Monday, March 12, 2012

Walking with a Purpose

By: Judi Stuart
Port Discover - Visitor Services Manager

Walking with a Purpose

Walking is my preferred type of exercise. In fact, jumping around and sweating is not my style at all. I definitely need motivation, and Port Discover is providing that for all of us.

“Worth the Walk” is the latest community program designed by Port Discover and supported by the Albemarle Hospital Foundation in collaboration with Vidant Health through their Community Benefit Grants Program.

The objective is for individuals, or community group teams, to get out and get walking! To register, go to the “Worth the Walk” link at Port Discover, through an on-line program, will record steps taken by members, with an overall to see how far across the country, or even the world, citizens will walk. A map posted in the Port Discover window will be regularly updated to show the community’s progress.

Walking maps of the Elizabeth City historic districts, provided in part by the Elizabeth City Historic Neighborhood Association, can be found on the Worth the Walk page at The maps include supplemental activities and exercises that can be done along the way.

We all know that walking is good for us, but how, specifically? In searching for the answer, I found, the site for Rodale News, “where health meets green.” The organization is the publisher of Prevention Magazine and many other science and health publications. An early pioneer in promoting organic farming, J. I. Rodale’s family has carried on the traditions and promotes all things healthy.

Leah Zerbe in her article, “8 Astonishing Benefits of Walking” says that the activity often helps insulin resistant people from developing type 2 diabetes. Besides helping to bring desire and satisfaction to your love life, it can help to reduce your need for some medications.

Another way walking might save you money. Exploring the great outdoors and discovering the rich history of downtown Elizabeth City are free, and your outlook on life might also improve from the exposure to the beauty of nature and the stories of our community’s past.

Much focus has been placed on the need to walk 10,000 steps per day. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia pain can be reduced by walking and stretching. Mental capacity, energy, and depression can also be increased by exercise.

Women who walked the year before being diagnosed with breast cancer have been found to be 30% more likely to survive the disease. Those who walked after being diagnosed had a 45% greater chance of surviving according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Walking when done 30 minutes per day for 5 days per week has been found to lower the risk of stroke. Vigorous walking and the increased flow of blood to the brain have been found to produce a 27% lower risk of dementia.

All of those benefits are impressive, extremely motivating, and definitely worth the walk. Come join us! Bring your family!

Check out these links:
Elizabeth City's Self-guided Historic Walking Tour : National Historical Districts
Pasquotank County's Neighborhood Walking Mileage
Dismal Swamp State Park
Dismal Swamp Trails
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