Walking, the most underappreciated exercise?
There are thousands of exercises out there all which can have some benefit for the right person. Personally I am partial to strength training with free weights and kettlebells as my preferred form of exercise both for myself and my patients. I also understand it is not the end all be all. Not to mention, not everyone has access to the equipment needed nor can everyone tolerate a intense strength training program.
This is where walking comes in. Most people can tolerate some form and level of a graded walking exercise program. It requires no equipment and can be done outdoors, in a mall or large store, or on a treadmill. Not to mention that there is a lot of research out there showing that walking is just as effective as specific exercise programs for things like low back pain.
The best way to start a walking program is to find out how much you can tolerate and progress from there. For example lets say you can walk 1/2 mile before pain or fatigue stops you. That is where you start you walk 1/2 mile lets say minimum 3 days a week but can do everyday. After a little while of that you progress to 3/4 mile until you get comfortable with that and then to 1 mile and so on until you get to a distance or time you strive to do. If you bump up and it is too much then the next time out you bump back down.
So remember, walking is a great form of exercise for improved strength and endurance, improved cardio-pulmonary health and not to mention reducing pain. Along with the physical benefits there is also the mental health benefits of exercise and getting outdoors on a nice day. So I encourage you to get off the couch and go for a walk and see how you feel
If you need some help getting started with this or are dealing with pain or injury that is preventing you from being as active as you would like give us a call at 985 882 8427. Don't forget to check us out at www.guidrypt.com
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Remember that now with direct access laws with most insurances you can see a physical therapist without a doctors order getting you back to normal in less time and with less cost.
John Paul Guidry DPT CSCS TPI