These Shoes are made for Walking

These Shoes are made for Walking
            Now that Summer is just around the corner and we are able to become more active outside, those Tennis Shoes are itching to get some miles in! Walking is a way to enjoy the weather, exercise for free and reward you with great health benefits.
            The benefits of walking include: lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, manage your weight and diabetes, improve mood and stay fit. For those who have joint aches and pain, walking is a form of low-impact exercising that allows you to be in charge of time, distance and speed.  All it takes is routine walking to obtain these benefits.
When starting a walking program you want to prepare yourself for possible injuries such as blisters or muscle pain. Getting the proper footwear that is comfortable and has appropriate support will help ease you into a program. Other important factors to remember are:

  • Clothing (dress in layers if the weather is questionable and bright colors or reflective tape if walking at night).
  •  Proper posture (chin up and shoulders back, swing arms and make sure your heels hit the pavement first then shift your weight forward to roll off your toes).
  •  Warming up (walk at a slower pace for 5 minutes then stretch, holding each for 20-30 seconds)  Cooling down (decrease speed for the last 5 minutes and repeat stretches). Stretches to include are calf, quadriceps and hamstrings; keeping these muscles warm with help prevent injury.
If you are new to the walking scene, begin slowly and keep it short. For example start walking daily for 10 to 15 minutes increasing time as you feel comfortable and remember to keep yourself motivated.
Motivation is the psychological arousal of oneself to take action toward a desired goal. Keeping yourself motivated to stay on track is the hard part. Following a few simple steps will help to maintain your goals.
Accountability- Find a friend and track your progress    
Having someone to workout with, feeding off of each other’s energy is a good way to keep going. Make a chart or journal your activities so you can make adjustments as you go and challenge yourself each time.
Be prepared and Plan ahead
            Get your exercising clothes ready the night before. It is easy to miss out on a workout because you “forgot your clothes.” Having your gear ready is one less obstacle in the way of keeping you motivated. Nutrition plays an important role in your journey. Keeping healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, at your finger tips will give you the energy to stay on track.
Mix it up and keep it is reasonable
            Walking isn’t the only thing you can do to get some miles on those shoes and keep you healthy. Mix it up during the week, one day you may be biking or walking and the next maybe taking a fitness class or home DVD. Changing the type of exercise will keep it fun and less likely to get bored.
Routine
            Last but not least find the time of day that works best for you. You may be a morning person and can start you day with a workout or maybe you can go during your lunch break or after work. Finding that time will help you stay on course.

Staying motivated can be hard at times, getting a friend or family member to join you will help keep it fun and safe. If you slip up a day or two don’t be too hard on yourself; remember tomorrow is a new day, revisit your goals and keep going! Remember to consult with your doctor before starting a new program, to make sure your body is ready for the new regimen.  

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Andover Physical Therapy  

June 4th, 2015

Posted In: General

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