 100; from the front entrance of the town hall to the Health Department, about 60 steps.
As your own numbers add up, know that if you’ve walked 2,000 to 2,500 steps you’ve probably gone a mile. And if you’ve walked the 1,860 steps from the ground level of the Empire State Building to the 102nd floor you’ve almost walked that far. It was also pointed out that you can achieve approximately the same number by walking the length of Harrybrooke Park.
The program takes a gradual approach, encouraging participants to increase their steps by 500 to 1,000 as the weeks go by. But not the first week. That’s the week you should aim to find out about yourself, your habits, and think how to make walking a more deliberate part of your life. According to the program, participants should walk for 10 minutes five days a week, with a two-minute warm up before and after setting out.
Now that’s something to build on, isn’t it?


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Location: New Milford, Connecticut, United States

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