Walking could save our schools

Here's information worth considering. If one in 10 Oregon adults started a regular walking program, the state would save $60 million in heart disease expenditures every year.

I don't make this stuff up, folks, honest. This attention-getting item comes from the National Governor's Association (NGA) Report on Healthy Living.

There's more.

That amount of savings is equivalent to paying the college tuition for 10,927 Oregon students each year. I choose to think of it like this. Anyone who starts walking on a regular basis (let's say 30 minutes each day) is helping to educate their great-grandchildren.

Consider it a lifestyle change with macro-impact. But there are loads of other ideas that have impact. How about this — if you don't have a clock radio in your bedroom, think about getting one and setting it to music rather than an alarm. Better yet, get a radio that allows you to record a message and wake up to your own pep talk (This idea came from the helpful hints section of a book titled "Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions").

At our house the message would sound like this, "Good morning, Sharon! Feeling well rested are you? But of course you are. This is going to be a wonderful day. Do you hear the birds singing? Now open your eyes and stretch a bit; climb from your bed — that's right. Stretch again. Now it's time to take your morning walk." (I know, this particular pep talk is slightly hokey and a little contrived — and I run the risk of over-reminding you about the importance of daily exercise — but I'm just attempting to explain how all this might work.)

Stay with me here, there might be something you can use. I believe we can successfully re-think life challenges, little and big. For example, I got a piece of paper jammed in our office copy machine once and retrieved it with a pair of kitchen tongs. It made my whole day.

There's a book by Joan Cleveland on my shelf titled "Simplifying Life as a Senior Citizen: Hundreds of Tips to Make Everyday Living Easier." The author believes, "A problem is something with a solution — that's how you tell it from a catastrophe."

So let's do this — consider taking a problem that's really bothering you and write it down. Get it worded just right. Then re-think it, by listing all the ways you might resolve the problem — in rapid-fire order. No possible solution is too weird; just write them all down. When you're sure you've run out of ideas, wait 30 seconds longer and see whether another idea floats by. Now, look at the list and pick a preferred solution. Try that solution. Give it a good try. (That's how we happen to have kitchen tongs hanging by the frequently-jamming printer in our Extension office.)

Folks like me who work for the Oregon State University Extension Service are known for helping with solutions to all sorts of life's problems. Sometimes we even work on catastrophes. You might want to put our number on that list you're making (776-7371).

Sharon Johnson is an associate professor in health and human services at Oregon State University and on the faculty of the OSU Extension. E-mail her at s.johnson@oregonstate.edu or call 776-7371, Ext. 210.

Share This Story