a bit down? Need a boost? Put on a comfortable pair of shoes and go for
a walk. A brisk 30-minute walk will lift your spirits and brighten your
Walking ranks as number one on the list of
most popular physical activities for older adults. You can walk almost
anywhere, anytime; it doesn’t cost anything, and it’s virtually
injury-free. You can walk alone, with a partner, or with a group. When
you step out the door you can walk the sidewalks in your area, the bike
trails, nature trails, river trails, and public parks. During the
winter months you can walk indoors on a treadmill, or drive to a nearby
shopping mall and do your walk before the stores open.
years ago when we cardiac patients walked the track at the Toronto
Cardiac Rehab Centre after open heart surgery we knew exactly why we
were there and it wasn’t for a “walk in the park.” It was to improve
our cardiovascular fitness. Walking is an aerobic exercise that gets
your heart beating faster so that it transports oxygen-rich blood from
your lungs to your muscles. It is at the core of rehab treatment for
many ailments, not just for heart problems.
brisk walk is just as beneficial for your health as jogging, but
without the negative side effects. Studies show that done on a regular
basis, walking can reduce blood pressure, increase the efficiency of
your heart and lungs and burn off excess calories. It is my personal
experience that walking up gentle hills reduces the onset of lower back
Always consult with your doctor or health care professional before beginning an exercise program.
fast should you walk? If you’re in good shape you probably walk about 6
km in 60 minutes. That’s a brisk pace. If you are in the 65-plus age
group, your pace may have decreased to about 5 km in 60 minutes, which
is still a good clip. You should know how fast you walk so that you can
establish your goals. Drive your car for a distance of say, two
kilometres. Later, walk that exact same location and distance and
record how many minutes it takes. You can now calculate your walking
speed in minutes per kilometres or minutes per mile. Alternatively, you
can purchase a pedometer to measure the distance you walk.
exercised in some time? No problem. Start off slowly with 15 or 20
minute walks. Increase your pace and your time gradually over a period
of 2 months until you are walking briskly for a total of 30 minutes or
more, four days a week.
Walking is good for
your health, but why not turn it into something more? Make your walks a
pleasurable experience by walking in a park, where you can enjoy the
sights and sounds of the great outdoors. Make walking an enjoyable, fun
experience by sharing it with your spouse, friends and family.
A few tips:
- Wear good walking shoes.
- Your goal: walk at least 30 minutes, 4 days a week.
- Walk at a pace that gives you an aerobic exercise.
- Plan your walking route the night before your walk.
- Walk with a partner or a group. You’ll stick with it longer.
- Keep a record of your outings, so you can look back at your accomplishments.
- Warm-up (run on the spot), then do stretching exercises before your walk.
- Do stretching exercises again after your walk to avoid stiffness.
- Drink plenty of water. Walking is an excellent exercise, but it also
helps you feel better about yourself, improves your attitude, increases
your energy level, and helps control your weight.