Get outside and join a summer walking program.
As the weather continues to get warmer in Central Wisconsin, now is a perfect time to get started on a walking program for fitness. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve cardiovascular and respiratory function (heart and lungs), decrease stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, prevent falls, enhance the quality of life, and promote longer independent living!
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 mins a week of moderate-intensity exercise. This can be broken up into small sessions throughout the week. Moderate intensity means you can feel yourself working hard, but you are still able to hold a conversation.
It may seem daunting to get started, but here are some tips and tricks to get you started and motivated to continue throughout the summer.
One of the main mistakes people make when starting a walking program is planning too long of a walk right off the bat. Like any exercise, you’ll need to make sure your body gradually becomes accustomed to the activity before you try to increase the distance walked. If you’ve never gone on walks before, it might be helpful to start with just a few laps around your driveway. Once you get comfortable with that and you don’t have any increased soreness, you can try to go around the block.
Don’t forget to warm-up!
Just like you need to preheat the oven before it can cook properly, the body needs to warm up before it can exercise. A warm-up should consist of 5 minutes of large movements that focus on the main joints and muscles of the body. Try pressing up onto your toes, marching in place, swinging your arms, rolling your shoulder, and turning your head from side to side.
Also, the body likes a cool-down period too. This will help with the heart’s transition between beating hard and normal beating. After exercise is the perfect time to spend a few minutes stretching all of those big muscles that you just used.
Take a buddy with you!
The more the merrier, right? Having a walking partner increases motivation and accountability, and makes the time pass quicker. The best part? You both are getting great exercise! If you don’t have anyone nearby, you can always call and talk to a friend while you walk or listen to music or a good book or podcast.
If you are struggling to get started due to pain or other limitations, schedule an appointment to meet with one of our skilled physical therapists! We will help you get started through education and a tailored home exercise program.