advertisement
27 June 2005

Fitness: A walk in the park

A good walking program needs a little preparation, experts say.

0
One of the best steps to fitness may include footsteps.

Walking is a superb, low-impact way to develop and maintain fitness and is associated with a reduced risk of heart attack and type 2 diabetes. It's also associated with weight control, stress reduction, and increased muscle tone and energy, according to experts at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

But APTA member Teresa Schuemann, director of physical therapy at Skyline Hospital in White Salmon, Wash., said any good walking program involves a few important preparations.

"For walkers 50 years and older, in particular, it is important to first review overall general physical health with a qualified physician before beginning any exercise program. Pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or bone and joint aches, will negatively impact any exercise program - even walking - and need to be addressed before starting," Schuemann said.

She said there are several factors that contribute to a successful walking program:

  • Pace yourself. Begin by walking slowly and easily, gradually increasing pace and distance. As a gauge, walkers should be able to maintain a normal conversation without feeling winded.
  • Wear proper shoes. It's a good idea to buy them at a professional shoe store where trained staff can fit you with shoes that best match your feet. For example, people with high arches require shoes with more cushioning, while people with flat feet need shoes with more arch support.
  • Find a healthy gait. Everyone has a particular style, which helps determine how stress is distributed to the various parts of your feet and legs. If you suffer problems such as leg cramps, knee pain, a sore Achilles tendon or back pain, it may be the result of a gait problem. Consult a physical therapist.
  • Drink enough water. The amount you need varies depending on walking conditions and weather. You should drink 8-12 oz. (approximately 240-350 ml) of water every 30 minutes while walking. – (HealthDayNews)
 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

Fitness
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Don't even bother »

SEE: When you cough, this is what happens to your body LISTEN: Can you spot the smoker’s cough?

7 cough remedies that definitely don’t work

A chronic cough can be the bane of your life. Here are seven cough remedies you shouldn't waste your time with.

Be in the know! »

How to manage sensitive teeth 5 ways runners mess up their teeth

Oral health basics: what you need to know

Dr Simon Reeves talks us through the importance of oral health basics. Here’s how to care for your teeth properly.