How About a Walk?

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By Dr. Jess Monteleone, PT MS PhD

Sun is up, and time to finish that morning 8 oz. of water as I slip on some comfortable clothes and supportive walking shoes. It’s that hour for my morning brisk walk. As soon as I snatch his leash, my walking partner, Toby, is ready to go. How I love the sound of chirping birds and enjoy the comfort of shaded roads from that morning time of the day. Yup, 6 a.m. is a great time for Toby and me to spend quality time together and better our bodies.

Wholistic Therapy WalkWhen choosing an exercise program, I like to implement something that is user friendly, enjoyable and cost effective. Many times, doctors will recommend their patients to start a walking program, but they don’t inform them how to perform it.

It’s hot outside. So, choose a time in early morning or late afternoon for your exercise. If that is not possible, find a large centrally heated/cooled building where you can walk on the outside of the aisles inside of the building.

Use good posture. Two walking sticks might be helpful as they allow an upright position and a reciprocal gait (left arm with right leg) which is how the human body has been created to move. The upright posture also helps to use the full expansion of your lungs.

Wear good footwear. Buy your shoes from a credible source that can help you choose the right shoe for your foot. It should bend easily, breathe well, and support your foot well with adequate arch support. Many women need a wide toe box due to bunions and a narrow heel. They make a shoe right for your foot.

Asphalt is a great walking surface, because it is soft; offering additional cushion for your joints. If you choose to walk on our beautiful beaches, make sure that you walk in both directions as the contour of the beach edge places a stress on your joints. Better yet, walk in the thick sand found away from the water edge. I like to wear good walking shoes for this surface.

Stay hydrated. Under normal situations, use this formula: Take your weight, divide it by two and that’s how many ounces of water your body needs per day. (Yes, you need more in the summer and when working outside.) So, if you weigh 128 lbs., (128/2 = 64 oz. or ½ gallon of water is needed per day). Of course the water content in fruits and veggies, such as watermelon and lettuce, help as well.

Remember to stretch any muscle that you work to maintain comfort and flexibility in those muscles.

Get a work out buddy. If it is your pooch, remember that it is a new program for him/her as it is for you. Work up gradually for your pace, duration and frequency.
Wait a bit after you eat, unless you are going to stroll to digest food. Some literature states that if you don’t do it first thing in the morning, you probably won’t do it at all.

Only 1/3 adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. Use wisdom and get permission from your medical doctor before making any major lifestyle change, such as a new exercise program. Be the best version of you! Your choices made today are an investment into your tomorrows… It’s all about enjoyment, form, equipment and, of course, results. Why not take a walk?

Dr. Jess is a physical therapist offering wholistic medical treatment in your home or office in Freeport and surrounding area. For more information, check out her website at Wholistictherapyathome.com.