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    Getting a High on Walking

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 10th, 2023

    Getting a High on Walking

    There is no doubt I get a high from walking. I ran competitively for seven years with the hope one day, I would run the marathon. When I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 1999, things changed. The sarcoidosis affected my lungs. I could not run a block without being winded. I started doing yoga for the breathing exercises. When I realized I could get the same benefits of walking as running, I laced up my sneakers and never looked back. It is often hard to compete when you have people walking and running in the same race, which is why I love the New Albany Walking Classic. It is a walking race. You get disqualified if you run. I have been doing it every year since the race began in 2005.

    According to the American Heart Association, research has shown that walking at a lively pace at least 150 minutes a week can help you:

    • Think better, feel better, and sleep better
    • Reduce your risk of several diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several types of cancer
    • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels
    • Increase your energy and stamina
    • Improve your mental and emotional well-being and reduce risk of depression
    • Improve memory and reduce your risk of dementia
    • Boost bone strength and reduce your risk of osteoporosis
    • Prevent weight gain

    Some tips to get started:

    Invest in a good walking shoe. Walking shoes are running shoes, and it would be best to go to a specialty store that will spend time looking at your feet to get the best shoe for you. 

    Regarding walking shoes, we want function first and style next. You might wish for a Nike, but Brooks might be better. A walking shoe is an investment of about $ 75 – $160, but it will be worth the price because you will have fewer problems with your feet.

    Not all neighborhoods are equal – For some, safety is an issue. You might walk on a school track if you need a safe trail in your neighborhood. You might choose to walk in the mall. Look for opportunities at your job site.

    Avoid walking in the dark –If you have no choice, carry a flashlight and wear light colors so that people will see you.

    Keep yourself well hydrated with water. This is extremely important, especially as you become older. Dehydration can set in quickly when you start doing long distances.

    Start slowly. You must train for the races if you want to walk the 10ks or the half/full marathons. Google walking clubs in your area to see if you can join a club that can help you prepare.

    The great thing about walking is that you can do it at any age and for a lifetime. My time today was better than when I did my first 10K in 2005.

    For more information on walking, click on the American Heart Association website.

    6 Responses to “Getting a High on Walking”

    1. Cheryl says:

      Congrats on your race! I usually ran 5k’s and I was glad to do the walk this year.

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Thanks and congratulations to you for doing the walk. I am glad you were able to make the transition from running to walking.

    2. Linda K. Jackson says:

      Walking, and rowing, are the only exercise that I know I will stick with! I love walking! When I’m really “in my zone”, I row for 30 minutes, then walk for 30 minutes, three times a week. I’ve fallen off the wagon with my regimen, so your blog today helped me to review my schedule, and get back to it!

    3. Dayna L Hale says:

      Way to improve your time! I am always on vacation for this walk:) Just returned from California yesterday

    Leave a Reply

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