The Importance of Walking - Balance Chicago Physical Therapy

The Importance of Walking

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The Importance of Walking

Walking is a wonderful exercise as it has a number of benefits for mental and physical health.

These are some of the reasons why it is a great exercise and so important:

  • You can progress the intensity or regress the intensity to your liking:
    • Progress the intensity by walking with ankle or wrist weights (1-2 lbs.); walking fast as if you are going to be late to an appointment; walking for a longer duration than usual; and walking on uneven surfaces.
    • Regress the intensity by walking shorter durations; taking more rest breaks; and walking on even surfaces.
  • There are a plethora of health benefits:
    • Walking is good for cardiovascular (heart) health
    • Walking helps the immune system
    • Walking reduces joint pain
    • Walking strengthens your bones
    • Walking keeps your mind mentally engaged
    • Walking reduces anxiety/stress
    • Walking gives you more energy
    • Walking helps lower blood pressure
  • Walking never has to be boring:
    • Listen to a podcast or music
    • Walk with a friend (Note: If you are aiming to walk intensely and you are able to walk and talk simultaneously with your friend, then you are not walking fast enough)
    • Walk outdoors
    • Watch a favorite TV show while walking on the treadmill
    • For treadmill walking, there are a variety of programs you can do (such as walking up/down hills, in different areas of the world, etc.)
  • You can walk anytime and anywhere:
    • Mall walking
    • Treadmill walking
    • Using YouTube videos (there are many walking videos you can do in the comfort of your home!)
    • When on the phone, walk (it’s amazing how many steps you get in from pacing)

Walking Tips

  • If you are new to walking, start by walking 15 minutes a day. Progress in 5 minute increments. Walking at least 30 minutes a day is ideal! 

  • Wear good, supportive walking shoes. The Asics brand is my personal favorite for walking/running shoes because of the support they provide in the midfoot and ankle. 

  • Drink water after you are finished with walking to stay hydrated!

Do You Really Need to Walk 10,000 Steps Daily?

The simple answer is no. As a physical therapist, I strive to walk between 7,500-10,000 steps a day. 10,000 steps originated from a marketing campaign in the early 1960s. However, there is debate over this number, and despite what you read, the bottom line is… the more steps you take, the better it is for your overall health. 

Move Your Body!

I always like to conclude these blogs with a reminder to MOVE YOUR BODY!

Your body is like a car and it needs gas (walking) for it to work properly. Walking keeps your muscles and myofascia hydrated, your bones strong, and your mind mentally engaged. When people do not walk, they feel worse and their “car” does not work as properly, which can lead to other health issues.

 

 

If you have any questions, about this or other topics, the Balance Chicago Team is here to help you! For more information, or to schedule your appointment, give us a call or click the link above. We look forward to working with you soon!

Blog Written By: Dr. Isabella Badalament, PT, DPT


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