& Joannie Dobbs Saturday
April 7, 2007
Burn calories without burning out
Exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand to promote good health. However, many of us shy away from the "E" word.
Visions of effort, time, and motivation lead to a long list of reasons why we can't fit exercise into our busy lives.
Now, the Hawaii State Department of Health says it is time to put excuses aside and "Step It Up Hawaii." That's the title of their new walking campaign. As part of the ongoing Healthy Hawaii Initiative, the Start.Living.Healthy campaign launched 10 weeks of media messages to encourage all of us to take the opportunity to walk more.
Question: Can walking provide significant health benefits?
Answer: People who are sedentary gain major health benefits by becoming even lightly active. Typical recommendations for maintaining good health suggest a minimum of 20 minutes per day of vigorous physical activity at least three times a week or engaging in more moderate activities such as walking 30 minutes a day for at least five days per week.
Q: What are the benefits of walking more?
A: When people gradually increase their walking, they commonly report that it relieves stress and makes them feel better both mentally and physically. Research also shows that increased physical activity, like walking, helps to lower blood pressure, increase the "good" HDL cholesterol, and make it is easier to avoid overeating.
For those with type 2 diabetes, walking and other activities may be the best medicine possible. However, if you have any health conditions like diabetes, it is important to check with your doctor before making major changes in your physical activity.
Q: Is it necessary to walk continuously for 30 minutes?
A: No. As it turns out, three 10-minute walks are just as beneficial to health as one 30-minute walk. For those who do very little walking, aiming to walk for 10-minute bouts is much less intimidating than setting out for a 30-minute walk.
Q: How many calories does walking use?
A: Your body weight determines the amount of calories used to walk a mile. The approximate amount of calories burned per mile of walking for various body weights is:
» 60 calories (100 pounds)
» 100 calories (200 pounds)
» 150 calories (300 pounds)
» 190 calories (400 pounds)
The extra weight provides a calorie-burning bonus!
Whether you walk fast or slow, the calories used per mile are about the same.
Let's "Step It Up Hawaii!" And, don't forget to drink enough water.
Alan Titchenal, Ph.D., C.N.S. and Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.
are nutritionists in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences,
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, UH-Manoa.
Dr. Dobbs also works with the University Health Service
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