Sports Massage Therapist, Taylor Dirstein, RMT writes:
Once the weather gets nice everyone is out and about. I am sure you know that walking is beneficial for your health but do you truly know why?
Walking help’s improve your mood, wellbeing, longevity and friendship’s. It also help’s tone the body, increase your blood flow and increase’s weight loss. It also decrease’s your blood pressure, any type of heart disease and your chance of having high cholesterol It is helpful for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes or individual’s with rheumatoid arthritis.
Thing’s to keep in mind before you start a walking program are…
1. Has your health care provider ever told you that you have heart trouble, diabetes’s or asthma?
2. When you are physically active do you have pain’s in your chest neck or shoulders?
3. When you exercise do you feel dizzy or faint?
4. Has your health care provider told you that you have joint or bone problem’s?
5. Are you over 50 years of age and are not use to moderate activity level?
6. Do you smoke?
7. Do you have any medical condition’s not mentioned here that could prevent you from starting a walking program?
Another thing to consider is having a walking partner. Having a partner will not only be motivating but also make walking more fun. You can go on a walk with your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, mom, dad, kid’s, pet’s or hey, why not just include the whole family! Having a partner make’s walking more safe and secure. The time you spend with your partner can be a release of any emotion’s you are feeling within that day, a time to plan upcoming event’s or just to simply go on a walk and chat. A partner will also encourage you to reach your goal’s and setting a time to meet will also improve your punctuality and drive.
Even if you don’t have a partner walking is still encouraged. Plug into your MP3 player and let this be your time. Time to reflect on your day, yourself or to enjoy the weather. When you are walking alone be sure to be aware of your surrounding and don’t have your music too loud.
There are always thing’s to remember before stepping outside to walk…
1. Do you have allergies? If the answer is yes, I would suggest taking any type of anti-histamine to help prevent a type of allergy flare up.
2. What time of the day is it and where will you be walking? If it is an early morning you may need sunglasses and depending on where you walk, maybe some bug spray. This also applies to going walking in the evening, especially if your route includes forests or parks.
3. How long will your walk be? If your going for a long walk I would recommend bringing a water bottle with you just incase you get thirsty. As well as food, depending on if you are going hiking.
4. Be aware of your surroundings, this applies to individual’s who like walking throughout forests. Do a little research on plant’s in the area because I know you wouldn’t want to get poison ivy or poison oak!
What type of apparel do I wear?
It is recommended that you wear clothes that are comfortable, dry and able to wick away moisture.
Most importantly is your footwear. Now comes the question of what shoe to by. Here is a quick analysis you can do on yourself do help determine what shoe’s to consider
1. Do you have a high arch, normal arch or no arch?
2. Is your foot wide or narrow?
3. Do I put my weight on the inside of my foot or the outside of my foot?
You can also go to your local sport’s store and ask them to check all of these thing’s for you. Keep in mind YOU are the one who is wearing the shoe, it has to be comfortable. Don’t worry if you have to walk around the store 10+ time’s. It is your money and you want to make sure your getting the most out of it.
Here are some shoe’s to consider
High arch – K-swiss Kwicky QT2, New Balance Minimus Zero Road, Adidas Adipure, Under Armour Charge RC, Brooks Summon 3, Nike LunarEclipse+2, Ryka Transpire, Asics Gel-Blur33 TR, Reebok RealFlex Transition, Specialized Trivent Sport
Normal arch – K-swiss Kwicky, Asics GT-2170 G-TX, Vasque Velocity 2.0, New Balance Minimus Zero Road, Saucony ProgGrid Guide 5, Mizuno Wave Elixir 7, Nike LunarEclipse+2, Adidas Adipure, Brooks Summon 3, Under Armour Charge RC, Ryka Transpire, Asics Gel-Blur33 TR, Pumagility XT Elite, Specialized Trivent Sport
No arch – Asics GT-2170 G-TX, Vasque Velocity 2.0, Saucony ProGrid Guide 5, Mizuno Wave Elixir 7, Adidas Adipure, Brooks Summon 3, Ryka Transpire, Pumagility XT Elite, Specialized Trivent Sport
These’s are only a few choices, you can always go to your local sport store’s for more options.
I personally use Nike Free Run+2 or Vibram Five Finger’s
If I don’t have anyone one to walk with where can I sign up for a walking program?
Check out your local running room. They are always offering walking program’s and who knows, maybe you will even try one of their running program’s in the future!
I don’t know any trail’s in my area.
Here are a few trail’s in the Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge area
Kitchener – Victoria Park, Monarch Wood’s
Waterloo – Walter Bean Trail, Waterloo Park, Conestoga Conservation Area
Cambridge – Blair Trail, Mill Run Trail
Look online for tail’s/park’s nearest you
To get the most out of your walk’s…
1. Make sure that they are brisk enough to elevate your heart rate but just enough to allow you to be comfortable and allow you to talk.
2. Make a schedule! Your schedule has to be convenient for you. This will help you make a routine for yourself and encourage you to get out there.
3. Set goal’s for yourself. This again, encourages you and self motivates you to reach the goals you have planned. One day your goal could be 1km and the next it could be 2km, 3km etc. Start your walk’s 1-3 day’s a week and eventually increase the amount of day’s that you are walking.
4. Record your distance, time and date. There is nothing better then looking at your progress and saying “I did it”
Stretching lightly after your walk will help increase muscle length and decrease any delay onset of muscle soreness.
Area’s to stretch include. calf’s low back, quad’s, hamstring’s, glute’s.
How long should I walk for?
It is recommended that everyone get 30 minute’s of physical activity daily. If you walk for 10 minute’s on your lunch break and 20 minute’s home from work you have your 30 minute’s right there. Walking 15 minute’s on your lunch and 15 minutes when you get home adds up to your 30 minute’s of physical activity aswell!
Remember, the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.
Taylor Dirstein, RMT.