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Can Walkers Help

author
Paul Gonzalez
• Tuesday, 12 January, 2021
• 8 min read

“One of the biggest misconceptions about walking is that it’s not an effective weight loss tool and that it requires a lot of time and effort for minimal results,” says Keri Peterson, MD. We get lulled into the same, everyday stride and don't realize that even a brisk walk around the block can do your health some good.

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Contents

Walking for an hour a day can reduce your risk of depression, according to a 2019 JAVA Psychiatry study. Researchers actually saw a 26-percent decrease in odds of developing depression with increased physical activity, like walking.

Going for a walk can actually increase creativity levels, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Researchers observed 176 students performing a series of tasks while seated versus while walking.

), will recruit several upper and lower body muscles to help you burn calories, Dr. Peterson explains. “If you're able to vary your pace with more intense intervals of inclined or rapid walking to elevate your heart rate, you will also increase the calories burned,” she says.

In a 2016 study out of Duke University, researchers compared participants with prediabetes as they walked briskly or jogged 13.8 miles a week for 6 months. Walking actually showed nearly six times greater improvement in the participant's glucose tolerance, compared to those who jogged.

In a small, observational study published in Sleep Health, research showed that adults who increased the time they spent walking during the day slept better at night. This one might come as a surprise, but walking can actually give your immune system an extra hand, which could prove to be useful this cold and flu season.

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A 2018 study in BMC Public Health found that the risk of having one or more episodes of the common cold was reduced by 26 percent for adults who walked at least three times a week. Researchers recorded self-reported walking speeds and body mass indexes (BMI) of over 400,000 participants and followed up with them for almost seven years.

A 15-minute brisk walk, instead of being sedentary, could reduce your craving for sugary snacks per a 2015 LOS One study. Alexis Jones Assistant Editor Alexis Jones is an assistant editor at Women's Health where she writes across several verticals on WomensHealthmag.com, including life, health, sex and love, relationships and fitness, while also contributing to the print magazine.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.

Maintain a healthy weight Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes Strengthen your bones and muscles Improve your mood Improve your balance and coordination The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.

A fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements. Turning your normal walk into a fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements.

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Your neck, shoulders and back are relaxed, not stiffly upright. You're swinging your arms freely with a slight bend in your elbows.

Your stomach muscles are slightly tightened and your back is straight, not arched forward or backward. You're walking smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.

Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. Wear comfortable clothes and gear appropriate for various types of weather.

If you walk outdoors when it's dark, wear bright colors or reflective tape for visibility. If you'll be walking outdoors, avoid paths with cracked sidewalks, potholes, low-hanging limbs or uneven turf.

Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for exercise. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity.

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Also aim to do strength training exercises of all major muscle groups at least two times a week. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

For even more health benefits, aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration.

Just think how good you'll feel when you see how many miles you've walked each week, month or year. Record these numbers in a walking journal or log them in a spreadsheet or a physical activity app.

Another option is to use an electronic device such as a pedometer or fitness tracker to calculate steps and distance. Starting a walking program takes initiative.

Start with a simple goal, such as, “I'll take a 5- or 10-minute walk during my lunch break.” If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don't give up.

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Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine, and then get back on track. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Slide show: Tips for choosing and using walkers Previous Next 1 of 8Types of walkers If you break a bone in your leg or foot, or you're at risk of falling, a walker can make it easier for you to get around.

Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the options, including: This walker has four nonskid, rubber-tipped legs to provide stability.

This walker is similar to a foot-propelled scooter, but it has a platform for resting your knee. Aug. 21, 2019Show references Falls and older adults: Frequently asked questions.

Ambulatory assistive devices in orthopedics: Uses and modifications. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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(Source: wagwalking.com)

Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.

Madison TJ (expert opinion). Canes and walkers help people with pain, weakness, and balance problems walk more safely and comfortably.

Injuries to one foot or leg. Arthritis or pain (especially of the knees and hips) on both sides. Most common types Single point canes can help with early balance problems.

Four point or “quad” canes add more stability and help even more with balance. Curved, rounded, or grip handles help with balance and to lower stress on your hand.

Walkers should have rubber grips for your hands, so they don’t slip. The correct length of a cane or walker is measured from the wrist to the floor.

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This measurement should be about the same as the distance from the floor to the point where your leg bone fits into your hip socket. If your cane or walker does not feel right, ask your physician or physical therapist to check the fit.

Use the cane on the opposite side of your injury, pain, or weakness (unless your healthcare provider tells you not to). Move the cane and your bad leg a comfortable distance forward.

Stand with your toes halfway between the front and back tips or wheels. Lean slightly forward, and hold the arms of the walker for support.

Repeat the cycle: Place your walker firmly on the ground (or roll it ahead of you), then take a step. Tennis balls cut and placed on the rubber tips can be helpful for ease of movement on carpeted surfaces.

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