Walking for your Health
By Dr. Jo Gjelsten
“I’m Wahkin’ Heeauh!!” so Dustin Hoffman yelled, off script, slamming his fist on the hood of a car that almost hit him. They left it in the Midnight Cowboy movie-it really fit his character. But guess who walked across the country in the year 2000, and made it from California to Washington, the last few miles on skis yet, because the snow was too dangerous on the road? Granny D, my hero! She eventually made to her 100th year, but is famous for starting her walk across America 10 years earlier to promote campaign finance reform, and this she did starting at the age of 89, spending 14 months over 3500 miles, averaging 10 miles PER DAY, turning 90 years old as she hiked along the road with a big yellow flag! Ten miles! PER DAY! That, my fellow Americans, is the distance from my office at 150 S. Broadway, to the end of the Piermont pier, then turn around and walk back for a pit stop here of course, and THEN, walk back to the village of Piermont! When I had a walking club my ladies would begin at my office here in Nyack, walking to Piermont village, and after “cawfee” , pretty much, stop. That was plenty for them, my talkative gal pals. Once in a while we’d walk back but most of us, most of the time, me included, took the bus back. Granny puts us to shame, so let’s get inspired and perspire. I’d like to get a few folks together to see if, over time, we can get our mileage up to, oh, 10, at least once, or ten times, starting with our Nyack to Piermont trek. If any of you couch spuds are interested please e-mail me so I can start up a group say, in September? (firstname.lastname@example.org). So what happened to Granny? After she strode across the country, she decided, naturally, at the age of 94 to run for Senator in her native New Hampshire and might have won, (garnering 34% of the vote), had she taken money from special interests so that they might have afforded the commercials and publicity needed, but that was what she was running against! Her story, and the documentary called “Run Granny Run”, inspired this article. As you can see by this one wonderful lady alone, walking has amazing health benefits. And she’d likely still be alive today had she not had a history of smoking. But the wheeze from that respiratory condition that she succumbed to at the age of 100 was evident as she marched around NH, so put out that cigarette Doris. The book and CD about Doris Haddock aka “Granny D” are both available at the Library. How might Granny D have benefited from her walk? Memory for one. One study cites those who walk 18 miles per week fared best in the memory dept. The Mayo Clinic found mood enhancing neurotransmitters increase, and you definitely want to transmit your neuros as often as you can. Say you walk a mile per day; go ahead, say it. Well my little darlin’s that mile helps you to burn 100 calories. So Granny burned about 1000 calories/day “ish”. No wonder she looked great! Over a year, one mile a day equals 10 lbs. TEN POUNDS! Think about that! And think about how we use our cars to go a block to the gym, in fact 41% of all trips in the car are for destinations within a mile. When I was a kid we walked a mile each way and home for lunch, so how many miles are kids walking to school today???!!! But we’re raising a bunch of diabetic kids! Depressing, isn’t it? By the way, walking or jogging is found to be just as effective as an anti-depressant. Only one hour of “brisk” walking per day translates into women being 50% less likely to develop diabetes. Those who walk 30 min/day at 3 mph, so check your speedometer, cut their heart disease risk by 40% according to a Harvard study. The average walking pace is 2 mph so 3 is a little more “brisk”, Booboo. Don’t know where to begin? Guided Walks around Rockland are available most of the walking season, see www.rocklandsteps.org/walks, or call 845-708-7307 to register. The last one for this year is in November. Grab a friend, take a walking stick if you plan to do hills or rough ground, get walking socks, and take snacks and a good amount to drink. There are several options for people who may need a little nutritional support for energy while walking, or to explore conditions and situations that can slow you down, but that’s a consult so if you need me for that, call the office for an appt. Whether I’m biking or walking, I take almonds and my Dr. Jo’s Good To Go Bars and a frozen watery something to drink, and a pit stop plan so I won’t plotz, and go already. I freeze my Platypus, (yes Virginia that’s it’s name; about a liter sized container that flattens when not in use that I bought years ago to hike with), with leftover green tea, some blueberry or any dark berry juice, a few energy enhancers, and my Stevia. It’s great to feel that frozen liquid make its way down my parched throat after schvitzing my tuchus off in this heat. Has anyone seen my tuchus? More on my website about many things at www.GoDrJo.com. This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or advise anyone regarding personal health circumstances, so see your healthcare practitioner before you begin any exercise program Petunia! We’re Walking Here!!!! Now go freeze your Platypus.