As a team of physiotherapists with a lot of experience in the industry we have noticed something! Our society has a tendency to wait until there’s a problem with our bodies before taking initiative and doing something about our health. This often leads patients and healthcare professionals to treat the symptoms of the problem and never truely addressing the root cause. By approaching our health in this way, we invite recurring and chronic problems to take hold. We also increase the burden on the healthcare system by requiring regular trips to the doctor.
If, however, we work on tackling the root issue, we will see a broad improvement in all aspects of our health. And a decreased burden on the healthcare system! This method of tackling problems before they arise is called “preventative health.” It is important for everyone to take a few moments to consider what this means, how it affects your daily life, and the long term health benefits.
This article is geared at discussing one of the simplest and most effective ways of getting started with your own preventative health: WALKING.
Is walking good for you?
The benefits of regular exercise and walking have been proven and documented over and over again within healthcare research. If you have ever wondered if walking promotes health, here are some things to consider:
- Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, as well as maintain strength and mobility in your joints.
- A regular walking program can help to relieve pain associated with many common conditions such:
- Lower back and neck pain
- Hip pain.
- Exercise and walking burns calories and helps us maintain a healthy weight. This will decrease our risk of developing a variety of common diseases such as:
- Type II Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- Some forms of cancer.
- Walking is a “load bearing” activity, and therefore helps to strengthen our bones and joints, and prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
- Walking is excellent for your mental health
- It encourages the release of endorphins in our bodies. These endorphins help to make us feel sharper, happier and more full of vitality. This offers us a natural resistance to many forms of depression and poor mental health.
- It has also been shown to decrease our risk for developing dementia. A condition that affects approximately 1 in 14 people over the age of 65.
- Walking can be a social event, something that can be enjoyed with friends and family!
How can I begin my very own walking program?
You may be asking yourself “how do I get started?” It can be as simple as heading outdoors and starting to walk. Before you begin here are a few tips that will help you design a proper walking program, have more fun, and ensure success:
- Consult your Physiotherapist or GP:
- It’s very important to get medical advice to determine safe limits for exercise and activity. Especially important if you have not been very active in quite a while.
- Discussing your current health and any past medical history with your Physiotherapist or GP. This will help to ensure that your walking program can be designed in an appropriate and safe way.
- Set some Goals!!
- You should start setting yourself realistic and achievable goals over a time period of weeks and even months.
- This is a great way to make sure that your walking program is a success, and that you stick with it in the long-run!
- Remember not to push yourself too hard at the start. Gradually increase the duration or distance that you plan on walking as your fitness levels rises.
- Find a friend to share the walk with!
- Walking improves your mental well-being just as it improves your physical health. Sharing the walk with a friend, family member, or walking group helps to maximise the mental benefits of walking. It also adds an extra level of satisfaction to the activity!
If you are considering starting a regular walking or exercise program, make sure to consult your GP or physiotherapist first.