Put Spring In Your Walk

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Guest blogger & Cancer CARE co-lead Terry Drew, PCT, CES, IFA

Walking in the spring season is one of my favorite exercises. Yes! Walking is an exercise. Walking for even a few minutes every day provides many benefits.

Keep it simple

With a buddy or alone

Around the block

Live in your outdoor surroundings

  • Walking strengthens your heart – Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check. When your heart rate increases that gets your blood pumping and is a workout for your heart and circulatory system.
  • It can help with osteoporosis – Walking counts as a weight bearing activity which stimulates and strengthens bones, increasing bone density.
  • It strengthens your legs and core – With an erect and strong posture during your walk you will tone your core and abdominals as well as your legs and buttocks. When holding your arms at a comfortable level, bent at elbow, and swinging them backwards and forward your arms  with be working and toning as well.
  • Walking boosts your vitamin D levels – If you’re walking outside in daylight, you’ll be boosting your body’s stores of vitamin D, a nutrient that’s hard to get from food.
  • Walking gives you ENERGY – The ability to exercise to boost mood is undisputed. Studies have shown moderate intensity exercise (such as a brisk walk) to be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression. Being active releases good endorphins into the bloodstream, reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Please check with your doctor to get clearance before starting a walking program.

Each cancer patient and survivor has a different tolerance to exercise, so start with a walk to your mailbox. Your body will tell you when you are ready for a gradual increase in duration and distance. When you feel that you aren’t tired or out of breath with your current distance, you can start walking down the block, around the block and on a trail in your local area. Although I enjoy the tranquility of walking by myself in the morning hours, reflecting on the day ahead, many people enjoy walking with a buddy or while listening to music or an audio book.

Check out the Loudoun County and Fairfax County web sites for a list of wonderful nearby scenic paths and trails.

Whatever you do, make your walk an enjoyable exercise, not one you dread doing. Walking can be done anywhere and anytime of the day, and that’s what makes it the perfect exercise.

Guest blogger Terry Drew is the co-lead of Cancer CARE, the cancer exercise division of Oncology Rehab and Wellness. You may contact Terry at tdrew@oncrehabandwellness.com.

For comments or questions about previous blog posts or Oncology Rehab and Wellness Resources services, please contact Chery Guarna at cguarna@oncrehabandwellness.com.