Senior women friends walking outdoors in forest.

Did you know that a regular 30-minute daily walk can lead to a one-pound weight loss a week? And that is not the only health benefit of a walking program. In this blog, The Therapy Network provides a guide to walking for health.

Five Benefits of a Walking Program

You may start a walking program to lose weight, but here are just a few of the other benefits included in our guide to walking for health:

  1. Walking strengthens your bones and your muscles. Stronger bones and muscles improve mobility and help prevent falls. For additional information on preventing falls in your home, read a recent TTN blog.
  2. Walking helps prevent or manage many conditions plaguing Americans, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
  3. Do you need to increase your energy level and also reduce stress? Walking is the answer.
  4. If you suffer from sleepless nights, walking will improve your sleep, and you will wake in the morning feeling refreshed.
  5. Walking is free exercise. You do not need an expensive gym membership, a coach, or gear (besides well-fitted shoes and comfortable clothing). It is also an exercise program you can share with family and friends.

How Do I Get Started Walking for Health?

After reading the TTN Guide to Walking for Health, you may decide it is time to start. If you are out of shape or recovering from an illness or injury, you may be wondering about the best strategy to start a walking program.

First, if you are a current patient of The Therapy Network, review your desire to begin a walking program with our professional staff. They are ready to discuss your goals and help you reach them. Perhaps you are willing and able to start walking this week, or you may need to set the plan to begin in the future. Either way, our staff can advise you on when and how to start.

If you are not a current patient at TTN, discuss your plan with your primary care doctor. It is wise to discuss the launch of any fitness program with a medical professional.

Do you have well-fitted shoes and comfortable clothing? The clothing needed depends on the season in Virginia, but you will most likely find what you need in your current closet. Well-fitted shoes are a must. If you are unsure about the shoe to fit your ability, weight, and even mobility needs, we suggest visiting a store specializing in walking shoes.

Don’t forget items such as sun protection, a hat, a way to carry your phone, and even a new leash for your favorite furry friend that will motivate your walks. Or take the time to invite a friend or family member to join your new program.

Find a safe area in your neighborhood or local park. Always tell someone where you are walking and when you expect to return to your home or office. Some schools in the Hampton Roads region have sports tracks that are available free during non-school hours.

Start Slow with The Guide to Walking for Health

We know that we started this blog with a teaser…lose a pound a week. Yes, you can lose a pound a week with a 30- minute walk six times a week. (combined with healthy eating habits)  But, if you are new to a daily walking program, you will need to start slow. Thirty minutes probably sounds easy while sitting at your desk or on your sofa reading this blog, but if you are out of shape, you will need to gradually work up to a daily walk.

Starting slow means looking forward to your walk around the neighborhood or a local trail. Your enthusiasm for your new “way of life” will gradually build as your walking time increases. You will have time to break in those new walking shoes.

Start slowly, and you will walk at least thirty minutes a day within weeks.

Here is The Plan

A Special Note:  You can also start a walking program on a treadmill, at home, or at a local gym. We found this blog with 5 Treadmill Walking Plans helpful for a treadmill walking program.

walking for health
A guide to walking for health may include walking on a treadmill

We also want to mention that many free apps exist for iPhone and Android smartphones. The apps provide an easy-to-follow plan mixed with some great, upbeat music. You can start with a phone application today at little to no cost.

Start slow, with a ten or fifteen-minute daily plan for the first week. Here are some tips from The Therapy Network:

  1. Start with a warm-up and some stretches. Here is a pre-walk warm-up guide sponsored by PBS.
  2. Walk at your own best pace for only 15 minutes on Week One. Gradually add only 5 minutes per session each week. The key is to build your minutes and your distance slowly.
  3. Start with four days a week and gradually work up to six days a week over the next twelve weeks. Remember that a gradual build-up of days and time is a healthy way to launch a walking program.

Contact The Therapy Network

Are you ready to start a walking program this week? You may want to start the program but also suffer from a health or mobility issue. Perhaps you have Plantar Fasciitis or are recovering from knee or hip replacement surgery. Our team of professional physical therapists is ready to create a custom plan to fit your needs.

The Therapy Network has six locations in Hampton, Norfolk, VA Beach, and Chesapeake, Virginia. We are ready to help you start your “Walking for Health” program today.

You can book a same-day appointment, even without a physician’s referral. We hope to see you soon.