When you enter ‘national holiday’ on a search engine, the text, ‘how to not get fat after the holiday,’ appears. This result shows that, during Chuseok, lots of women are stressed by high calorie Korean traditional holiday food. If you also feel this way, there is an easy solution. It is to walk. Is it too simple and commonplace? Gyohyun, a reporter at SMT, went on a 3-week walking experience to investigate whether walking is really the golden key to invigoration. Below is the story.
Ready, Set, Walk!
The assigned task was to walk 10,000 steps a day. For an accurate measurement, the mobile application Accupedo was used instead of a step counter since it was more difficult than expected to find a portable one. Activity hour, gender, height, weight and sensitivity of sensor* were recorded. Especially, sensitivity of sensor plays an important role when measuring the precise number of steps one makes while carrying a mobile phone. To do so, the application must consider one’s stride and movement. I could choose from very sensitive to very insensitive, but I opted for ‘slightly sensitive’ to most accurately reflect my walking style. After walking, the total number of steps is shown on a graph, which is convenient. After downloading the app, before trying the task, measurements showed that I usually walked about 2,000 steps a day. ‘Must I really walk five times more than usual a day?’ It made me sigh unconsciously. Looking back on my daily life, most of my time was spent in front of a table or at café with friends, which did not involve walking.
Briskly but Cautiously
On day 1, only 8,823 steps were recorded. Despite an obvious improvement compared to the typical 2,000 steps, the total was lower than 10,000. This failure led to anticipation and resulted in step recordings of 11,049, 16,752, and 15,882 on the next three days. However, happiness from improving walking efficacy, didn’t last long; the body soon showed it couldn’t cope with the sudden exercise. Walking unconsciously on hot summer days, pain was felt in my feet, waist, and all other parts of the body. The realization that it was obviously a result of wearing wedge heels all day long led to changes. Besides, long works hours works without drinking water makes the body lack insufficient moisture supply. Pain led to moaning all night, so proper posture for walking was necessary.
To walk properly, the knees should be straight with one’s arms free to sway naturally. It is also most efficient to walk by touching the ground in order of heel, center of the foot and then toes. High wedge heels don’t allow the feet or waist to cope with huge pressures. According to MBC Newsdesk, “Shoes show whether one’s way of walking is appropriate or not. If the outside of the back is the most worn out part and from the backside to the frontside of the sole is evenly worn out, one is walking properly. However, one is incorrectly walking if the big toe or front ball part of the shoe is worn out.”1 Moreover, at least 10 minutes of rest should follow each 30 minutes of walking, all the while drinking fresh water. Last but not least, wearing a broad-brimmed hat can protect one from extended exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which can cause health problems such as skin cancer.
Best Record at Oahu
With a broad-brimmed hat on my head, a water bottle in hand and cozy sneakers, I set out again. Instead of riding public transportation for short distances, walking was my preferred choice and walking Hyochang Park after dinner became daily routine. I was able to hike Diamond Head at Oahu by participating in a 10-day excursion to Hawaii under the Global Explorer Program. The hike started at 12 p.m, the hottest hour of the day, so it was very smart to bring along a water bottle. 2 hours of hiking presented the beautiful scenery of Waikiki Beach and charming houses along the path. On that day, 21,518 steps were recorded. Sadly, during the hike, due to profuse sweating, the rescue corps and an emergency helicopter had to appear because one of the group tourists passed out from heat exhaustions. Therefore, walking is obviously good for health, but walking without enough preparation is toxic, which the quote from Benjamin Franklin best summarizes, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
A Sound Mind in a Sound Body
Walking is known to provide lots of positive effects like promoting blood circulation, improving bone health, and losing weight. After 3 weeks of continuous walking, I found the biggest benefit to be relief of stress because walking offered time for introspection. What’s more, walking steadily stimulated good eating habits during the hot days of summer when it is easy to loss one’s appetite or eat irregularly. In this way, walking is both mentally and physically efficacious. Family doctor, Park Sangjun recommends people walk at least 6,000 steps a day, saying, “Nowadays, the amount of walking people do is absolutely insufficient. Active infants walk 25,000 steps a day whereas normal businesspeople commute by public transportation walk only 1,000 steps a day.”2
A sound mind in a sound body is a familiar phrase, and to make your mind and body salutary, how about walking 30 minutes a day?
* It measures the power of your movement by a sensor.
1 Kim Jihoon, “Incorrect Walking Spoils Health… How to Walk Properly,” MBCNEWS, April 11, 2013
2 Yi Hyunji, "‘Emperor of Thumb,’ ‘Good Walk’ Prevents Stroke•Uterine Myoma," SSTV, May 20, 2014