Walk your way to better health
Walking for just two and one-half hours per week or about 21 minutes per day can cut your risk of heart disease by 30 percent, according to Harvard Health. In addition, walking can lower your risk of diabetes and cancer, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and keep you mentally alert. There are no routines to learn or membership papers to sign. Just make up your mind to get walking and start.
Here are five tips from the American Heart Association to get you started on your own heart health campaign through walking.
What to wear
When walking indoors, choose an outfit that is loose or comfortably stretchable. Fabrics that wick moisture away from the body are helpful if you sweat while walking. If you’re walking outdoors, be sure to dress for the weather. On cold days, dress in layers so you can remove a layer if you get too warm. Wear a hat or a scarf to keep your head warm and mittens for your hands. In hot weather, be sure to lather on the sunscreen with a 15 or greater SPF. Protect your eyes with sunglasses or a visor. Choose light colors to reflect sunlight. In all types of weather, pick clothing that allows you to be seen. Consider wearing clothing with reflective stripes for maximum visibility.
Finding the right shoe
Walking shoes should be lightweight and provide support which means no flip flops. Walking shoes don’t have to cost a fortune as long as they have proper fit and support. Begin by having your feet measured. Just because you have always been a size 8 doesn’t mean you are still a size 8. People with high arches tend to need a shoe with more shock absorption than people with average feet so choose according to your foot type. To check the shoe flexibility, grab the shoe at the ball and at the heel. Bend it from front to back. The shoe should bend near the ball of the foot just like the natural movement of your foot. Next, squeeze the cup of the shoe where your heel will go. The heel cup should be stiff enough to keep from collapsing. Finally, try on the shoe. There should not be any spots that rub or you will end up with blisters.
Don’t wait to hydrate
The amount of water you need while walking depends on many things from the temperature to your health. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated and should have taken a drink earlier. At the very least, be sure to take a drink before and after your walk. Taking a water bottle along for the stroll is the best plan though.
Take care to prepare
If you are climbing out of the recliner to take your first walk, you need to start slow. Take a few minutes to stretch the muscles supporting your knees and hips before starting to walk. Increase your walking time each week by about 10 percent. If you increase too quickly, you might suffer pains on your lower legs known as shin splints. It is also a good idea to stretch your calves after walking. Choose your walking route carefully. Sidewalks or walking paths are safer than streets. If you choose to walk on the road, walk against traffic so you can be on the lookout for approaching cars. Listening to music through earphones while you walk can be fun but be sure you can still hear street noise. Carry your cellphone with you in case of emergencies.
Use a tracker
There are dozens of fitness trackers and phone apps that will track your fitness progress. Although they are not necessary, they can motivate you to keep walking, especially if you are in competition with others. Prices range from $50 to more than $200 depending upon the gadget’s capabilities.
Exercise for recovery
An important part of recovery after a heart attack or other medical event involves a focused program of physical therapy. Coming back from a period of inactivity due to hospitalization is not easy to do on your own. It’s important to gradually regain strength and balance with carefully monitored therapy. Glenview Terrace understands the importance of therapy following hospitalization and offers recovery options with experienced physical and occupational therapists.
Your plan for discharge begins upon admission to Glenview Terrace. Whether you’re recovering from surgery or mending a broken hip, you can be sure your medications, wound care and other needs will be administered by an attentive staff who work closely with the hospital and physicians. The expert rehabilitation team will provide you with the customized, one-on-one therapy you need to regain your strength, mobility and independence so you can return to your regular schedule. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art equipment in Glenview Terrace’s gyms, including the main gym, which features floor to ceiling views of its tranquil fountain and patio. Compassionate staff offer the encouragement and positive reinforcement needed to move you toward your goals.
Glenview Terrace delivers this outstanding care in an elegant setting that begins with beautifully landscaped grounds and continues into the spacious, well-appointed rooms. Guests can enjoy nutritious meals served in elegant dining rooms. There are many opportunities for interaction with others during planned activities. Guests can also choose to relax in their rooms with an impressive array of amenities and services to pamper guests during their stay.
Staying in shape by walking is a good decision but so is recovering at Glenview Terrace after a medical event. For additional information or to arrange a tour, visit glenviewterrace.com or call 847-729-9090.
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