Launch Lesson #1: Walking Daily Can Lower the Risk of Lifestyle Disease

Carter Clawson hiking the PCT in 2012

Carter Clawson hiking the PCT in 2012

One of the more provocative polling questions asked during the Women’s Advancement Compact launch was about exercise:

True or False: “walking 20 minutes a day can result in a decreased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and a heightened sense of well being”- The crowd was split as they punched in their answers.

While the answer is technically true- we feel compelled to elaborate, as the statement offers the chance for liberal interpretation.

The fact is that a cardio vascular workout is defined as an activity that results in your heartbeat exceeding 120 beats per minute for at least 20 minutes. So a stroll down 5th Avenue does not qualify as walking for cardio vascular health. Getting up and going to the fridge at every commercial- while strenuous- doesn’t cut it as a work out.

There’s Good News: Too busy to sneak in a 20 minute- well deserved walk break? Research indicates that if you break this up into two 10 minute walks, the effects are still positive.

But Wait, There’s More: Another interesting fact is that the benefits of cardio vascular exercise do not increase proportionally. Walking for 40 minutes does NOT double the benefit of walking for 20 minutes. Check out Gretchen Reynold’s book “The First 20 Minutes” for all the details.

Exercise IS enjoyable. Be one with nature- on the PCT or in Central Park

Exercise IS enjoyable. Be one with nature- on the PCT or in Central Park

Maximize Your Efforts: As with all forms of exercise and sports, the better the form of your walking, the more physical benefits you’ll enjoy. When you walk, stand TALL. Bring your shoulders back and with intention, you’ll be using your chest muscles. Use your arms with resistence, and you will enjoy a firmer back. Engage those abs! Squeeze your buttocks with each step and create a firmer rump, use your hips to propel yourself forward and whittle down your waist. Walking truly CAN BE a full body work out!

And Don’t Fret: it’s not necessary to look like a race walker* to reap the benefits of walking. A brisk walk, where you can still chat with a companion or a dog is fast enough for most.  

The Challenge to You: commit to yourself to walking 20 minutes each day, 5 days a week, for one month. Be mindful of your energy level after you walk, how much better you sleep, and how your brain is actually more creative. All that, and it’s good for your heart, too!


Take a HUGE step towards living a richer life. 

Commit yourself to this challenge. You CAN do it!

Check in with us @WomensAC. Tell us how you’re doing. Let us cheer you on.



*Just for the record, ’cause I know y’all chuckled when you read the words race walk: It’s a COOL sport! I hold FOUR records at Briarcliff High School for the race walk. Full disclosure = they discontinued the event after I graduated.