As a physiotherapist, I often hear patients say “I need to exercise more” or “I just need to get back into an exercise routine.” These comments have been especially common during the recents months as gyms and other exercise facilities have reopened. It is true that getting active is very important for pain relief and overall well being, but did you know that walking can be one of the best exercises to help you achieve this?
In this post I am going to discuss 3 ways that walking can be a beneficial and enjoyable exercise for you, and give some tips on how to tailor it for your personal needs.
Walking gets us physically active!
Call some friends and go! A walking group is a great way to make this activity more enjoyable and help with consistency. Need another selling point? Walking with friends can actually help to further reduce pain! Studies show that social engagement can reduce our perception of pain intensity, therefore, a walking group will be more than just a way to get your steps in. Social interaction and physical activity are two crucial areas of personal wellbeing, and this is a perfect way to achieve both. The next step is to call a couple friends or family members, get the calendar out and find a weekly time to get walking!
Walking is great for your injury rehabilitation program!
A few days after most acute injuries, recovery becomes an active approach. A crucial aspect of injury rehabilitation at this point is performing pain free exercises that load the injured structure. Walking is a great way to restore movement and improve the injured areas’ activity tolerance! Pain-free cardiovascular exercise is another key part in the early stages of injury recovery. Walking can be a safe way to help increase your heart rate and improve blood flow to assist in the healing process. As your return to sport or activity journey continues, walking can be progressed to help you achieve more specific goals. By progressing the speed of your walking, or trying run-walk intervals, a walking program can help you take the next step in safely increasing your exercise capacity during injury recovery. Unsure if walking is a good idea for your specific injury or stage of healing? Reach out to a physiotherapist to help make sure that your rehabilitation goes as smoothly as possible.
BONUS: 5 helpful tips as you start your walking program!
1. Monitor your progress and set personal goals! A couple of ways to do this is by keeping track of your daily or weekly step count, measuring your distance walked in a set amount of time, or timing how long it takes to walk a specific distance.
2. Make it exciting! You can do this by using this time to listen to music, call a friend, or just getting out and enjoying nature.
3. Prioritize safety! Depending on the time of year, terrain and walking surfaces may be more hazardous. Ensure you have the proper gear to keep this activity safe.
4. Make sure you fuel accordingly! Don’t forget to take proper nutrition and hydration into account before setting out on your walk. If it is particularly hot, or you are going for a long adventure, bring adequate snacks and beverages to keep you properly fueled.
Alltrails.com: To help find trails worldwide that fit your difficulty level, distance, and preferred terrain.
Ontariotrails.on.ca: For information on walking routes across Ontario, and information on accessibility for wheelchairs and other assistive devices.
Looking for additional assistance with your pain or injury to achieve your walking goals?
Contact the clinic today to discuss how we can get you back living a healthier, more active life! 905.859.6708