But what if walking hurts? What do you do then? Do you stop walking? Do you give in and give up? NO!
You find a way to keep moving. Walking is one of the best low-impact exercise routines we can adopt in our lives that will help us manage our pain. Do you walk enough?
Here are a few ideas to get you walking again...
Go slowly. If you're out of shape or just getting started...be careful and go slowly. If a 5-minute walk in the morning and evening is all you can manage...that's fine. When you begin...walk on a flat surface and avoid hills...then increase...adding more minutes each time you walk. Pace yourself okay? it's so important when we have pain and mobility issues that we do not over-do it by jumping from no walks to hour-long hikes. If we don't...it could take weeks to recover from one walk.
Have a good pair of shoes. Some people think you have to spend a lot of money buying the top of the line walking shoes...you don't....BUT...it does help. Let's be honest...the more comfortable your footwear the easier walking is. If your shoes fit poorly...walking will hurt more. If they're too tight...same thing. The level of support in your footwear is important too. Get your feet measured to ensure you're buying the proper size and always take the shoes for a walk around the store for a bit before buying.
Walk with a friend. Do you work out better with a buddy? Some people like and need the company to keep them motivated...someone to talk to...and some take their dogs along. Having a buddy can help keep us on track with our excercise plan and it's nice to have someone encouraging you along the way... celebrating your exercise goals when you reach them...the buddy system does make exercise more enjoyable sometimes. So grab a friend...get off the couch...and get out in the sunshine...enjoy some outdoor time with a good friend...feed the squirrels in the park perhaps.
Plan a time. Try to walk at the same time every day -- set aside time each day for you to get out and walk...whether that's first thing in the morning...on your lunch hour at work...or after you come home...set aside time each day for you. The more regular you become with your walking...the more likely you'll stick to it. Build a walking routine, time out your route and keep track of your progress.
Use a pedometer. There are various step counters that can make it easy to mark your progress. Seeing how many steps you took today can also inspire you to take more tomorrow. It's a good way to record your information so you can share it with your doctor.
Watch TV while you walk. If you walk using a treadmill...it doesn't have to be boring. Put on your favourite show and watch while you walk...and before you know your show is over and you've done your exercise. You were going to watch the show anyway right? might as well get some exercise while you're doing it.
Walk wherever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator...go inside the store instead of using the drive thru...park a little further away and walk the distance...squeeze in extra steps wherever you can. Get up and walk throughout your house and out into the yard. Increase your steps daily.
Walk with music. I enjoy taking my music along with me when I walk. It helps to keep my occupied on something other than the pain. I sing along to the songs I like the most and I use it to help me keep pace. When a song is slow...the walk is slow...and when one with a good beat comes...well I try to increase the speed. Use your music to motivate you through the pain and to keep you focused.
Wear comfortable clothing. Whatever form of exercise you do...dress comfortably! wear clothing that allows you to move without constricting you, pinching or binding you. The more comfortable you are walking the easier this will be to maintain.
Take good care of you eh? Get your walk on.