Sit less, walk more with Tahoe Forest Health System’s Walktober challenge

Nikki Dean
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Sitting for long periods of time, whether it’s behind a desk, on the couch, or in a car, has become so problematic scientists have coined the term “Sitting Disease.”

Health concerns from this sedentary lifestyle include obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even increased risk of death. A recent survey found that Americans are sitting for an average of 13 hours a day.

A few hours at the gym each week isn’t enough to combat the detrimental health effects of too much sitting, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The solution is seemingly simple — sit less and move more throughout your day. Walking is one of the best, most effective and most accessible forms of movement, offering a myriad of health benefits.

In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight and trimming your waistline, walking can help prevent or manage heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes.

What’s more, walking is also proven to strengthen your bones, boost your mood, and improve your balance and coordination.

Adding more steps to your day is easier than you think.

Walk while you talk on the phone. Park your car in a parking spot far away from a store entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Hand-deliver a message to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail.

Grab a friend or family member and go for a short or long walk outside to enjoy the last of the warm sunny days and the spectacular scenery of the changing leaves. The more you walk, the greater the benefits.

Many studies suggest that walking 10,000 steps a day, roughly 5 miles, is the perfect antidote to the pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle.

Most people only take 900 to 3,000 steps in the course of daily living, so reaching the recommended 10,000 steps requires actually making an effort to walk.

Walktober, a free community walking challenge organized by the Tahoe Forest Health System Community Health Department, is designed to motivate Truckee/Tahoe residents of all ages to get up and get moving.

Participants, who can sign up at no cost as individuals or as teams, are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps every day for the month of October.

After sending step totals in at the end of each week, walkers are entered into a weekly raffle. A grand prize will be given to the individual and team who took the most steps at the end of the month.

At the kick-off presentation on Oct. 1, 6:15-7:15 p.m., at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance, participants will be shown how to set the stride on their pedometers (available for purchase), receive tips on walking technique and learn a few simple stretches to do before and after walking.

For more information or to sign up, email or call the Center for Health & Sports Performance at 530-587-3769. TCHSP is located at 10710 Donner Pass Road in Truckee.

Nikki Dean is the group exercise supervisor at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance.

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