When was the last time you went for a walk? Were you aware that there are some real health benefits that come with a pleasant evening stroll?
Since 2010, Walk with Your Doc has been promoting the health benefits of walking to British Columbians through walking events for their patients and communities. To date, 278 walks have been organized with hundreds of doctors and thousands of patients taking part across B.C. This year, events are planned across northern communities from May 6-14, 2017. You can find out when it might be happening in your community and register at Walk with Your Doc.
While many Canadians may consider themselves active, when you look at the Canadian population as a whole, a different picture emerges. According to the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, just over 2 in 10 adults and 1 in 10 children and youth met the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines in 2013. While being physically active is important to your health, it can seem like a bit of challenge if you haven’t been active in a while. But it doesn’t have to be – it can be as simple as going for a walk.
Walking is a great way to increase your level of physical activity. Getting out for a daily stroll can have benefits that have a positive effect on not only your physical health, but your mental well-being as well.
- Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and muscular endurance.
- Walking is low impact and easy on the joints.
- Walking increases bone density and can have a positive effect on conditions such as osteoarthritis.
- Walking lowers your blood pressure and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Walking can help improve your mood and handle stress.
Another great thing about walking is that it doesn’t require special athletic skills or expensive equipment. It can be casual or it can be more of a challenge if you increase your pace or include some hills in your route. It’s an activity that can be done year round, indoors or outdoors.
Where I live in Terrace, there are lots of great places to walk. When I want to get out for a quick stroll, one of my favorite places to go is the Howe Creek trail. If I’m in the mood for a bit more of a challenge, the trails on Terrace Mountain lead to some spectacular views of the city while getting my heart pumping!
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you start walking:
- If you’ve been inactive, remember to start slow. Just do what you can and try to do a little more the next day. It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor if you have any concerns or health conditions before increasing your level of physical activity.
- Make sure you have a good pair of shoes for walking. You’ll be far more comfortable and likely to keep it up if your feet aren’t hurting at the end of a walk.
- Find ways to motivate yourself. Walk with a friend or find routes that you enjoy walking. Get a pedometer and challenge your family and friends to “out-step” you. I’ll be at the Walk With Your Doc event in Terrace on Saturday, May 6. If you want a walking companion for a chat and some socializing, I’d love to see you there!
- Set some goals to strive towards and reward yourself when you reach them.
- Look for opportunities to walk. Park further away from the store entrance or go for a quick walk on your lunch break.
Speaking of opportunities, take the opportunity during the first week of May to walk with your doctor. Who knows, maybe it can be the first step towards a healthier life.
About Reg Wulff
Reg is a licensing officer with Northern Health and has his BA in Health Science. Previously, he worked as a Recreation Therapist with Mental Health and Addictions Services in Terrace as well as a Regional Tobacco Reduction Coordinator. Originally from Revelstoke, Reg enjoys the outdoor activities that Terrace offers, like mountain biking and fishing. Reg also likes playing hockey, working out, and creative writing. He is married and has two sons and believes strongly in a work/life balance as family time is important to him.