New Year, New You: WALK THIS WAY: TO HEALTH!
Interested in starting an exercise program to improve your health, but don’t know where to start?
You may think you need an expensive gym membership to start exercising, but according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the cardiovascular benefits of simply walking compare to those of more vigorous exercise for adult women1.
Simply stated: walking provides a substantial health benefit! Since the 2002 landmark paper, numerous studies have continued to support that walking is an effective means for cardiovascular disease prevention. In addition to improving heart health, walking may also stack up next to strengthening for management of musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis2.
So, how much walking do you need? Current recommendations advise at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity for significant health benefits3, and exercising beyond this limit may incur additional benefits4.
Even if you cannot exercise for 150 min/week, limiting sitting time is a key factor to improving health3. Getting up and moving, performing chores around the house, or playing with grandkids can reduce the health risks associated with excessive sitting.
Starting A Walking Program
- Plan to set aside time at least every other day or 3-5 days per week
- Set a reasonable goal (If you can only walk for 10 minutes at a time, start there!)
- Gradually increase your walking minutes every other week!
- Example program
- Week 1: M, T, Th, Sat 10 min walk per day
- Week 2: M, T, Th, Sat 10 min walk per day
- Week 3: M, T, Th, Sat 13 min walk per day
- Week 4: M, T, Th, Sat 13 min walk per day
As time passes and you remain consistent with your program, cardiovascular and strength adaptations will enable you to lengthen your walking duration. Even if you cannot meet the recommended weekly minutes for exercise, even a 10-minute bout of walking reaps health benefits3.
As with any exercise program, it is important to consult with your physician and/or your physical therapist to make sure it is safe for you to exercise. If pain is keeping you from your journey to better health, or you would like to begin your exercise program with a team of movement experts to monitor your progress, stop in at Goodlife to schedule an appointment with a highly skilled physical therapist who can help get you started on your path towards better health.
1. Manson JE, Greenland P, Lacroix AZ, et al. Walking Compared with Vigorous Exercise for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Women. New England Journal of Medicine . 2002;347(10):716-725. doi:10.1056/nejmoa021067.
2. Roddy E. Aerobic walking or strengthening exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee? A systematic review. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2005;64(4):544-548. doi:10.1136/ard.2004.028746.
3. Piercy KL, Troiano RP, Ballard RM, et al. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Jama . 2018;320(19):2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.14854
4. Arem H, Moore SC, Patel A, et al. Leisure Time Physical Activity and Mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2015;175(6):959. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.0533