Walking is one of the most accessible ways to increase fitness and start your journey towards improving your health. As we age, the likelihood of diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic conditions increases (1,2). Furthermore, as we age we are less likely to exercise to combat this. Walking is a no cost and efficient way to improve your overall cardiovascular health.
Other health benefits outside of reducing your risk for chronic disease include increased bone density and reduced risk of fractures, increased skeletal muscle mass, both of which are important for reducing your risk of serious injury from falls, and assisting with the prevention of cognitive decline (1).
Key considerations for starting a new walking program
Start slow - anytime you start a exercise routine your body needs time to adjust. Going for too long or doing too many miles to start can increase the likelihood of overuse injuries.
Keep it fun - walking with a friend or in an area where you can enjoy nature can increase your enjoyment and make you more likely to continue exercising.
Keep it brisk - while we are having fun, trying to increase your pace can lead to further health benefits (1). At the end of the day, in order to grow and improve our health, we have to push ourselves to a degree. Other ways to challenge yourself include incorporating hills in your route to utilize different muscle groups during the walk.
How to Stay Consistent
There are many strategies that you can use to assist you in creating a long term walking plan. Setting goals, whether it be number of times per week or minutes per walk, can keep yourself accountable and get you out the door. If you tend to follow your calendar, blocking off time in your schedule for a 20 or 30 minute walk can give you enough time for some extra steps. And if all else fails, making a habit to take frequent breaks throughout the day and walk around for even minute or two can promote better health.
How we Can Help
Our bodies are meant to move - walking is one of the most fundamental movements that we can do to improve our health. If you are stuck or need assistance on your walking journey, one of our skilled therapists at Creekside Physical Therapy can assist you.
- Pre-injury screening: many factors can predispose you to injury - our Physical Therapists can evaluate you in an effort to reduce the likelihood of an injury.
- Recommendations on footwear and activewear: no one shoe is best for everyone - shoes are a major consideration for walking and can make the experience great, or leave you frustrated and less likely to continue.
- Guidance and strengthening - a strengthening program catered to your needs can improve your tolerance for activity and make walking easier and more accessible.
Creekside Physical Therapy Has 3 Convenient Locations in Portland, Oregon
Message us now to get scheduled with one of our Physical Therapists at any of our locations:
Tigard - Oleson: 9115 SW Oleson Rd, Ste. #206 Portland, Oregon, 97223
Tigard - Locust: 9445 S Locust St., Tigard, Oregon, 97223
Cedar Mill: 12400 NW Cornell Rd, Ste. #200 Portland, Oregon, 97229
- Ungvari Z, Fazekas-Pongor V, Csiszar A, Kunutsor SK. The multifaceted benefits of walking for healthy aging: from Blue Zones to molecular mechanisms. Geroscience. 2023 Jul 26. doi: 10.1007/s11357-023-00873-8. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37495893.
- Zhao W, Ukawa S, Kawamura T, Wakai K, Ando M, Tsushita K, Tamakoshi A. Health Benefits of Daily Walking on Mortality Among Younger-Elderly Men With or Without Major Critical Diseases in the New Integrated Suburban Seniority Investigation Project: A Prospective Cohort Study. J Epidemiol. 2015;25(10):609-16. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20140190. Epub 2015 Jul 4. PMID: 26155815; PMCID: PMC4626390.