Walk Your Way to Fitness: The Exercise That’s Easy – And Effective

Ready to get in better shape? Think about walking – and not running– towards your fitness goals.  One British study found that people who walk for regular exercise weighed less than those who participated in other types of physical activity, including: running, swimming and cycling.

Walking for exercise works well for almost everyone, regardless of the shape they’re in. Note: increasing your activity level does put strain on your muscles, joints, and heart.  If you haven’t been exercising regularly, you should schedule an Annual PT Exam with one an expert Body One Physical Therapy provider to make sure your body is healthy enough for exercise.

Once you’ve started walking, pay attention to signs that you’re overdoing it.  “Pay attention and listen to your body’s signals,” Dr. Brian Pease, founder and CEO of Body One, said. “Strain, pain, dizziness, or nausea can be signs that you are pushing yourself too hard.”

Other red flags to be aware of are chest pain, severe headaches, or extreme muscle cramping. If any of those symptoms should develop take a break from your work out and check in with your Body One provider.

When starting off a walking program. start slowly, building to 30-60 minutes of walking most days of the week.  After consulting with your Body One provider, you can decide what is healthiest for you. That could simply mean starting with 10 minutes of motion a day, such as taking a walk at lunch. Each week attempt to boost that daily total by 5 minutes. The gradual increase will help your body adjust to exercising and lower your risk of injury! Many people sustain injuries from doing “too much, too soon,” so building gradually will help reduce your risk of common overuse injuries.

“A great thing about walking is that it doesn’t have to be done all at once,” Dr. Pease said. “If you don’t have the time to exercise for 30-60 minutes, or that’s too much for your body at one time, split it up. You’ll burn as many calories and gain the same health benefits.”

With any new exercise regimen a small amount of soreness or pain can occur. For example, your calves may feel tight the following day after walking  a long distance. For minor discomfort, ice can be applied to the sore area to help alleviate the pain. You can also try gentle stretching and foam rolling. If you’d like more specific athletic recovery, check out the Body One Recovery Plus program! You can utilize our specialized recovery tools or have one of our trained professionals help with targeted stretching and innovative techniques.

Take a day or two off from exercising if your soreness is limiting your movements or if you feel the ache in your joints, instead of your muscles. If taking a few days off doesn’t resolve the issue, be sure to see your Body One provider for guidance!

Body One Physical Therapy is locally-owned and operated, with three convenient locations serving Central Indianapolis: Fishers, North Meridian, and Zionsville. If you’re ready to take charge of your health, and improve your movement and strength, call or click today!