Practicing social distancing does not mean that you have to stop being physically active. Getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity for your age and ability helps to maintain and improve overall health, and is even more important during stressful times like these. Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, and at least 2 days of muscle-strengthening activities.
One of the best ways to get your aerobic activity in is to walk outdoors. Walking has been shown to improve your overall health and well-being, prevent disease, and help with weight management. Walking outdoors provides many additional benefits! You can start with 30 minutes/day (either all at once or in short increments throughout the day depending on your tolerance for exercise) and work your way up. Adding more time provides further benefits. Just be sure to stay 6 feet away from others and wear your sunscreen!
Benefits of Walking Outdoors:
- Decrease stress and improve your mood
- As with any exercise, walking produces mood boosting chemicals like serotonin and dopamine that can lift your mood both during and after your workout. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and walking outside has been shown to lower rates of depression more effectively than walking indoors.
- Decreased your blood pressure
- As you walk, your heart beats faster and pumps more blood. Over time, as your heart becomes able to pump more blood with less effort, your blood pressure levels will decrease.
- Lower risk for heart attack/cardiovascular disease
- It has been shown that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly.
- Improve bone strength
- Walking is a weight-bearing activity. The light impact can help strengthen your bones, protecting you from osteoporosis and fractures.
- Increase Vitamin D levels
- When you walk outside, you’re exposing your skin to sunlight, which prompts the body to make vitamin D, even while wearing sunscreen. Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with numerous health concerns, including an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, rickets, and prostate cancer, so getting outside for a daily walk is a great way to protect your health.
- Improve brain function
- Oxygen is essential in maintaining healthy brain function, growth, and healing. When a person takes a walk outside, getting to breathe fresh outdoor air improves brain function and concentration.
- Improve metabolism/help with weight loss
- Regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, reduce fat, burn more calories and prevent muscle loss.
We encourage you to maintain your health and fitness, while doing your part to stop the spread of the virus. Feel free to call or email us if you have any questions, we are here for you!
Our offices also remain open to assist you with any of your physical therapy needs.