Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wine, Walking, Wellness - How do they fit together?

Since my novel, Flourish, is set in a vineyard in Pennsylvania’s bucolic Lehigh Valley, I often read about wine events taking place in the state. On June 22nd and 23rd, at the Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony there is a big one, The Great Tastes of Pennsylvania Wine and Food Festival. Franklin Hill Vineyards, the inspiration for Flourish, has more information about the festival on their website (and you can read about the history of the vineyard, their French hybrid grapes, and view photos of its beautiful setting).

If you are not in driving distance to this festival, why not check the internet for one nearer to where you live? Attending is a great way to taste some wine and get some exercise all at the same time.  Festivals, Expos, and similar events are terrific places to add to your number of steps per day. There’s a great deal written about how many steps a day, calculated by a pedometer, correlate with a healthy lifestyle.  The following is taken from an article from April 22, 2013.

1)    Under 5000 steps a day may be used as a "sedentary lifestyle index"

2)     5,000-7,499 steps a day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered "low active."

3)     7,500-9,999 likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered "somewhat active."

4)     10,000 steps a day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as "active".

5)     Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps a day are likely to be classified as "highly active".


Further research has shown that 10,000 steps per day is not a magic number, but it is a good indicator of a healthy lifestyle.  10,000 steps is equivalent to walking 5 miles per day, which is difficult to accomplish unless you have a job where you’re on your feet all day, like a nurse, teacher, or a waiter. You can achieve it, though, if you add a 30-60 minute walk into your day, each day, or breaking up those walks into three to six 10 minute segments. If you think about it, that’s not so difficult to do. Leave your car at home and walk to do some of your errands.  Or park a little farther from your destination rather than looking for the closest spot.  Or go to a wine festival, walk and sip. Don’t forget: Red wine has health benefits, too!

 I’ve read that 2,000-2,500 steps equal a mile. People who live in cities or commute to cities by train or bus and then walk to their office can easily accomplish that. So, it’s you folks (and me) in the suburbs and rural areas that need to walk to the store. Since we’re on the subject of wine, how about walking to your nearest wine shop? And then, when you walk home you’ll be carrying some extra weight which is also beneficial. More resistance work easily added into your day and a great way to build some arm strength and bone density. Too far to walk it? OK, drive over, but like I said before park farther away. Add some steps to your day.  It’s the amount of steps that matter for a healthy lifestyle, not how fast you take them. We all walk at different speeds depending on our age and ability so I’m not telling you how fast to walk. Just keep moving! 

Also, with all this “talk” about wine, please don’t think I’m promoting imbibing in alcoholic beverages. I’m promoting walking, and since I enjoy an occasional glass of wine I thought strolling around a wine festival would be a fun way to accomplish both.  As long as your health allows, enjoy that glass of wine and keep to Aristotle’s concept of everything in moderation. And keep moving!

To learn the stretches you should do after you walk, actually stretches I recommend for every day, take a look at my Dec. 5, 2011 blog “Did Charles Dickens stretch his hamstrings? Do you?”





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