It’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other — yet as powerful and proven a therapy as customized diets and medication. Here are three walking programs that can help you lift a bad mood, ease arthritis pain, even prevent and treat diabetes. Lace up those walking shoes!
In the past two decades, the most basic form of human locomotion has been upgraded from “poor man’s public transportation” to everybody’s low-impact, low-tech, no-learning-curve therapy.
You already know that walking is real exercise: It burns 340 calories an hour (at 4 mph), builds muscle, strengthens and stabilizes joints, and increases endurance when done regularly. Nowadays, walking is increasingly being used as a treatment for a wide variety of ailments, including diabetes, arthritis, and depression.
But to reap the benefits of therapy walking, you may have to fine-tune this most basic skill. Studies are demonstrating that certain ways of walking — fast, slow, in water, and combined with everything from meditation to martial arts — are more beneficial than others for certain kinds of physical and emotional problems.
Before You Start…
Check with your doctor or other specialist who monitors you before you try any new exercise program, particularly if you haven’t exercised lately. Have her help you assess your fitness level and ability to do these exercises before you begin. With expert help, you can adapt our programs to suit your needs and limitations.
On the following pages, you’ll find an import from the Far East that lowers blood sugar without raising your pulse rate, a joint-friendly aquatic twist on basic walking, and an uplifting walking technique that will continue to brighten your mood long after you leave your walking shoes by the door.
Ready? Start walking!