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January 01, 1988 - Image 47

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



Special to The Jewish News


alking is a wonder-
ful exercise. It's safe
and easy —
something we've been doing
almost our entire life. It re-
quires little or no instruction.
It's also an inexpensive and
effective way to become fit.
The • United States has a
limited, tradition of walking;
distances from home to work
or shops are usually too far.
Neighborhoods center around
the automobile with few
places to walk except in the
streets for most suburbs.
Yet, this oldest form of
locomotion is now attracting
55 million people across the
country. Walking is becoming
America's most popular
fitness activity.

Benefits of Walking
People walk for a variety of
reasons: to improve their
physical fitness, to lose
weight, to relieve stress, and
to improve their mental well
Findings about the health
benefits of lifelong exercise
suggest that walking is an
almost ideal activity. Walking
can improve aerobic activity,
help prevent osteoporosis, and
provide a bridge to more in-
tense exercise.
Based on review research
from The Centers for Disease
Control, Atlanta, they con-
clude that physical inactivity
is causually associated with
coronary heart disease
(CHD). In addition, The New
England Journal of Medicine
reported a study of thousands
of Harvard alumni sug-
gesting that a long-term
regimen of walking (an
average of nine miles a week)
can significantly prolong life.
At Western New Mexico
University, two groups of
women - one premenopausal
and the other
postmenopausal — improved
their cardiovascular fitness
and increased their percen-
tage of lean body mass (at the
expense of fat cells) through
brisk walking _ .
According to Steven M.
Korotkin, M.D., cardiologist
and director of the Cardiatric
Rehabilitation Center in Bir-
mingham, vigorous walking
is excellent for cardiovascular
"Duration as well as
distance are important fac-
tors for getting the most
benefit from walking," said
Korotkin. "For example, an
average person will probably
get the most benefit out of
walking briskly for 30 to 45
minutes at least three or four
days a week. Walking an hour
will get you greater benfit but


Gayle Finn (left) and Marci Shulman socialize on their daily walk in their West Bloomfield neighborhood.

The Pavement

Walking is becoming the most popular
and ideal fitness activity in America

the return per minute is not
as good!'
Korotkin recommends
walking because his patients
enjoy walking. Walking helps
them maintain their interest
in an exercise program.
Studies show that 50 percent
of adults who start . an exer-
cise program will quit within
a short period of time.
"Walking can be done
socially - with a friend or with
a group of friends," Korotkin
explains, "so patients need
less motivation to walk than
they would to jog or swim.
Moreoever, if they've been
rather sedantary most of

their adult life, walking is a
good starting point for an ex-
ercise program!'
Jay Kozlowski, M.D., car-
diologist at Huron Valley
Hospital, recommends that
older people and those who
haven't been involved in a
regular physical activity for
some time get their physi-
cian's approval before they
embark on a' walking
"How much walking in-
dividuals should do depends
on their age, weight, level of
fitness and desire," says
Kozlowski. "To achieve the
best results for cardiovascular

fitness, individuals can deter-
mine how hard to exercise by
keeping track of their heart
Exercise above 75 percent of
the maximum heart rate may
be too strenuous unless you
are in excellent physical con-
dition reports the American
Heart AssOciation (AHA). On
the other hand, exercise
below 60 percent gives your
heart and lungs little condi-
tioning. Therefore, according
to the AHA, the best activity
level is 60 to 75 percent of
your maximum rate.
This is what's known as
your target zone. lb find your

target zones, look at Chart A
for the age category closest to
your age and read the line
across. For example, if you are
43, the closest age on the
chart is 45; the target zone is
105 to 131 beats per minute.
To see if you are within your
target zone, take your pulse
immediately after you stop
exercising. count your pulse
for 10 seconds and multiply
by six.
A second benefit of walking
is that it helps keep bones
strong. As a weightbearing
exercise, walking supports
stronger, denser bone develop-
ment which may be an impor-
tant factor in preventing
Walking also promotes
muscle strength when good
posture is practiced. The best
technique for promoting good
muscle strength and reducing
back strain is to walk with a
straight back, stomach and
buttocks pulled in, and to
stride forward with arms free-
ly swinging.
Walking also helps control
weight. Brisk walking burns
about 450 calories per hour.
And finally, walking im-
proves flexibility. It stretches
muscles and conenctive tissue
such as ligaments and ten-
dons which help reduce the
risk of injury, keep joints sup-
ple and ease aches and pains.

Before you Begin
Most people don't need to
see a doctor before they start
a walking program because
they're in reasonably good
health and their walking pro-
gram is sensible. However,
there are some people who
should seek medical advice.
For example, if elderly people
aren't accustomed to vigorous
activity, they may wish to
check with a physician to get
an indication of their fitness
- level.
Wendy Schwartz, program
director for the First Step
Fitness Center in Troy,
develops fitness profiles for
In the Personal Fitness Pro-
file, patients are given a
treadmill stress test and a
lung function test. They are
also tested for strength and
flexibility and body fat is
analyzed together with blood
cholesterol levels. Patients
are then told about their cur-
rent level of fitness and how
it can be improved.
"We use the FITT principal
to help our patients: F for fre-
quency; I for intensity of ex-
ercise, T for type of ideas and
T for time," explains
Schwartz. "We also help folk
figure out what heart rate
they should be working out at
to get the most from their ex-
ercise program."


3 F


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