Exercise and Fitness

“More exercise may not necessarily be better.  Running faster and farther isn't necessarily better.  There is a tipping point after which exercise does not become as beneficial in terms of mortality.   A new study in the journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that light joggers may outlive more intense runners.  The study said that the benefits for moderate joggers is substantial.  The study showed that light joggers had a reduced mortality of about 78%; moderate joggers reduced the mortality by about  34%; and strenuous joggers actually had the same mortality as a sedentary non-jogger.

“The best prescription for light jogging was a slow and steady pace at about 5 mph, exercising 2-3 times per week, for 1 - 2 1/2 hours per week, which is healthier than jogging much harder.  Intense, fast running can shorten your life to the same mortality as a sedentary non-jogger.

“Exercise does wonders for us in terms of blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.  However, when you perform exercise to extreme levels, the theory is that you are potentially causing structural or ultra-structural damage to the heart.  You are causing possible side effects which change the loading conditions on the heart, so the function may be reduced.  There is increased blood volume to the heart, less efficient pumping of blood, thickening of cardiac tissue, arrhythmia, and damage to the arteries which may form earlier calcification or stiffening.      "Slow and Steady," Dr. Tara Narula, Cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, CBS This Morning, February 3, 2015

  • One in three Americans are currently deemed obese, and 2/3 of American adults are overweight.  Among children ages 6 to 11, about 19% are overweight.  

What You Can Do
  • Encourage your family to start a physical fitness routine.  Enjoy a variety of physical activities, such as gardening, walking, biking, swimming, sports…
  • Teach children to exercise—jumping, stretching, catching, lifting.  Children who enjoy exercise when young will more likely stay active throughout their lives.  
  • Walk for exercise, and clean the environment.  Take gloves and a bag as you walk, and pick up litter in your neighborhood, park, school grounds, or along a trail.  
  • “Walking and Hiking in Spokane County” is a brochure available at any local library.  This hiking map details 8 scenic routes, city parks and trails, and calculates the distance and time, steps, and calories burned for each route.  To learn more, download this map and learn about other scenic or historic trails and parks. http://srhd.org/topics/walkingmaps.asp
  • Organize a run, walk or race to support an important cause or charity.    
  • Promote neighborhood games.  Set up a basketball hoop, but do NOT place it next to the street and facing the street.  That is illegal, because it makes the County liable for injuries which occur while playing basketball on county-owned property.  
  • Organize a “Bowl for Charity.”  There are more than 100 bowling leagues in Spokane County.  
  • Remember – When driving to a park or trail to exercise, secure your valuables (wallets, purses, and other items which are easily pawned) in the trunk of your car, or leave them home. Thieves prowl these areas.  Also, check out the parking area for potential suspects who are seated in a vehicle and do not appear to be intent on using the trail.  Simple eye contact, and obviously noting the license plate number and vehicle description, may persuade would-be prowlers to move on to some other locale.  
  • Teach children swimming and water safety, an enjoyable exercise and life skill.  Help keep your kids safe in the water with properly fitting life jackets.  Look for a “USCG Approved” (U.S. Coast Guard) life jacket.  To check the fit, place the jacket on a child, and pick up the child by the shoulders of the jacket.  The child’s ears and chin should not slip through the jacket.  Remember—water wings are no substitute for a life jacket.  They create a false sense of security, and can actually increase the chance of children drowning.  (Dr. Tami Simmerman, Valley Young People’s Clinic)  
  • Gardening.  Plant and work in a garden for exercise and healthy eating.  
  • Volunteer to teach an exercise class.  Physical fitness experts can lead exercise classes in community centers.  
  • Purchase a pedometer to encourage you to exercise every day.  Research shows that pedometer users increase their physical activity by about 27%, walking about one more mile a day than they did before they started their step-counting routines.  Walking can contribute to weight loss and lowering of blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. 

    Pedometers, also called step counters, clip to your belt or waistband and count the steps you take during the day.  By recording the number of steps you have taken at the end of each day, you can set goals for yourself and monitor your own progress.  Pedometers range in price from $5 to $60; however, simple, reliable models cost around $20. 
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

American Heart Association
Heart Walk in May, 536-1500      

Friends of the Centennial Trail


Kid Sports. 
Indoor sport facility with professionally designed curriculum
to develop motor skills, promote physical fitness, and create self confidence.  A fun, non-competitive environment.   534-5437  

Out There Monthly
The Inland Northwest Guide to Outdoor Recreation