Find like-minded individuals to walk with, who can walk at your speed and be available on your schedule. Exercising is always more fun with good friends.
Running has become a passion for many Winnipeg families – less though because of the joy of running but because we want to stay in good health. How can we, as we age, look after our health at home and away from it?
Many people look after their health through this very good form of exercise. The malls are filled with walkers in the early morning. So are the parks, beaches and wooded trails. If you’re one of them, you can take pride! If you’re not, why not?
Walking is something you can do virtually anywhere and at any time. You can do laps around the cruise ship, at ports of call, on the beach of the Med, through the ruins of Greece or the dunes of the Sahara. Walking is inexpensive and doesn’t require lots of costly equipment. Generally, all you need is a willingness to get off the couch and put on a good pair of shoes.
Promotes sleep, reduces stress
Did you know that the only way to raise your good cholesterol (yes, there is a good one) is through exercise? You can reduce your bad cholesterol through diet change and exercise but you can only affect your good cholesterol with activity. Walking burns calories and fat (think belly, rear end, joules, and arms). Those of us who exercise regularly sleep better, feel better and generally are less stressed than those who do not. And I haven’t even mentioned all the really fascinating friends we make out there in the open space.
So you’ve decided to give it a go. Then what do you do?
First of all go slow. All too often we are too eager to re-master long lost skills. We remember our glory days of track and field back when we were younger. Believe me, there are more glory days to come but they must be pursued far more slowly than before. Be safe and listen to your body and you’ll know how to respond.
Take a companion
Choose places to walk that are well populated, where you have access to fluids and can meet other needs that may arise. Find like-minded individuals to walk with, who can walk at your speed and be available on your schedule. Exercising is always more fun with good friends.
You can spend a small fortune on clothing if you like. The important thing though is to have clothes that will keep you at a comfortable temperature. Layer your clothing to avoid being cold at the outset and to avoid overheating as you go along. Strive to walk three times per week and be sure to take time to stretch after your walk.
Many good resources are available to help you get started. The most important is your family physician. Before taking up any new activity you should consult your doctor. Once you have your physician’s ok you can go hunting for information about your new pastime.
The Running Room has good information both in their stores and on-line. Go to www.runningroom.com under “get active” and then “training programs” and you will find online programs for beginner and advanced walking.
If you would like specific instruction with medical backup here in Winnipeg, try the Reh-Fit Center or the Wellness Institute. Both institutions provide a wide variety of exercise options with instruction, along with professional healthcare providers. More information can be found on line at www.reh-fit.com and www.wellnessinstitute.ca.
So put down the paper and go for a walk already. After that pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea and enjoy that moment of rediscovering the prowess that still lurks in your limbs.