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    Persistence Paid Off

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 11th, 2022

    Persistence Paid Off

    I would have laughed if you had asked me last week whether I would be taking a picture with my husband showing off our medals. I signed up for the half marathon in March, and I have been begging him to sign up for the race since that time. This past week, I told him, “the deadline is coming up, and I would love you to walk with me.” He finally conceded with one caveat; he would only walk the 10 K race. I immediately signed him up for the race before he changed his mind. The morning of the race was upon us, and it was raining. He looked at me and said- “you know, I am only doing this because I love you.” After the walk, he was on a high. He was happy with his time and said to me, “We have to walk more.”  Persistence paid off.

    Walking is a legitimate exercise with so many health benefits. As I have mentioned in the past few years, there is a runner’s high. Walking encourages your brain to release endorphins – a neurochemical that boosts your mental health, decreases your sensitivity to stress and pain, and can even make you feel euphoric. Walking is just as effective as running. In a study cited on the American Heart Association website, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes as much as running. Walking does not affect your joints like running.

    According to the American Heart Association, a regular walking program can:

    • Keep you fit
    • Improve your cholesterol profile
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Increase your energy and stamina
    • Prevent weight gain

    Walking is an aerobic exercise because it increases your heart rate and is also a weight-bearing exercise. While walking, you carry your weight which can help with muscle and bone strength decreasing your risk of osteoporosis. You can walk alone to help relieve stress, which is good for your mental health. You can choose to walk with friends, which can be a bonding experience. You may walk with your spouse – a way to exercise together and strengthen the relationship. It can be a family event when you include the children.

    Some tips to get started:

    Regarding walking shoes, we want function first and style next. Invest in an excellent 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. You might want a Nike, but Brooks might be better for you. 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. If you do not have a safe trail in your neighborhood, you might choose to walk on a school track. You might decide to walk in the mall. Look for opportunities at your job site.

    Avoid walking in the dark – Last year, I mentioned that if you have no choice, carry a flashlight and wear light colors so that people will see you. You do have a choice. In the news recently, there was a runner who was murdered running at 4:00 am. We should be able to walk or run anytime we want, but I would like to stress the importance of safety first.

    Find a walking partner – This allows for accountability. Those days when you feel tired, you have someone encouraging you to get out there and walk.

    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. This is my 18th year doing this particular walking race. My husband came in 5th in his age group for the 10 K race (6.2 miles), and I came in 3rd in my age group for the half marathon (13.1 miles).

    For more information on walking, check out Walking 101 at the American Heart Association website.

    4 Responses to “Persistence Paid Off”

    1. Linda K. Jackson says:

      I’ve been an avid walker, moreso regularly since I retired two years ago. (I was off and on before I retired). Walking is one exercise that I know that I’ll stick with, because it makes me feel so good! If you’re not familiar with GirlsTrek, check them out! I’ve never thought about participating in a marathon, but who knows?!

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        I am glad to hear you are walking. Thanks for sharing the information regarding GirlsTrek. Start with the half-marathon and move to the full marathon.

    2. Adaeze says:

      Agree with this 100%,especially as regards keeping up my strength levels.

    Leave a Reply

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