I have written numerous posts about the benefits of exercise on your body. These include: increasing brain function in young adults, Increasing brain grey matter, stronger bones in kids, better eyesight, improved memory and even reducing the effect of cataracts. In fact, exercise can be thought of as a miracle cure according to a study out of the UK, check it out here.
Walking is one of the simplest exercises you can do, and as Dr Thomas said above, it is free. As with any new exercise program you undertake, if you have decided to make a change and start a good walking program, then it is a good idea to get a thorough chiropractic assessment to make sure everything is in good shape. As a chiropractor, I will evaluate your spine and other joints for dysfunction and analyze your posture for imbalances, two conditions which may predispose you to walking related injuries.
It may sound odd, but how well you walk can be a good indicator of your longevity. A study in Pittsburgh, showed that your gait speed is a good indicator of longevity (you can read my post about that here). How you walk can give an indication of general fitness, spine and joint function, coordination, flexibility etc. It is thought that if you can’t walk well, you are not in the best condition you can be in. If you have aches or pains or things don’t feel right, then it may be time to get it looked at. It is much easier to stay in good shape than try to regain it once it is lost.
Now that the weather is warming up, it is time to start walking more. The NZCA has suggested some tips to help get you started:
- Visit a chiropractor for a spine and posture assessment
- Commit to a nine week walking programme
- Start slowly – set achievable targets to prevent injury and to motivate you
- Find a friend or work colleague to walk with
- Wear supportive footwear which is designed for walking
- Warm up with gentle stretching exercises at the start and end of your walk
- Drink plenty of water and have regular breaks and healthy snacks
- Mix it up – walking different routes, at different speeds with different inclines
- Track your progress.
Dr Thomas points out: ‘Chiropractors specialise in helping people achieve proper movement and spinal function but also recognise the importance of supplying your body with the right ingredients so it can express itself at its optimum. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is an essential part of many body processes and the evidence is that majority of people in our modern world are severely deficient. Just walking outside in nature a little more would go a long way to countering this issue and many other problems of our modern lifestyle and environment.’
One of my favorite quotes is “Take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live”. What are you doing to take care of your body? If you want to start doing more, maybe a walking program is a great place to begin, your body will thank you for it.
- Restaino RM, Holwerda SW, Credeur DP, Fadel PJ, Padilla J. Impact of prolonged sitting on lower and upper limb micro- and macrovascular dilator function. Experimental Physiology 2015;100(7):829-38.
- The World Federation of Chiropractic, is a global non-profit association which was recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a non-governmental organisation in January 1997.