Walking for Health
Comprehensive Cancer Centers encourages everyone to get active to reduce risks for illnesses, improve treatment outcomes, as well as improving mental health. The benefits of increased activity can crossover to other parts of your life, such as better eating habits and inspiration to monitor health even more through regular doctor visits.
Getting more active physically can be difficult for some people, as many may fear rigorous workouts. With that in mind, Comprehensive recommends people consider easing into activity by taking short walks to get started on manageable path to better health.
Walking offers an easy way to improve or maintain overall health with just a half hour every day a few times per week. This activity can improve heart health, help you lose weight, increase strength and best of all it can be done anywhere and at any time. Walking provides a great path for physical activity for those who may be overweight, elderly, or just haven’t exercised for a long while.
In simple terms, walking is just the act of carrying your own body weight, which makes the practice a weight-bearing exercise. The benefits of weight-bearing exercise include the following:
- Improved cardiovascular and pulmonary health
- Improvement of high blood pressure and cholesterol
- Reduced risks of diabetes
- Decreasing risks of strokes and heart disease
- Improvement of joint and/or muscular pain
- Stronger bones and muscles
- increased muscle strength and endurance
- Weight loss
Getting Set Up to Start Walking to Reduce Cancer Risks
While walking itself doesn’t cost anything, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the correct footwear to make the activity safe. Incorrect footwear may cause foot pain, blisters or even injuries. While sandals and maybe even boots may be comfortable for you, they can cause problems when used for walking, especially if you start to increase intensity.
A good pair of athletic shoes should work fine for walking, but make sure they’re properly sized for your foot and in good shape. If you’re shoes are generally okay, you still may want to think about rewarding yourself with a new pair, if you accomplish a small goal, such as getting through the first week by walking at least three times. There are walking shoe stores that specialize in shoes for walking, as well as athletic shoe stores located throughout the Las Vegas Valley.
While you can find shoes online, if you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to have someone properly size your foot and try on a few pair of shoes to see which one is right for you. Often shoes you find online can arrive and be narrower than you prefer, or too wide. And shoes can vary in size with a size 10 in one brand feeling like a size 11 in another. Taking some time to make this simple investment in yourself may also encourage you to stay more active with your walking plan.
A great way to get a walking plan in place, and to stick with it, can come from making walking more fun. This can be done through doing things like changing up where you walk, taking your dog or a friend or family member with you, or joining a club of fellow walkers, with many groups active in Southern Nevada.
Getting Started Walking to Reduce Cancer Risks
It’s important to reiterate that physical activity does not have to be strenuous to start yielding results. A study of inactive women found even low levels of exercise just over an hour per week, improved fitness levels, when compared to those who did not start exercising. The study confirms physical activity doesn’t have to be highly challenging or have to takes a lot of time to improve your health.
While walking doesn’t have to be done at the level of someone training for a professional sport, it does take some activity. And with walking the primary measure of activity is time, with 30 minutes per session, at least three times per week a good place to start. If 30 minutes is too challenging to do at once, you can start with smaller sessions, such as ten minutes three times per day or even five minutes six times per day. If you need to start that small, you can do these walks while at home or at work. Just get up and go.
Once you’re able to do a full 30 minutes three times per week, one can then build that up to five days per week. And from there, as physical conditions improve, and with doctor’s guidance, intensity can be raised, and challenges such as walking hills can be added to your regimen. A good way to measure your progress is how quickly you can walk, while feeling no pain in your body, and while being able to carry a conversation while walking. This is another reason why adding a walking partner to your plan can be helpful.
When walking at higher intensity, be sure to add in cool downs to your routine. Gradual cool-downs prevent muscular stiffness and injury, which can lead to interrupted and even discontinued walking routines.
And always, be sure to talk with your personal doctor if you’re planning on doing, or increasing, any physical activity. If you have cancer, be sure to talk to your oncologist about your activity, as well.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with cancer, serious blood disorders, breast health conditions, pulmonary and sleep disease. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.