At Westminster Canterbury Richmond one of the most popular ways our residents stay healthy is to simply walk. Walking is the easiest way to increase your overall activity and improve your health. Studies show that those 65 years and older and in general good health need 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, such as brisk walking. Walking each week can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes and high blood pressure. Walking also helps with weight loss, muscular strength and cardiorespiratory fitness.
If you’re a beginner, 10 minutes per day is a reasonable goal to get started. Gradually increase your walking time or the number of days you walk to increase the benefits. To stay motivated set a goal. While you may not literally be able to walk the Appalachian Trail, you can track your daily steps and see how many weeks it will take you to reach the finish line.
Keep safety in mind. Choose a safe area to walk, let a neighbor or friend know your walking schedule or invite them to join you. Wear shoes with proper arch support and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. Divide your walk into three parts: a three minute warm up, gradually increase speed to a brisk walk, and then slow down for three minutes to cool down. Stretching lightly after warm up and cool down helps to keep muscles from getting tight and uncomfortable.
Did you know two out of three Americans are not active at the recommended levels? It’s not hard, so why don’t more people do it? I’ve heard all the excuses. “I’m too busy” and “I don’t have time” are the most frequent. Remember that every journey starts with one step. Take that first step, then the next and before you know it you’re on your way to better health. All you have to do is just walk!
Please consult with a physician before changing your workout or exercise program.
Patti Pickering, Fitness Specialist