The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Walk - to a healthier you.

by Alexandra Edwards

Now that the festivities are over, many of us, including myself, will have gained a few extra pounds on top of those extra pounds that had been acquired prior to the holidays.

The beginning of a brand new year is always a good time to set goals to lose weight, tone-up and eat right. Setting goals too high though, will only result in failure within a few weeks, so it is important to attempt something achievable and that you will be comfortable with. It is not necessary to go on any particular diet, just eat right and less! Let's face it, we are already educated enough on what foods and drink are loaded with calories and which are healthier, it's just a matter of self control and determination.

Alexandra Edwards

Cutting calories, combined with a simple exercise routine should help shed some of those extra pounds by Springtime, and by Summer... you may need to buy a smaller bathing suit.

For those that find it somewhat difficult to get motivated, or who's busy lifestyle does not allow time to attend scheduled fitness classes, there is a simple solution.....Walk! 

Walking is not only an extremely beneficial exercise, it is simple, can be done during any time of day and costs no more than a good pair of walking shoes. Walking for fitness will not just burn off lots of calories, it will also reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, manage stress, and boost your spirits. Other benefits of walking, especially outside, are breathing in good clean fresh air and being closer to nature.

Getting motivated is the hardest part, but once started, it will soon  become part of your daily

routine. If walking from your home around the block is not possible, choose a walking trail in close proximity, that way you are more likely to stick to the habit.

Start by walking a circuit for just 5- 10 minutes at a normal, comfortable pace. Nothing too strenuous.  After a week or so, increase to 15 minutes, gradually working your way up to 30 minutes of walking for four or five days each week. It is important that you don't overdo it, pushing too hard at the beginning is one of the main reasons for giving up an exercise routine.

Once a routine is established, It is recommended to walk your normal pace for the first five minutes in order to warm up your muscles. Then gradually step up to a brisk pace, (walking like you were late for work.) During the last five minutes, gently reduce your brisk pace and return to your normal walking pace to allow for heart and blood pressure to return to normal.

As well as good walking shoes and loose clothing, good posture is also important when walking. Keep your chin up and look straight ahead, looking down occasionally for safety. Arms should be relaxed with elbows level with your waist. It is also recommended to walk with a definite heel to toe step, as though showing the person behind you the soles of your shoes.

Keeping track of your progress is a good way to keep motivated. By attaching to your waistband a pedometer (which can be purchased for just a few dollars in most sport departments,) you can count your footsteps, or the distance you walk, which will serve as a good source of inspiration.

Having a walking partner encourages each party to stick with the

routine, is safer and for many, more enjoyable. A good way to know If you're walking too fast is to try the "talk test" ... If you are so out of breath that you can't carry on a conversation with the person you're walking with, you need to slow down. Another way to test if you are over exerting yourself, is stop walking and take your pulse to make sure you're exercising within the range of your target heart rate.

If it is undesirable to walk directly around the block of your neighborhood, there is no excuse for not fitness walking. In Bradley County there are several safe and scenic outdoor walking trails. There is of course, the Greenway, which is well lit and runs along Keith and Mouse Creek roads. Close to Lee University on the corner of Parker and 20th Street, is Schimmels Park, used by many university students, has a quaint winding walking trail which runs through trees and around a creek.

Kenneth Tinsley Park, just off Keith Street have an excellent walking trail which also includes various work-out structures along the way. For those living outside the city limits, there is a walking circle close to Oak Grove School and many more natural trails near schools and churches in communities across the county.

Walking for fitness can be done outside through each season in this part of the country, providing you are dressed appropriately. However, some prefer a more climate controlled environment. Bradley Square Mall has been popular for many fitness walkers for several years. Probably because of its well marked marble trail, a tiled path which runs all around the perimeter of the mall, which seems to have formed the ideal circuit track. In the winter it's

warm and in the summer it's cool. The mall opens its doors way before the shops open and don't close until 9 or 10 pm, which is why it has become a meeting place for regular "mall walkers."

The North Cleveland Church of God on 11th and Magnolia Street, close to Lee University campus, is another popular place for fitness walking. Members or non-members are invited to pace their laps around the gymnasium circuit course. The church gym is located at the Magnolia Street entrance.

In Bradley County we have no excuses not to walk off those extra pounds. Encourage your friends to join you by setting group goals for group fitness walks. Change the venue occasionally to experience the many different trails available. Set an example and hopefully others may take the challenge.

So as we begin to step into the New Year, set your goals and step into a healthy start, it's as easy as walking!