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Kick Up Your Walk With Some Easy Moves

By Sandy Schroeder

Walking may be your go-to exercise that keeps you moving when you miss your yoga class or skip a workout, but you want to make sure it happens regularly and is intense enough.

Harvard Health recommends it as the most natural exercise and offers tips to help you collect the cardiovascular benefits and maintain a healthy weight. I've found it lifts the spirit and sparks new ideas too. 

Here are some simple steps to upgrade your walk.

Stand up straight - Harvard Health suggests imagining a string fixed to the top of your head that pulls you up to keep your spine straight and eliminates hunching. You will breathe better and feel better.

Look straight ahead - Look forward about 20 feet to see what is ahead and avoid stumbling. You will also avoid the hunching that weighs on the neck and back. 

Make your shoulders work - Roll your shoulders back and down to reduce strain on your neck and upper back. Never lift them around your ears or hunch them around the chest.

Emphasize shorter walks - They may fit into your daily routine and work to burn fat too. Researchers have found seniors who walk 15 minutes three times daily control their blood sugar levels better than the ones who do a 45-minute walk.

Pick some new routes - Add some interest to your walks with new destinations. Then mix up the choices as you go. You will be more eager to get out there to see what's going on in your new favorite walks to the park, around the neighborhood, or near the water.

Get some help from a buddy - Keep each other on track and nudge each other to make the walks a daily routine. Enjoy the conversations as the walks become a healthy habit. 

Step up the pace - Make it a habit to walk briskly to burn calories and shed weight. 

Do uphill walking too - To increase heart health and burn fat, walk up a few hills or set the incline on your treadmill.

Track your daily walks - Reward yourself when you succeed with new sneakers or make walking a family affair and track everyone's progress once a week. Set up a bulletin board and take pictures of the best walkers. Then head out for another walk to get ice cream.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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