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Get walkin’
There is a long laundry list of benefits
to walking several times a week. It’s
a terrific way to stay physically fit
and control your weight. It reduces
the impact of illness or disease (such
as diabetes, osteoporosis and some
cancers) and it also enhances flexibility,
mobility, endurance and balance,
something with which older people
often struggle. Those who are “walkers”
tend to sleep better at night and
experience cognitive improvements,
Regular exercise has also proven to
boost your demeanour – rarely will
you find a cranky exerciser in a gym or
on a walking path. It can also give you
added energy throughout the day.
Tips on walking
If you’d like to start walking on a
regular basis, then heed this advice:
Start off slowly
. Don’t just dive into
daily two-hour walks. If you haven’t
been very active in the last several
months, ease yourself into a walking
In fact, it’s probably a good idea
to mention to your GP that you’re
considering a new exercise regimen
ahead of time and make sure that he or
she approves.
Wear proper footwear
. This is
extremely important if you want to
make your walking treks as beneficial
as possible. Nothing will turn you off of
walking quicker than a bad blister, and
injury is more common in those who
are wearing improper footwear.
Warm-up and cool-down
. It can be
dangerous to go from lying on the
couch or in bed to power walking
through the mall. Warm up by
increasing your pace and heart rate
gradually, and the same goes for
ending your walk.
Set some goals
. Give yourself
something to work toward. If at first
you can only walk non-stop for 15
minutes, strive to get that up to 30
minutes by the end of the month. It
might even be a good idea to purchase
a pedometer – see how far you walk
in a day and start increasing that
incrementally. It can make the pastime
all the more enjoyable when you can
track and actually see your progress.
Listen to your body
. If, at any time
during your walks you feel pain or
discomfort, stop. If the problem
persists, be sure to have it checked out
by a doctor.
Stay hydrated
. Drinking plenty of
water during any form of exercise is
imperative. Keep a water bottle with
you at all times.
Find a friend
(or several) and start a
walking club
. It will likely encourage
you to participate more frequently.
Make it “an event” by finishing off with
breakfast or lunch together afterward.
Most people want to become more
active later in life, but don’t know
where to begin. Walking is the perfect
starting point. It could then lead to
trying other activities, such as an
organized sports league or an exercise
class that’s a bit more intense. The most
important thing is to just get moving.
Everything else (positive) will
naturally follow.
The benefits of the simple exercise of walking
by Jennifer Cox
Walking is one of the easiest forms of physical activity and, yet, it has a number
of complex benefits that make it a fantastic all-around exercise. From improving
heart health and your mood to being relatively low-impact, seniors who walk
on a regular basis quickly discover an overall improvement to their well-being.