Here’s the pep talk: have you joined the millions of people who have added walking to their daily schedule to maintain an allover healthy body and mind? Some of us made New Year resolutions to get in our recommended 30 minutes of daily walking – and some of us may have already missed a few days going into 2018. But it’s never too late to make a renewed effort to take a walk for the sake of your bones.
The benefits of walking
“Bone is a living tissue and responds to stress. Walking is an excellent exercise to promote lower extremity bone strength and density and it treats osteoporosis,” says Dr. W. Brandt Bede, Puget Sound Orthopaedics board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in non-surgical sports medicine. Walking is a low impact exercise that won’t jar your joints. Additionally, it slows the development of arthritis and the loss of bone mass due to osteoporosis. People with certain knee, hip and back problems or those recovering from physical injuries should discuss this form of exercise with their doctor prior to beginning a walking regimen.
10 tips to get you started on the right foot
1 ) Make sure the shoes you use for walking have appropriate support.
2 ) Take a few minutes to stretch before taking a walk to help warm up your leg muscles.
3 ) Use good form – keep your head up, back straight and abdomen flat, point your toes straight ahead.
4 ) Start out at a slower pace and work up to faster times and distances.
5 ) Be sure to drink plenty of water – one pint before and after your walk. Carry a water bottle with you during your walk.
6 ) Establish a routine.
7 ) Build strength and endurance by adding hand weights or walking sticks/poles to give your upper body a workout.
8 ) Wear a pedometer to track your progress.
9 ) Stay motivated by walking with friends or a walking group.
10 ) Breathe.
For more information about the benefits of walking, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/exercise-walking/
By Holly Harmon for Puget Sound Orthopaedics