If you've been walking less lately, now is a good time to pick up the pace!
Daily walking is so good for our physical and mental health. Numerous studies show that even ten minutes of walking outside, and hopefully getting exposed to a little sun and nature, can be very beneficial. But a new report by JAMA suggests that in general, we’ve walked less than before the pandemic. If this sounds like you, then here’s some useful information about how you can make daily walking a simple and easy way to improve and maintain good health.
Commit to walk every day. If you can, find a walking buddy. Have a dog? Go on longer and/or more frequent walks every day. You will both enjoy it.
Get a good pair of shoes. It’s important to invest in a pair of good fitting, quality walking shoes. As we age, our feet become more susceptible to injury, but no matter your age, always start with a pair of shoes that feel good and offer the right support. And if you become a consistent daily walker, you’ll want to replace those shoes on a more regular basis. Nurses who stand on their feet all day are advised to change their shoes every six months. That’s because the internal shoe support wears out over time and can cause foot issues. So don’t put on that old beater pair of shoes and think it’s fine. It’s not fine!
Walk in nature. As reported recently in the Washington Post, “If you want to clear your mind and hone your attention, walk around a park for 15 minutes. Research suggests moving your workout outside can be a simple way to magnify its benefits. More specifically, a new, small study of the neurological effects of “green exercise” — meaning physical activity done in nature — finds a short, leafy stroll improves working memory and concentration substantially more than completing the same brief walk inside.”
Get some sunshine. We know this is sometimes hard in Michigan, but getting some exposure to sunlight during the day will give you energy, boost your mood, and help regulate your circadian rhythm, which will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Keep track of your walking. It doesn’t have to be a fancy sports watch. In fact, you likely have a step counter built into your phone. If not, an inexpensive pedometer will help you track your daily step count.
How much is enough? Opinions vary here. The mythical 10,000 steps a day benchmark is a fine goal, but don’t let that scare you. If you haven’t been walking in a while, starting out with shorter distances is fine. The point is to get out walking and moving your body every day. As you build up strength, endurance, and interest, you can work towards a higher daily step count.
Should you happen to strain a muscle or incur any other injury while walking, come see us at any of the eight IEP Urgent Care locations in metro Detroit. We’ve got the services and medical treatments to get you back on the trail as soon as possible.