Health care providers tell patients that walking is one of the best medicines for one's health. One of the goals of the Weston 5K Run and Wellness Walk is to encourage residents to make walking an integral part of life.
The third annual event is scheduled for Saturday through the streets of Weston. The race will start at 10 a.m. at the corner of East Second Street and Center Avenue. Registration forms can be found at www.stonewallhospital.com.
This year, organizers have will again have a quarter-mile run for children 10 and younger. The Wee-Run race will begin at 11 a.m. at the corner of Court Avenue and East Second Street.
John Weber, physical therapist from Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital and one of the race organizers, explained the positive aspects of walking.
"Walking has so many benefits for the human body that it almost sounds like walking is a magic pill. But studies have shown that from heart attack and stroke to hip fracture and glaucoma, walking can reduce the risk of many diseases," Weber said.
He further explained that the most significant benefit for an individual is that walking helps in managing one's weight. By keeping weight within the healthy limits, a person can reduce the risk of heart attack, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis.
Walking also helps to control blood pressure by strengthening the heart so that it can pump more blood with less effort, thus lessening the pressure on the arteries. Staying fit can be as effective as some medications in keeping blood pressure levels down.
A brisk walk for three hours a week, or just a half hour a day, is associated with a 30 percent to 40 percent lower risk of heart disease in women. Walking will also boost the good cholesterol in one's body. The physical activity reduces bad cholesterol, which can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, a major cause of heart attacks. This moderate exercise can also cut the risk of stroke in half.
A 20-year study of 72,000 female nurses showed that regular activity such as walking can reduce the risk of breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Regular walking can even lower the risk of gallstone surgery by 20 percent to 31 percent.
For more information about the race, call J. Spelsberg at 304-269-8167. The event is sponsored by Saint Patrick School, the city of Weston and Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital. There will be cash prizes for the top three finishers in both male and female divisions.