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Singing River hospital calling walkers to celebrate new path on National Walking Day

Did you know walking can provide the same benefits as a running program?

Walkers may tend to actually miss fewer workouts due to injury than runners do. Who knew? For cardiovascular benefits, the key is walking fast enough to get your heart rate up, according to a site dedicated to walking for fitness.

Wednesday is National Walking Day, and the American Heart Association is dedicating Singing River Health System's new walking path along Beach Boulevard and Oliver Street in Pascagoula at 4 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to grab their friends, family and co-workers, and put on their tennis shoes for a walking celebration on the path.

The Walking Site states that an average of 100 calories is burned walking per mile. When trying to lose weight, a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week is considered a healthy rate. The most widely adapted strategy for losing weight involves a little bit of good ole' arithmetic.

Since 1 pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories, to lose 1 pound of fat in a week, an individual needs to burn an additional 500 calories per day (500 x 7 days = 3,500). Knowing one's base metabolic rate - the rate at which the body burns energy while completely at rest - is a good basis for estimating how many calories they should be consuming every day based on their activity level to lose weight.

To calculate one's metabolic rate, this formula is used:Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years ) Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )

For example, a 50-year-old 150-pound woman who is 5 feet 6 inches (66 inches) in height would have a BMR of 1,382.7.

655 + (652.5) + (310.2) – (235) = 1,382.7

Round that to about 1,380, and that is how many calories her body burns when this woman is asleep.

Theoretically, an effective weight loss plan for anyone would be to burn 250 calories a day through physical activity (such as walking 2 and a half miles) and eating 250 calories less a day. What foods those calories are coming from, however, will make a difference in weight loss results. The general goal is to decrease body fat and increase lean body mass, and that is typically the result of a diet high in nutrient-dense, fiber-rich whole foods like fruits and vegetables and low in processed, refined sugars, breads, oils and saturated and trans-saturated fats.

However, aside from weight loss, walking and other aerobic activities have many other health benefits including improving cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of Type II diabetes and improving mood, according to Mayo Clinic.

The Walking Site considers an average walking pace for fitness to be a 15-minute mile, but will vary depending on fitness level, terrain, goals and walking technique. Race-walking also is an option for those looking for more of a challenge but want to avoid high-impact running.