Walking—as a form of exercise—might seem dull to some in this age of high-tech exercise gadgets, gizmos, New Age hip personal “celebrity” trainers and infomercial “get in shape” fads. Not so for the Internet’s walking guru/cheerleader/nurse/champion Wendy Bumgardner, a certified marathon coach and expert on walking for health and sport.
Research indicates a daily brisk walk helps shed excess weight, control blood pressure, strengthens the heart muscle and helps lower the risk of a stroke, breast and colon cancer and developing diabetes. It boosts good cholesterol while lowering the bad, strengthens bones, relieves arthritis, improves vitality and elevates mood by alleviating depression and anxiety. It is free, easy to do, incredibly safe and does not require special equipment.
Clearly, walking is the king of all exercise.
Queen of Walking
Every king needs a queen, and the queen of walking is definitely Bumgardner. Since 1996, she has been About.com’s Walking Guide.
Her site is a wealth of information about walking for fitness and sport. It covers everything from basic stretching exercises to the latest accessories and various esoteric and walking-related issues including nipple chafing, incontinence and how to react to a flasher on the trail. Her site helps people realize they are not the only ones having these problems.
Passionate About Walking
For Bumgardner, knee surgery was the spark that ignited her life-long passion for walking. The surgery left her with debilitating foot drop syndrome. This can occur when the nerve that causes the muscles to lift up our foot (to flex the foot) is injured or damaged. This is a known complication of knee surgery and it can be temporary or last for life. Bumgardner’s husband, an avid walker, urged her to go on a Volkssport walk, a six-mile non-competitive walk in Oregon.
Bumgardner says she didn’t think she could walk one mile, let alone six. She not only finished the walk, but was awarded a medal. From then on, she was hooked on walking.
Bumgardner says writing about walking for the About.com site has allowed her to help millions of people a year and thousands each week.
“I get a steady stream of e-mails thanking me for my half marathon and marathon training programs and advice. My readers let me know I have changed their lives for the better,” she says.
In addition, discussing walking for About.com has given her a great outlet for her passion for writing and has allowed her to make a few bucks, too!
“Walking is a great exercise for those who really don’t necessarily like exercise,” Bumgardner says. More than exercise, she loves walking because of its unique ability to connect you with the world around you. Clearly, walking on a trail or just about anywhere outdoors creates a spiritual connection, unlike pumping the leg press in the local gym.
Bumgardner’s passion for walking comes through in her writing, giving her articles and posts a unique voice.
“I’m not a reporter. I’m a walker,” she says and, adds she is “embedded.” She lives the topic. It is not just a job. It is her main form of exercise, and she intertwines walking with her social activities, recreation, and vacations.
“If I want to review a half marathon, I pay the entry fee and walk the event myself, rather than report from the sidelines.”
Bumgardner has truly made a difference in the mental, spiritual and physical health of people around the world and I applaud her for her passion and hard work. Her site is one of my favorites and every time I visit, I learn something new and interesting. I often find myself spending a lot of time there!
I highly recommend you visit Bumgardner’s site and begin learning about the fascinating benefits of the oldest—and still the best—form of physical activity, walking.