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January 2014

Walk Your Way to Better Health

Walking can provide key steps to better health.  As we age, being active brings added health benefits.  Studies show brisk walking on a regular basis improves circulation, can promote bone and joint strength, boost mood and energy levels and reduce stress.  Most importantly, walking helps to maintain mobility and mental clarity that are both vital to independent living. 

A Walking Plan that Works for You

  • Be sure to check with your physician before beginning your walking program.
  • Start gradually and progress slowly, especially if you have not been active or have medical issues.
  • Set and keep regular walking sessions as much as possible.
  • Strive for thirty (30) minutes of walking five (5) days a week.  This is the current dietary guideline for physical activity.  If you cannot meet this guideline due to physical or medical limitations, engage in the level of activity your physician has recommended.

Ready, Set, Go...

  • Wear the right shoes; they should fit snugly so that they do not rub.
  • Stand tall with your abdomen pulled in and your shoulders back.
  • Walk during the day; avoid uneven surfaces and keep alert for broken pavement or debris on the path that may be a tripping hazard.
  • Aim for a steady pace that is brisk enough to get an aerobic workout.  This should be based on what your physician has recommended.  You may need to work up to this level.
  • To boost your walking speed you can bend your arms at a 90° angle and swing them by your side.
  • Try the “buddy” system when you walk.  This is a great way to keep and stay engaged.

Every Step Counts!
Track your steps by wearing a pedometer.   A basic pedometer will work just fine and count your steps.  Put your pedometer on in the morning to ensure all of your steps are counted.  Gradually add steps to meet your target which ultimately is 10,000 steps a day provided you do not have any medical limitations. What is in a step?  One mile equals approximately 2,000 steps. How about a brisk walk around your senior center or neighborhood?


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