Employee and Family
CMR Canada - Employee and Family Assistance Programs Head Office: Suite 600, Bow Valley Square 4, 250 - 6 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P3H7 Telephone (403) 263-2200 Fax (403) 256-8291 E-mail: email@example.com April 2002
Walking - The Best Form of Exercise?
"There is a strong chain of evidence showing that walking is absolutely the best form of exercise for the vast majority," says Mark Fenton, a former national racewalking team coach and the author of The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness (Lyons Press). "It's extremely simple. No formal training or special equipment is needed besides a good pair of shoes. You can do it anytime, in any setting. And if you want to make it an intense workout, you can."
A growing body of research backs him up.
The ongoing Nurses' Health Study at Harvard, begun in 1976, showed that women who walk briskly three times a week for a total of three hours reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke by 30 to 40 per cent.
Look, Ma, No Injuries
For safety, walking is matchless. A 28-week study at the University of Colorado compared two groups of women who ran or walked four times a week at their target heart rates. At the end of the study, reports Fenton, "the runners and the walkers had comparable levels of aerobic fitness. But on average, the runners missed about 11 days each due to injury. The average walker missed only one and a half days."
Protect yourself from injury: Fenton recommends walking shoes that bend easily through the ball but not the arch. No hightops, which irritate the Achilles tendon. No thick heel cushioning and no support straps. And, obviously, no heels.
"Exercises such as swimming and biking are very good for cardiovascular fitness, but they don't strengthen bones as well as walking does," notes Susan Johnson, director of continuing education at the Cooper Institute in Dallas and author of The Walking Handbook (Cooper Institute). "Weight-bearing exercise like walking is vital for preventing osteoporosis in women."
Viisha Sedlak, a former U.S. track team competitor who founded the American Walking Association, says, "Starting in the 1960s, Soviet scientists studied their athletes over four Olympiads to see which sport produced the fittest athlete. They measured pure strength, plyometric strength (used in jumping), endurance, speed, lack of injury and flexibility. Of all the athletes, the walkers came in first."
In a University of Illinois study, a group of previously sedentary adults, ages 60 to 75, walked briskly three times a week. After six months, their mental functioning had improved by 15 percent.
"People stick with walking better than any other form of exercise," says Johnson. "And walking can be very social." Tina Sloan-McPherson, a longtime television actress and former marathon runner who now walks several times weekly, says, "When I walk with friends in the morning, I have great conversations, which I didn't have when I was running. You sort out your life on those walks."
It can be hard to stay with any exercise program. Fenton offers these tips: 1. Schedule your walks -- write them on your calendar. 2. Keep a log of your progress. 3. Set goals: "I'll walk five days each week. If I do it for a month, I'll get tickets to a ball game and take my kids."
Intensifying a Workout
For maximum fitness (and potential weight loss), walk five or six days weekly for 45 minutes or longer. To tone gluteal and thigh muscles, walk uphill. Fenton offers these pointers:
1. Stand tall, eyes on the horizon and derriere tucked in.
2. Focus on quicker, not longer, steps. "Take 135 steps per minute -- that's good calorie-burning, heart-pumping pace."
3. Bend your arms. "Make a 90-degree angle at the elbow -- a compact swing, not flailing." This technique offers almost the same benefits that using arm weights would, without the risks of injury.
Edited by: CMR Canada Source: The Edmonton Journal
Setting the example:
"I commit to you that I will this year take at least two weeks away from work instead of my usual one week".
........... President, Calgary based international energy company while meeting with managers.
Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house, a woman looking out her kitchen window watched the two men as they checked her gas meter.
Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one.
As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong.
Gasping for breath, she replied, "When I see two men from the gas company running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better run too!"
A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
Engineer: What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!
Doctor: I don't know but I've never seen such ineptitude!
Priest: Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him.
Priest: Hi George. Say George, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow aren't they?
George: Oh yes. That's a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight while saving our club house last year. So we let them play here anytime free of charge!
Priest: That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.
Doctor: Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them.
Engineer: Why can't these guys play at night?
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CMR Canada, a national EFAP management firm founded in Alberta in 1990, delivers programs and services that enhance the health and performance capability of individuals and organizations. The firm delivers services to individuals plus their families in organizations located throughout Alberta - Municipal Governments, Hospitals, Unions, Universities, and Corporations and the General Public.
Interventions, the EFAP Journal of CMR Canada, is available to clients without cost.
CMR's organization is simple, efficient, and highly effective leaving the majority of resources, financial and human, to provide service to clients and their families. The firm has extensive experience in designing, implementing, resourcing, evaluating, and managing Assistance Programs.
CMR has an unlimited supply of qualified professionals to engage as needed. Professionals are partnered or on contract to CMR. Included are Psychologists, Registered Social Workers, Family Therapists, Crisis Counsellors, Career Counsellors, and Certified Human Resource Professionals.
Working principles: keep the business small; deliver extraordinary personal service; keep the costs low. This highly efficient and effective business model allows CMR to deliver high quality programs and services at lower cost with increased accountability - and select the most experienced and capable professionals.
CMR Canada - Employee and Family Assistance Programs
Head Office Suite 3500, Bow Valley Square 2 205 - 5 Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta T2P2V7 Telephone (403)263-2200 in Calgary, or 1-800-567-9953 from elsewhere Fax (403)256-8291 E-Mail: CMR Canada
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