If you are looking for a relatively easy and dependable way to improve your overall health, you need look no further than walking. However, even though walking may seem like the most natural thing in the world, there are still some things that humans sometimes do that can detract from the benefits they would normally receive from taking regular walks. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine explains the anatomy of walking and why walking can be so beneficial to one’s health, as well as point out some of the things that individuals should avoid in order to gain the most benefits from their walk.
Walk Your Way to Good Health
Taking regular walks is a great way to lower both your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. It increases the density of bones, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Walking can be a great way to get blood flowing in and around joints, which is good news for osteoarthritis sufferers. Walking also helps boost the immune system as well as giving your cardio-respiratory system a workout. Lastly, going for regular walks can be good for mental health as well. Walking can help:
- reduce stress levels
- decrease depression
- improve mental outlook
The latter can be especially true if you walk outdoors and are able to enjoy the sights and sounds of your surroundings, as well as going for walks with friends, thereby allowing you to socialize and bond with others.
In today’s world, sometimes individuals are so concerned about checking all their smart devices they lose some of the benefits they could derive from their walk. If you are constantly checking your smartwatch, making phone calls, or texting while walking, not only are you engaging in movements that adversely affect your posture, you are also creating a potentially hazardous situation for yourself by creating a situation where you could trip and fall. Put away your smart devices and give your neck and spine a break. By keeping your head up and allowing it to move freely along with the natural movement of your arms, you help improve your posture while also providing some much-needed relief for your neck and shoulder muscles.
Not wearing the proper footwear can be another detractor from an otherwise great walk. Go to a store that sells good quality athletic wear and allow them to fit you with a good walking shoe. Wearing a good pair of shoes and cotton socks to whisk away sweat from your feet will go a long way towards helping you avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by new walkers, including blisters and achy feet.
If you would like to know more about the anatomy of walking or the benefits of walking in general, or how to start a walking program, contact us! One of our Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine physical therapists or sports medicine specialists will be happy to guide you in starting a walking fitness routine.