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Walking over to the fountain of youth

  • August 19, 2009
  • RPh on the Go

Hello, my fellow readers. I have been away for several weeks doing volunteer talk to our senior citizens around the greater metro-Orlando area. I have been doing this for quite some time and it is a great opportunity to give back to my community. This speaking tour started seven years ago when an elderly man, who attended one of my talks about medications in New Jersey, bumped into me at a local grocery store in Florida, where we now both lived. He thanked me for a talk about blood pressure medication (more than 10 years ago) at his church and asked me if I was willing to do the same again at the senior centers in Orlando. I obliged and prepared my talk. Well, instead of a one-day talk, it continued for the next several weeks after work at various location in the greater Orlando area.

At first I had no idea how to approach this talk, but then I had a thought. Beside talking about their medications, I wanted to add something special. I began putting together a theme to my talks and it became a hit. So, this is how it went: After we discussed their concerns about their medication and had our “Q&A” period, I ended the lecture about a passion that I am a strong advocate and that is the importance of walking. I had them leaning toward me to absorb what I had to say, and I saw several of them readjusting their hearing aids. The following is part of my prepared talk on walking.

I explain that there are certain health goals we all as we get up in age. The obvious are trying to live longer, live free from pain and certain ailments, and find that fountain of youth. I said that I wasn’t selling anything, but I did find a secret that will keep me living longer, free from certain illness, and rejuvenating my lost youth. To attain those goals you don’t need to look far but to start walking. Walking is the best medicine for halting the ageing process, keeping the weight off, and reducing the chances of certain ailment like high blood pressure and osteoporosis. All you need is a nice pair of walking shoes or sneakers and some good common sense. It’s good for anyone out of shape or not a jock. It is not stressful and you don’t need to sweat a ton to reap the benefits. Walking is the most convenient way to exercise and it could be done on the cheap. Walking will strengthen your bones, tone your muscles, condition the heart, control your weight, improve posture, and improve self-esteem. Walking works every muscle in the body, improves circulation, and maintaining an efficient metabolism since a good part of it is lost when we get older.

After giving my talk, I was bombarded with lots of questions. One good question is about walking and weight loss. The elderly lady asked if eating less without exercising is okay. I explained to her that dieting without exercising will often leads to getting fatter later in time. I said that you will see an initial drop in weight, but most low calorie diets consist losing mostly water and muscle. When the weight returns, it usually comes back as fat. Therefore, to avoid getting fatter over time, you need to maintain a certain metabolism to prevent it from happening and walking is the easiest way to achieve it.

A gentleman asked me why walking is the best way. I told him that you don’t need special equipment or a gym membership. You can walk any place, anywhere, at your own paces, at any time, and with fewer interruptions from a busy lifestyle. It is extremely convenient.

Another good question came from a gentleman who asked how walking brings weight lost. I told him that to get to that stage in losing weight we need to challenge ourselves than some casuals stroll in the park. To achieve that weight loss we need to walk at a pace that is consistent and a tad more challenging than a leisurely walk in the park. I explain to the group that each one in the room is different and only each individual will know that pace they can tolerate. I said to start slowly and increase the pace over time as you become more able. The goal is 30 minutes a day. I also added that slow and casual walking has its benefits, but if your looking to lose the weight, a brisk steady walk for 30 minutes will do the job.

I ended my talks by giving some useful facts. I found the information on the internet. I said that taking a three-minute walk after each meal is worth a four-pound reduction of body fat in one year’s time. Also, if you are able to take the stairs than the elevator, you can lose four pounds of body fat in one year time if walk two flights of stairs.

For what was supposed to be an hour talk, it went on for two-and-a-half hours. I don’t mind at all. I felt good sharing my experience and knowledge on something I love doing. Keeping healthy is my priority. Like the old adage, “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.”

Cyrus Pacis is a pharmacist who often works on long-term relief pharmacy jobs through RPh on the Go.

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