Benefits of Walking
March 15, 2023
Looking to achieve the benefits of working out but overwhelmed by the thought of a workout plan? Schedule is too busy to hit the gym? Maybe you don’t even know where to start. We are here to tell you to just start with a simple step. Then another. Then another. And another. Yes, we are talking about walking. A low-impact movement, highly beneficial to your health.
Walking is great for heart health, improving circulation, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping muscles and joints strong, and can even boost your mood!
Benefits for Bone Health
When it comes to the actual act of walking, it is easy on the joints yet can build and strengthen muscles. Walking also increases joint flexibility and range of motion. Increased spinal stability and posture, as well as reduced back pain are additional benefits to maintaining a walking program.
Making a walk part of your daily routine can also help you stay mobile later in life. Walking helps maintain bone mass, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, slows the development of arthritis, and lowers the likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries and hip fractures due to falls.
Benefits for Circulation and Heart Health
Walking lowers the risk of blood clots, as the calf acts as a venous pump, pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart. This reduces the load on the heart. It also elevates your heart rate, strengthens your heart, lowers blood pressure, and decreases the risk of heart disease!
Benefits for Mental Health
The movement of walking increases your energy level and releases serotonin to your brain, which can make you feel more focused, calmer, and happier. Endorphins will also be released. Endorphins help your brain to reduce anxiety and replace it with optimism.
Additionally to the mental benefits, the boost of these chemicals can also stimulate your appetite and improve your sleep cycles!
It has also been found that those who walk more saw a decrease in age-related memory decline like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
And the benefits can be experienced by adding just 30 minutes of walking, five days a week. Of course, we recommend starting out slow if needed. Try to add 15 minutes into your routine and increase time from there as you begin to feel stronger.
Walking does so much for our bodies, and one of the best parts - you don’t have to stick to the gym track or treadmill to get your steps in (however if you enjoy the consistency of the terrain gyms offer, they are a perfect option!). If you are looking for a change of pace and scenery, take advantage of local trails, neighborhood sidewalks, parks, shopping centers, and the list goes on and on.
Tips and Tricks
The first step in ensuring you keep your body healthy while walking is to invest in a quality pair of shoes. Find a shoe that works for your foot - providing adequate arch and ankle support, flexibility, and comfort. There are multiple shoe retailers in our area, including Austin Jarrow, Tortoise and Hare Footwear, and Duluth Running Co. whose teams are knowledgeable and happy to help get you into a shoe that best works for your foot structure and goals.
If you need a bit of extra assistance, try out assistive devices like walking poles or sticks.
We also recommend starting at a casual pace as a warm-up. Then increase your pace gradually along the way. Make sure you are aware of your posture and stride, keeping your toes pointed forward and distributing your weight evenly. At the end of your walk, don’t forget the importance of a cool down. Gradually decrease your pace and stretch if you are feeling any tight muscles.
It is also important to remember to stay hydrated while exercising to avoid fatigue and dehydration.
We can Help
It is important that you enjoy the daily movements you do in order to stick with a routine for your health. We hope walking is a step in the right direction for you!
If you experience any pain, injury, or concerns please reach out to your healthcare provider or our team at Orthopaedic Associates to schedule an appointment. Our team of physicians, physician assistants, therapists, and athletic trainers are highly knowledgeable and will work together with you to help put your best foot forward.
Contact us at https://www.oaduluth.com/contact.php.