Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lifestyle: Benefits of Walking #lifestyle

Castaic Lake in the Fall 

I love walking. When I was stationed in Germany during the late 1980’s, early 1990’s, I had an opportunity to participate in the many volksmarches across the nation.  A volksmarch (German for “people’s march) is a non-competitive fitness walk. I remember you could do 10K (kilometers) (6.2 miles), 20K or a marathon.  It would take me about 2 hours to walk a 10K. There were stops for brotchen and beer and I got to see the “heart” of Germany – quaint, little towns with rich history and architecture. I also had a chance to meet everyday Germans.  Most appreciated our presence. I’ll never forget the time my friend, Jerri, and I met 2 men volksmarching. They dared us to guess their age. We said: “50ish.” They were in their 70’s! There was no way they looked a day over 55! They told us they’d been volksmarching all their lives and that’s why they were so young looking.

And that brings me right to my lifestyle topic: the benefits of walking.

Walking invigorates the body, mind, and spirit. A mere 30 minutes a day will work wonders. Walking helps:  us to relax, manage stress, improves cardiovascular/heart health, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, improves cholesterol levels.

Now I know why those guys were so young!


A good, beginning walking pace is between 3.1 – 4 mph. Power walking is more recreational. Race walking is for serious athletic walkers/runners. Both require a heel-to-toe technique.

When starting, be mindful of “over striding.” That’s a lengthening of your stride. It’s not as efficient as you think it would be. Instead, use a powerful pushoff.  I can honestly say, I’ve started using this technique, going heel-to-toe, keeping to my normal stride, and using a more powerful push off, and I’ve immediately improved my timed walks, cutting down between 1-2 minutes.

Walking to Support Alzhiemers 
Before you walk, stretch out. Some focused stretches include calf stretches, a side stretch, a gentle torso twist, quadriceps, and hamstring stretches.

Do I have walk 30 minutes straight?

No, you don’t. If anything, finding time in our busy lives can be challenging. It is for me. I usually go walking on my lunch break at work.  Walking 10-15 minutes when you can, a couple of times a day, will give you the same benefits of 30 minutes straight walking.

If you’re a good walker, and looking to “up your game,” then you might consider hiking and incorporating inclines and an uneven terrain, but that’s a topic for another time.

Enjoy your walk!

Question for you: Are you a walker? A hiker? Do you have an exercise you’d like to recommend?

Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She’s published with Desert Breeze, 4RV Publishing and Victory Tales Press.


Can Sofia’s faith give Darrin his heart back? A sweet, contemporary romance for the spring/Easter season.

5 Stars, Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader, “A totally enjoyable read.”
 5 Stars, Nancy Levine, Amazon Reader, “My grandfather was from Poland, but I have never been there, so I enjoyed reading about it as well as the customs about the Easter basket, etc.”
5 Stars, Billie Houston, Amazon Reader, “I love the warm-hearted tale.” 


  1. Thanks, Steph. That was all informative and I bet the volksmarches were fabulous! I am a addictive walker. MUST have my 30 minute power walk daily in order to sleep well. Music is at the heart of it. I make playlists that match my warmup, beginning walk, power walk, and cool down. I'm lucky to live at the beach so I usually take my 5PM walk along the ocean. Between good tunes and the beach, it blows away all the stress of the day.

  2. Hey, Steph! I didn't live anywhere that I can easily walk without getting run over, but I just moved to an area where they have sidewalks all over and people walk all the time. Since I just moved and had so many deadlines, I only was able to get out and walk twice, but now that things are settling down, it's time to start a regimen. One thing I did do though was get a "jogging" board and I walk on it while I'm reading over a manuscript. Sometimes when I'm watching TV. I ordered it online after using them at Curves. They help to reduce impact on cement floors. My dad always said the way he survived 16 mos as a POW of the Germans during WWII with all the death marches they were on was he walked all over Seattle as a boy. He was only 16 when he was taken prisoner. Keep on walking, and I'm going to start doing it outside too. :)

  3. I wish I lived in an area where I could walk more. The one lane dirt road is a challenge and it seems such a loss to drive to a place to walk....

  4. Heather, what a treat to live near a beach. I'd love to walk there! Thanks for sharing. I agree - helps to have a great playlist when walking.

    Terry thanks so much for sharing your story, it's very inspirational. Amazing to think how walking not only kept him healthy physically, but mentally, too.

    Melissa try hiking in your area. Its a good workout too!