Living Well: Reboot walking habit at Glow Run/Walk
Walking is one of the best exercises you can do, and it’s simple, fun and free. All you have to do is put on your tennis shoes and walk out the door. It’s easy on your body, and, best of all, you can combine it with socializing.
If you are already walking regularly, great. If you walk but are not consistent with it, take advantage of Memorial Regional Health’s Glow Run/Walk event Saturday to reboot your healthy habit of walking. Call a friend, and make plans to attend, today.
Benefits of walking
Did you know that walking has several health benefits, including increased bone density, lower blood pressure and decreased risk for heart disease? According to The Stroke Association, a 30-minute walk each day helps keep your blood pressure down, thereby lowering your chance for stroke. It also markedly decreases your risk for type 2 diabetes. All good things for us, especially as we age.
Maybe the best benefit of walking is that it improves your mood and your sense of well-being. When you exercise, your body releases “feel good” neurotransmitters into your bloodstream, bringing on positive feelings and a sense of peace. Being outside and breathing the fresh air adds to the effect.
Now that you’re motivated to walk, consider who you’d like as a walking buddy. Having a work-out buddy helps you stay motivated during the walk, and it keeps you committed to showing up, keeping you regular. It also provides a chance to connect and makes walking more fun.
Don’t forget to bring your water bottle on your walks or to the Glow Run/Walk event. Staying well hydrated helps regulate your body temperature and lubricate your joints as you walk or exercise. Drink water before, during and after. Aim to drink your eight a day — that’s eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day and more when you are exercising.
“Hydrating is very important. You can’t start just before the event or even the night before. It’s best to hydrate a few days in advance,” said Marshall Kraker, certified athletic trainer with Memorial Regional Health.
Before hitting the sidewalk or the trail, make sure to get your muscles warmed up first. Going in cold can put you at risk for injury. Warming up can be as simple as taking at a slow pace around the block, adding some dynamic stretching along the way. Aim for 10 minutes.
“It’s best to activate each part of your body before a workout, so complete exercises that target your whole body, including lung walking, leg swings, calf raises, ankle circles, heal walking, toe walking, bending forward, bending sideways, and doing bear hugs, arm circles and neck circles, to name a few,” Kraker said.
Don’t hesitate to attend the event and walk the whole thing, even if others are sprinting by you. After all, now you know that walking is one of the best exercises around.
“It’s absolutely fine to walk, there is no shame in walking the entire Glow Run/Walk event,” Kraker said.