Summer is prime time to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air…as long as it isn’t too hot. Especially where we live we see an increase in motorcyclists, bikers as well as runners and walkers. As a motorist I have one simple request, please share the road. You would think that this would be common sense, but I think we all know that it isn’t so common anymore.
Let me digress. Summer is typically when I will try and get “long runs” in over the weekend. By long run I mean anything over 5 miles. And anything over 5 miles for me will not be done on a treadmill but rather on the sidewalks and roads. If I am doing long runs it is more likely that I am training. Most road races are held on…you guessed it, roads. While in town I will stick to sidewalks, but once out of town the road it is. Now for cyclists they ride with traffic while runners and walkers go against it. When running I try to stay as far over as I can on the shoulder to give myself and oncoming traffic as much buffer as I can.
The general law when on highways and sidewalks is that a 3 foot buffer is needed when speeds are under 35 mph and 6 feet if the speed limit is over 35 mph. That’s not a whole lot of wiggle room if you ask me. I would suggest that it is better to give as much space as possible rather than risk hitting someone, but maybe that’s just me.
Now maybe you are not a runner, but enjoy walking. That’s great. There are numerous benefits to walking. In reality, any type of movement is good. You don’t need to break a sweat every time. A question often asked is “How fast should I walk?”. The answer appears to be “As fast as you can without losing the ability to hold a conversation”. In other words, walk at a pace that is brisk but does not prevent you from talking to a friend in a normal manner. This is sometimes called the “talk test.”
Walking should be an aerobic exercise. Aerobic means that exercise is carried out at a comfortable pace to ensure that the muscles have sufficient oxygen available. If you are gasping for breath, you are doing anaerobic exercise. Regular aerobic exercise done three times a week for 30 minutes or more will result in increased levels of fitness and aerobic capacity.
An interesting study done at Loughbrough University came up with some very interesting results. The researchers found that walking continuously for 30 minutes 5 days a week provided nearly identical increases in fitness as splitting 30 minutes into three 10-minute walks.
The bottom line is that whatever you choose to do to stay active, do it safely. As a motorist be aware of your surroundings, especially as we get closer to the start of school.
Aaron Fabel, B.A in Exercise Science and Wellness, is the CEO at the Oahe Family YMCA. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.