Boost Your Health
with Wellness-Walking

Wellness-walking is an easy way to stay active and fit after retirement. Moderate walking just 30 minutes per day can significantly cut the risk of heart disease. Before starting any exercise program it is advisable to consult with your personal physician.

Wellness-walking relaxes the mind when it is tense and improves your mood. It also enhances the body’s energy when needed but be careful, it can be addictive. Walking does reduce the risk of having a heart attack but it does more than that. It has been shown to improve lung function, relieve pain, improve cognitive function, and relieve depression.

If it has been a while since you have done regular physical activity, start slowly and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes per day. Start with 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Remember some activity is better than none. If you can’t carry on a conversation during the activity, you are probably pushing too hard.

My routine has been to start my morning walk before breakfast at first light. Since I live in Florida, I prefer a morning walk when it is cool. I walk briskly for 45 minutes and then add a few minutes of slower walking to cool down. Wellness-walking or any aerobic exercise before breakfast is likely to burn fat rather than sugar because your overnight fast uses up much of your body’s sugar.

Be sure to wear comfortable walking or running shoes that cushion your heels and avoid heel pounding. If you want to get fit and burn calories walking fast is more efficient than walking longer at a leisurely pace.

Maintaining hydration is very important during any workout including wellness-walking. This is even more important in very warm and humid weather such as is common in Florida (even at 6 a.m.). I often carry a bottle of water with me. This reminds me of the issue of safety and an event that occurred on one of my morning walks.

I was walking at a good brisk gate and took a drink of water without slowing down but I did take my eyes off the path ahead, big mistake. My foot hit a slab of sidewalk that was a good two inches higher than its neighbor and I became airborne. I managed to roll my body to the right and landed on my right side with my arm under me. It was painful but there was no long lasting serious injury.

The lesson learned was to always pay attention to the path ahead and be alert to hazards. This includes being watchful when crossing streets and driveways. Walk erect with your head up and your eyes down and focused on where you are going. I also always walk facing traffic.

I often walk with my wife. When we walk together, we usually walk a little slower but for a longer time. Either way we both get a good workout and the bonus of time together.

My preference is to walk outside but that is not always possible in very cold or inclement weather. In that event we need to bring the walk indoors to the tread mill because the goal is to walk every day. The problem is that I find walking on a tread mill very boring. The solution is a television with a fast moving show or movie.

Remember, walk for your health’s sake. Whether you walk indoors or outdoors, walking is a best exercise for your cardiovascular health and helps to manage stress. While a minimum of 30 minutes per day five days a week is good, an uninterrupted 60 minute walk every day is best. It is a good idea to add your exercise routine to the discussion list for your physician visits.

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Disclaimer and goal

In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham  Lincoln

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