Walk Your Way to Better Health

WalkingWhy let wintery weather sidetrack your exercise goals? It’s time to bundle up, put on your walking shoes and explore our spectacular scenery. Dr. Ari Gilmore offers this advice on how to get moving.

One great aspect of walking is that you can do it in any weather—without investing in expensive equipment or joining an athletic club. Walking 30 to 60 minutes daily at a moderate pace burns fat, lowers blood pressure and strengthens bones, muscles and joints. It may also reduce risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, various cancers and osteoporosis.

If you are just starting a walking program:

  • See your doctor if you don’t currently exercise, have diabetes or high blood pressure, or are over 65.
  • Get fitted for a good pair of walking or running shoes.
  • Dress in layers so you can respond to changing conditions.
  • Stay hydrated. Carry water if it’s warm or you’ll walk for more than an hour.

When walking, don’t lean forward or backward. Stand straight, relax your shoulders, and bend your arms and swing them to add power to your walk. If you are feeling out of shape, start slowly and add a few minutes to your walk each date. If you have a pedometer or fitness monitor, begin with 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day and build from there.

If you experience pain in your feet or elsewhere, try resting up for a day. If you see swelling or bruising, treat it with rest, ice, compression and elevation (often referred to as RICE). If symptoms persist beyond 48 hours, make an appointment with your doctor.

Here’s to your winter explorations!