Get Up & Walk
April 3rd was National Walking Day. The day is a call to action from the American Heart Association (AHA) to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Walking is an inexpensive and humble exercise that has proven to lower anxiety, improve mood, reduce the risk of dementia, increase heart health, and aid sleeping patterns. Walking also makes for an entertaining and environmentally conscious way to explore New York City. For many of us who appreciate all that New York has to offer, walking is the perfect way to engage in the unique neighborhoods, people-watching, and urban scenery. Not to mention, it’s an ideal way to walk off all the excellent varieties of Big Apple cuisine!
A recent campaign from the NYC Health Department encouraged New Yorkers to consider how far they would need to walk in order to burn off the calories from consuming just one sugary drink. The results showed that an average-sized person, about 160 pounds, would need to walk three miles at a leisurely pace to burn off a 20-ounce soda. Drinking a medium frozen vanilla coffee, would require an eight mile walk – that would be like walking from the Goethals Bridge to the Verrazano Bridge – the equivalent of a whopping 650 calories from just one drink!
For those of us living in New York City, a good rule of thumb to remember is: one mile = six long crosstown avenues or 20 streets.
This kind of nutrition and exercise visualization has proven useful in other instances. A recent study involving 800 participants showed that by converting what people ate into the amount of exercise they would need to do led to a decreased caloric intake of 200 calories a day per individual! 200 calories a day may not seem like much, but over the course of a year the results add up tremendously.
So, how much walking is recommended?
The AHA suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. I like to remember it as at least 30 minutes a day of active movement five times a week. But if your schedule doesn’t allow for such structured workouts, you can nonetheless experience the benefits of exercise if you divvy up your walking time into 10 or 15-minute segments throughout the week. Smaller people tend to burn fewer calories while bigger people burn more. For instance, not taking into account any additional factors such as age, body composition and age, a person weighing about 150 pounds walking at 2.5 mph on a flat surface burns approximately 204 calories/hour.
New York is a walking city. Follow the below tips to increase your walking time and burn off those extra calories
- Remember to properly hydrate throughout the day, especially in warmer weather
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Take a quick walk on your lunch break
- Longer walks (more than an hour) require a carbohydrate-protein snack
- Take the subway, especially when you need to transfer or take the stairs. In addition, get off one or two stops earlier and walk more
- Even if you can’t find the time to walk off that whole slice of pizza, it is better to try to burn off some of it rather than none
- Make a resolution to see more of the city by foot
- Create your own walks on Map My Walk
If you are interested in personal health and nutrition counseling, contact me here.
Originally Posted on NYHRC Tumblr
References: Walking for Fitness. Walking Off the Big Apple.;Tread Lightly: Labels That Translate Calories into Walking Distance Could Induce People to Eat Less Scientific American.; Health Department Launches Campaign Showing How Drinking Just One Soda a Day Equals 50 Pounds of Sugar a Year. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Edited by TCabrarr