Walk your way to a happier, healthier you
WALKING is our cheapest, easiest way to get our bodies moving towards living a happier and healthy life in our senior years.
It doesn't have to be vigorous, but we do need to commit to doing it every day.
Walking is the perfect way to improve your health. It's low impact and requires no equipment, just comfortable clothing and footwear.
You can turn it into a social activity or enjoy the peace of walking alone.
Overweight, obese or near-weight; everyone can benefit from some gentle walking exercise every day.
If you think about, most of us are already walk every day. But, do we do enough? Usually our bodies will tell us when we need to get off the couch, out of the office chair, leave the car behind and get our legs and arms moving.
Here's some tips to help you get moving, or perhaps help you to return to walking after a short new-year break.
Six health benefits:
- 1/ It's weight bearing as you are carrying your own weight.
- 2/ Great way to improve your heart and lung fitness.
- 3/ Improves bones and balance.
- 4/ Reduces body fat.
- 5/ Improves strength and endurance.
- 6/ You can do it alone, with a friends or with a whole group.
What, when and how -
- Talk to your doctor before you start if you not sure about your health status.
- Ensure you are wearing appropriate shoes with good support and non-slippery sole.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes suiting the temperature and protecting against sunburn.
- Fill up your water bottle and carry it with you.
- Warm up before every walk by starting with a slow pace.
- Get moving every day for 30 minutes, as a minimum.
- Aim for 10,000 steps every day, either in one walk or several walks throughout your day.
- As your fitness improves, you will be able to walk a longer distance and use more energy.
- Make your walk as brisk as your fitness can handle.
- Sing or talk while you walk to improve your lung health.
- Walk on grass rather than concrete to help absorb the impact.
- Do some gentle calf muscle stretches when you finish your walk. Careful not to strain yourself.
- Get yourself a pedometer so you can track your steps. There are cheap ones around.
- Make your walks interesting by changing the places you walk, who you walk with, or maybe the time of day you walk.
Don't stop at 30 minutes.
Get up and get walking short distances whenever you can -
- Park the car a little bit further from the shops.
- Walk to the local shops.
- Walk to the post office.
- Walk to where you are going to have lunch, and more.
- Take the stairs, or at least one or two flights, instead of the lift.
- Get off the bus or train one stop earlier and walk to work or home.
- Walk the dog or help your neighbour by walking theirs.
- Walk up slight hills to start and then aim for walking up steeper hills when you are ready.
- Use the steps in the park for a quick change to walking on a pathway.
- Walk with hand weights, but be sure you don't overdo the weight.
- Increase your walking speed gradually by every so often including some short, quick steps between your moderate walking pace.
- Walk for longer periods.
If you really enjoy walking with others, then use the Heart Foundation website to find a walking group near you; go to http://walking.heartfoundation.org.au.
Time to get walking!