Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
On Wednesday, September 9, Office of the U.S. Surgeon General launched #StepItUp, a new campaign encouraging individuals and communities to get outside and walk! As a Houston sports physician, many of my patients already get regular exercise. However, if you don’t have an exercise routine, walking is an easy way to get moving.
The Surgeon General offers some great reasons why everyone should get regular exercise by walking:
- “One out of every two U.S. adults is living with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.”
- These diseases contribute to disability, premature death, and increased health care costs.
- Living with these diseases impairs your overall quality of life.
- By increasing your level of physical activity, you can decrease your risk for these chronic diseases, thereby improving your overall quality of life.
- Walking is perhaps one of the easiest and best forms of exercise as it requires no special skills or equipment, and can be done in almost any location.
- You may find that intentionally walking for exercise is a behavior that easily integrates into your current daily routine.
In addition to the physical health benefits, exercise is known to improve emotional well-being and is correlated with positive mental health. The Surgeon General’s Office reports, “Regular physical activity is also important for healthy aging and may delay the onset of cognitive decline in older adults.”
How Much Should You Walk?
- It’s recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g. walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. (Children and adolescents are recommended at least 60 minutes of activity per day.)
- Walking as little as 22 minutes per day is all you need to meet these recommendations.
How Can You Get Started Walking?
- Go for a walk on your lunch break.
- Park further from the office or store.
- Walk with a friend.
- Use a treadmill or gym membership for inclement weather (or if you live and work in areas of Houston where walking is not feasible).
- If you’re motivated by setting and reaching goals, wear a device that tracks how much you walk.
Think about ways you can help make Houston more walkable. View the infographic below.
Get Fit With a Houston Sports Doctor
Learn more about developing healthy exercise and strength-training habits when you schedule your appointment with a Houston sports physician. Call Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics at (713) 756-5546 to schedule your appointment. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.