May is National Walking Month. It seems like a fitting time to celebrate because it’s also Nurse’s Month, and no one gets their daily steps in like a nurse on the go!

Getting plenty of exercise and hitting step goals can seem easy while we’re feeling our best, but as we age, we can slow down, and we may not even realize it. Decreased movement can creep up and become problematic after retirement or reducing our workload. While not everyone is headed out to do a marathon, regular walking is a great way to maintain mobility, strength, and long-term independence.

Benefits of Walking:

  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances energy
  • Fortifies the immune system
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Brightens your mood, reduces anxiety, and improves depression
  • Increases your balance and coordination
  • Helps to ease arthritis
  • It may lower your risk of developing a chronic disease

After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.

—George Macauley Trevelyan

Common Barriers to Walking:

Finding Relief

Unfortunately, as we age, if we don’t move it, we lose it, so it’s best to address mobility issues as soon as possible. If you are experiencing barriers to everyday movement like walking, don’t delay speaking with your medical team.

Whether you have discomfort when you move around or you’ve slowed down a bit, your doctor may be able to find a root cause for your issues. They may also be able to order physical or occupational therapies.

Outpatient therapists can teach you how to move in a way that limits your pain and maximizes your independence. They can also help you find ways to move to decrease your risk of falling.

Lastly, if you need mobility aids such as a cane or walker, outpatient therapists can help you find safe options. Canes and walkers are not one-size-fits-all. Sure, they’re available at medical supply shops, but they are all different, and some devices could cause harm if they’re not the right size for your needs. Outpatient therapists can help you find the best devices and teach you how to use them so you can enjoy moving again!

How to Make Walking Fun:

  • Speak with your doctor about any discomfort when you walk to learn the root cause before you begin.
  • Find a walking partner (join a group or think about starting one).
  • Scope out a beautiful place to walk, such as an established path at a local park or a trail near lakes and rivers.
  • If the outdoors isn’t safe for you, consider walking at your local shopping mall during quieter times, or find out if your local schools allow hallway walking.
  • Wear bright, easily visible colors.
  • Keep your hands open to catch yourself if you have a fall (avoid holding phones or water bottles).
  • Watch the ground and everything around you for uneven ground or potential obstacles that could trip you up.
  • Carry a light bag such as a waist pack or backpack to keep a few essentials handy and your hands free.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with plenty of grip.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Start small and increase your daily steps/distance as you gain confidence and ability.

If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk. Hippocrates

If you’re interested in how CaringEdge’s outpatient therapists can help you get back on your feet, contact us at info@caringedge.com.