Bookmark and Share

To your health: take a walk

Can you walk away from this — an exercise that is relatively safe, convenient, inexpensive, and requires little previous experience, yet promises many of the benefits previously associated with more intense workouts?

No, then take a walk.

How much you should walk depends upon your health and your current level of fitness and the goals of your exercise program. If walking is your only form of aerobic exercise, 10 to 12 miles a week is recommended. This amount will generally enable most people to meet the standard guidelines that encourages some form of aerobic exercise three to five times a week for 15 to 60 minutes per session, performed at a moderately challenging intensity.

If you are new to exercise, it may take you several weeks to work up to this amount. Start with as little as one mile a session at first. Increase your distance by no more than ten percent a week and cut back if you are having any signs of injury.

Even a little walking is better than no walking. If you cannot make 10 miles a week, don’t give up! Public health reports have shown that the greatest gains in long term health accrue to absolutely sedentary people who had even a small amount of walking, say 15 to 20 minutes a day, to increase their lives.

If you are walking to increase cardiovascular endurance, target heart rates are very helpful here. To increase your aerobic capacity, you will need to exercise at about 60 to 80 percent of your predicted maximum heart rate. Your predicted maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. For example, a 40-year-old would have a predicted maximum heart rate of 180, and a target heart rate range of 108 to 144.

To find out whether your heart rate is in your target zone, take a 15-second pulse after you have been walking for at least five minutes. You can divide your target heart rate by four to get the beats needed in a 15-second count. If your heart rate is too slow, increase your pace. If you are taking medication that alters your heart rate, then these formulas will not work for you. Check with your physician about correct exercise intensity.

People with a high fitness level sometimes have difficulty reaching their target heart-rate zones when walking. If you live near some hills (which many of us do), find a hilly route. Some people find hand weights helpful — as long as you pump your arms, this works. People with back problems may find that walking with hand weights hurts their backs.

Walking conditions the cardiovascular system, helps maintain bone density, burns calories and reduces stress. But it does not do much for muscular strength and flexibility. An ideal exercise program would include some resistance exercise, such as calisthenics or weight training, and some stretching as well.

Enjoy your walk.

Fishing Derby

The Pagosa Lakes Annual Kids Fishing Derby last Friday was a great success; all the kids had an unbelievable time catching fish.

It was one of the best fishing days we’ve had in years at the derby. The trout were hitting hard and often, as well as some bass and perch. Every kid received a prize and enjoyed a hot dog lunch following the prize awards.

We would like to thank Eagle Mountain Mercantile for a generous discount on all the prizes for the kids. Eagle Mountain has always been a big supporter of the fisheries programs in Pagosa Lakes, especially those programs involving the kids. The lakes have all recently been stocked with trout, bass, crappie and bluegill and additional trout will be stocked next week in Lake Forest, Lake Pagosa and Village Lake.

I would also like to announce that the PLPOA recently selected a contractor to construct the pedestrian and bicycle pathway on Lake Forest Circle. This is phase II of the Lake Forest Circle trail project. The bike path will continue southeast from where it was ended last year, beginning at Lyn Avenue and heading all the way up to North Pagosa Boulevard and connecting to the existing pathway there. The pathway will be an 8-foot-wide asphalt trail with a small section of concrete curb and gutter sidewalk where the seasonal drainage passes under the road near the Vista Boulevard intersection. Work will begin on the project very soon and hopefully by summer’s end another piece of important connecting trail will be complete.

Next year, we hope to continue work on the paved Park Avenue pedestrian and bicycle trail, making a connection from where the trail ends now at Eagles Loft Circle all the way up to Cloudcap Avenue in Lake Pagosa Park. The county and the PLPOA narrowly missed a state trails grant this spring that would have made the Park Avenue trail extension possible this year.