Want to exercise?  Go for a walk!

Written by: Heather Holbrook, DPT

Want to reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease?  Want to lower stress, improve your sleep quality, boost your immune system, strengthen your bones and muscles?  Consider going for a walk!  Exercise does not need to be strenuous and a simple walk can be just the ticket to live a healthier lifestyle and maintain mobility as you age.

The thought of exercise as you age can seem overwhelming.  The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week, which breaks down to 30 minutes per day and this can be achieved with a regular walking program.  Those 30 minutes don’t even need to be performed all at once.  These recommendations are easy to achieve with walking.

If you are interested in developing a walking program it is recommended you contact your primary care physician to discuss any medical reasons to modify your walking program (for example:  high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, or diabetes).  A physical therapist would also be a good resource to assist you in developing a safe walking program to achieve your activity goals.  If you begin to experience any negative side effects during your walk, be sure to see your primary care physician.  These side effects could include:  shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, foot sores, or new aches and pains.

Once you have the green light to develop a walking program, all you need is motivation and a good pair of tennis shoes.  It could be a walk around your home, a walk around the block, a walk at a local fitness center or shopping mall.  To develop a good routine, consider walking at the same time each day and consider walking with a friend to hold you accountable.  If you walk with an assistive device (cane or walker), don’t let that stop you!  Consult with your physical therapist about a safe route consisting of level surfaces.

If you are interested in developing a walking program consider reaching out to our physical therapists at Goodcare AtHome Rehab to start you on your journey to healthy aging.  Call us at 605-231-2490 to learn more or to schedule an appointment with our physical therapists located in Sioux Falls, SD, Sioux City, IA, Omaha, NE, or Des Moines, IA.

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