Walking Your Way to Better Health - URI News

Walking Your Way to Better Health – URI News

KINGSTON, RI – September 15, 2022 – With summer winding down and returning to a more organized schedule, September is an ideal time to consider starting or restarting your regular walking program.

Gary Liguori, MD, dean of the University of Rhode Island’s School of Health Sciences, notes that the health benefits of walking are many. Regular brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, lose body fat, prevent or control various health conditions (such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure), strengthen bones and muscles, increase energy levels, and improve mood and memory. , and reduce stress.

“It also has very little effect on the joints, including the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back,” Liguori says. “If you’re walking with a friend, it can also be beneficial for social interaction.”

The keys to maximizing the many benefits of walking are to be prepared and set simple goals. Liguori’s advice is to keep success simple, often called “KISS”. He recommends the following tips for starting a walking regimen:

Set aside several time slots each week for walking, mark the time of day and the days you will be walking, and add them to your calendar.
Set a reminder on your phone a few hours ahead of time to help you stay on track. Let others in your home know that you make healthy personal time and ask them to help you stick to your plans by respecting your walking time.

Choose your route in advance (unless you’re on a treadmill) based on the time you decide to walk.
Plan to start your new routine with a short to medium distance that you can increase over time. Twenty minutes of walking per session is a great place to start. Create a weekly goal, such as 75 minutes each week, then 100, and so on. Most health organizations recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, but increments of up to 10 minutes spread throughout the day will provide benefits, especially if you are not currently active.

Choose and arrange the clothes and shoes you will be wearing in advance.
Keeping your gear in sight is a strong claim to using it! Invest in a comfortable pair of shoes; No need to break the bank. wear layers when temperatures begin to drop; And if you’re walking at dawn or dusk, reflective clothing (and possibly a head lamp) is a must. Don’t forget a watch or phone to track your time and consider one of any number of walking apps to track your speed and distance.

Walk at a comfortable pace.
If you can sing a song out loud without any problem while walking, you may need to speed up a bit. If you have difficulty speaking or catching your breath, you will probably walk too fast.

Be aware of your surroundings.
If you are on a road, stay safely on the sidewalk or the correct side of the road. No matter where you walk, bring your earbuds if you want to, but keep the volume low so you can easily hear oncoming and passing traffic. If you plan to walk in the evening, choose a well-lit area.

Track your progress.
Record your walking times and distances, and over time, gradually increase to a reasonable goal. Seeing your progress can be a catalyst for continuing good habits.

Most of all, says Liguori, have fun. Enjoy the sights and sounds around you, breathe in some fresh air, and get ready to enjoy all the positive benefits of a regular walking routine.

Note: Almost everyone can easily start a walking regimen, but if you have any severe health issues, it is always wise to check with your healthcare provider first.

Gary Liguori, Ph.D.He is dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Health Sciences. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Exercise, Sports, and Movement at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and as the ACSM’s Senior Editor of Exercise Test Guidelines and Prescriptions, an industry handbook that sets science-based standards for exercise. Examination and prescriptions in healthy and sick patients.

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