Let’s Get Walking!

April 14, 2020 – The weather is getting nicer each week and now we are social distancing and spending more time at home. A big part of surviving this isolation is to make sure we get our exercise. This especially includes aerobic activities such as walking, running, and biking. We need to get our heart rates up for 30 minutes, 5 days per week to keep our heart healthy as we are more sedentary throughout the day. This week’s blog will focus on how to start a walking program.

walking for health 1

It is important to understand your baseline fitness level as that will dictate where you start and how fast you progress your walking program. Let’s assume for this example that you are starting from scratch. You spend most of your day working at a desk with limited activity and when you get home you are tired after working all day and then coming home to deal with dinner and kids.

Start by walking at a pace of a 20-minute mile or 3.0 mph. Start on a flat and even surface and try walking for 10 minutes. If you can do this at an intensity where you would struggle to carry on a conversation with someone then you are at a good intensity level. After a few days when you notice you can talk easier after 10 minutes of walking then you increase your time. You keep increasing your time following these guidelines every 3-7 days.

It is important as you are beginning your program that you start to make good habits. Make sure your posture and breathing are appropriate. Focus on your arm swing and stride length and try to keep all of these in balance as you are walking. Make sure you stay hydrated and on your workout schedule. Getting these aspects in line now will make it easier as you progress your program.

As you are becoming a more experienced walker then you start to increase other aspects of your walking. Start looking for hills to walk, move to walking on more trails, start to carry a backpack, increase your pace to get your heart rate up and burn more calories. All these items are simple ways to progress the intensity of your program.

If you have any questions, please contact us in Louisville at 402-234-3333 or Plattsmouth at 402-298-4747.

Your Witte Physical Therapy team

#homegrown #backtolife

References:

https://www.henryford.com/blog/2019/03/10-ways-walk-better-health

https://uhs.berkeley.edu/health-topics/exercise-starting-walking-program