By Angel MedFlight Contributor
As we get older it’s a lot easier to remain seated in your favorite chair — than to get out of the house and get some exercise. If your body can’t handle the rigors of jogging, get into the routine of taking a brisk walk. Walking is a simple and affordable exercise routine to cultivate and it has many benefits.
Working around nurses and flight paramedics at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance there is healthy vibe around the office. Plus, our human resources department does a great job of providing access to wellness articles on such things as cholesterol and high blood pressure. Reminders of healthy living are all around us.
If you’ve suffered from shin splints, knee pain or have other chronic leg issues, running is probably not an option for you. But if you can handle a brisk walk on a daily basis, you’ll be on the path to a healthier life. The Mayo Clinic points out on its website that a regular brisk walk can help maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage various conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, strengthen your bones, lift your mood and improve your balance and coordination.
Before starting any exercise program it’s recommended you check with your doctor first.
Most often just beginning an exercise routine is the hardest part. For this writer, the light just came on one weekend and I told myself I just had to get the body in motion. Once a man gets into his 40’s, the pounds go on a lot more easier than they come off. One of my longtime friends works out much more than I do and he gave me the best advice. He said, “Make it a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or putting on your shoes.” His words stuck with me and now every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is put on some workout clothes and a good pair of walking shoes and get out the door.
As an employee of Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance and living in Scottsdale, I’ve found there are plenty of great places to take a daily brisk walk. For me, I don’t have to go farther than outside my front door. I began the routine by walking around the block — but that only took about 15 minutes and distance traveled was less than a mile. It was a great starting point for me but not enough to make a difference. Over time, I have gradually increased the time and distance I walk with the ultimate goal being three miles a day.
Right away I found I really do enjoy the walk routine. Fairly new to the area, I’ve found satisfaction in just the beautiful landscapes I see during my stroll. I like to walk just after the sun has come up. The air is cooler, the birds are chirping and other critters are active. I see small rabbits in my neighborhood and enjoy seeing the small lizards scurry about. I see cacti, flowering shrubs, and I make sure I breathe in a lot of fresh air. I’ve also picked up a new nickname. As I head out the door, my wife says, “There goes the Walkin’ Dude.”
A smartphone is a great device for any workout and if you’re a walker or runner, try out one of the many pedometer apps on the market. I’ve downloaded one that will figure your stride length based on your height and weight and after I’ve completed my walk, I can see how far I’ve gone, at what speed, and how many calories I’ve burned. It also allows me to record the weather I walked in with temperature, the walking surface and any notes like, “felt winded,” or “today it seemed effortless.”
Be patient. You won’t feel the benefits overnight, but the longer you keep it up you should start to notice you have more energy and generally feel better. If you don’t like walking alone, think of getting a “sole-mate” and walking with a friend. The American Heart Association website has a tool where you can connect with others to form a walking club.
Take strides toward healthier living and enjoy the benefits of a good walk!