If you want to walk to reach your health goals, you need to follow a good walking routine. Walking is the easiest way to maintain your health, especially as you get older. But no matter how old you are, however, you can walk. Whether you do it slowly or quickly depends on your health and fitness level, the advice of your doctor and your personal goals.
The back specialists at the Southeastern Spine Institute are always available to consult about any back pain you’re experiencing. When you’re pain-free and walking is your chosen exercise, strive to walk five times a week. While your doctor warns you to start slowly, for maximum benefit, work your way up to 150 minutes of brisk walking a week. Research shows every hour of brisk walking increases your life expectancy by two hours!
Walking is perhaps the best medicine and cure for a number of health problems, including:
- Bone health
- Muscle strength
- Low energy level and stamina
- Flexibility in your spine, making your back feel better
- Sleep problems
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- High cholesterol levels
- Heart disease and stroke prevention
- Even cancer
Get Set and Go Walking
Walking is easier on your legs than running. You don’t need any special equipment or have to spend tons of money. You don’t even need to join a gym to reap the benefits. But to stay healthy and free from injury, you do need several things, including:
- Supportive walking shoes that are comfortable, with a good bounce ratio
- Clothes that allow your body to breathe while keeping its temperature down
- A place that inspires you to walk and is free from tripping hazards and other dangers
Always start your walking routine with some stretching exercises to warm up your muscles. This is especially important when you’ve been inactive for some time. Breathe naturally when you walk. If you’re out of breath, slow down. Swing your arms naturally by your side and focus on your form and posture to build your core, which is vital to support your back.
Motivation for Your Walking Routine
The same old walking routine can get boring, fast. To prevent this, add variety. One of the easiest ways to do this is to get a walking buddy. Persuade your neighbor, a sibling, your spouse or even one of your kids to walk with you. If they aren’t available, consider adopting or fostering a dog. Dogs love to walk, so you both can explore a new walking routine together.
Other things you can do to get your body moving:
- Change the rhythm of your walk. Alternate between walking fast and walking slowly, maybe five minutes at a time.
- Walk uphill or downhill, if you have variety where you live.
- Climb stairs whenever you can.
- Park at the far end of the parking lot at work place or the supermarket.
- Go to the mall and window shop as you walk.
- Use a pedometer to see how many steps you get in a day or start a competition with yourself.
- Listen to your favorite music or an audio book while you walk.
- Explore your local art or science museum.
- Try different spaces to walk; look for green grass, sandy beaches or a swimming pool.
Before you start any new exercise, including a walking routine, check with the spine specialists from the Southeastern Spine Institute first. They’ll tell you if walking is a good fit for your current health.