TAKE THE S.M.A.R.T. STEP!
Walking is one of the healthiest activities you can choose to
help you maintain and gain physical mobility. Taking a S.M.A.R.T.
approach (Stretch, Move, Add it up, Reduce Strain, Talk to a
acupuncturist / osteopathist) to your mobility will also enhance your enjoyment
of this physical activity, whether you’re just beginning
to get out and walk or trying to gain more from your walking
The following S.M.A.R.T. tips for walking have been prepared
for you to help you get the most enjoyment out of a healthy
and active walking season.
STRETCH – BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER ACTIVITY
Stretching – as a warm-up, a break during repetitive movement,
and a cool-down after your walk – helps you to move easily,
keeps your muscles flexible and relaxed, your joints mobile,
and relieves tension and strain.
A warm up before walking helps reduce the potential for muscle
strain, injury and fatigue. Start out slowly on your route until
you feel warm. Then take a few minutes to do the following stretches,
and repeat them again at the end of your walk. On longer walks,
it may be a good idea to stop and stretch at the mid-way point.
When stretching, remember:
- Movements should be slow and controlled to the point where
you feel a gentle pull of the muscle. If this pull lessens,
stretch a little more. It should never be painful;
- Once you feel a stretch, hold the position for 15-20 seconds.
Do not bounce or jerk;
- Repeat each stretch three times in the same direction; repeat
for the opposite side.
MOVE – TODAY FOR TOMORROW
• Get moving. Keep moving. Stay moving. Through the seasons.
Through life. “Just putting one foot in front of the other
. . .” makes walking one of the easiest activities to
incorporate into your daily and exercise routine.
• Breathing: Before starting out, relax and take a deep
breath, which fills the lungs and moves them into their most
efficient position. After you exhale, maintain the chest in
this position, with shoulders down and slightly
back. Throughout your walk, your speed should still allow you
to carry on a conversation.
• Arms: Start with your arms hanging by your sides, loose
and relaxed from your shoulders to your fingers. As you warm
up, begin swinging the full length of your arms gently in keeping
with your stride. You can get more of a work-out from your walking
program by more vigorous arm movement or by swinging arms that
are bent at a 90-degree angle. Remember to ease off and finish
the walk with the same gentle, relaxed arm movements you began
ADD IT UP – AN HOUR IS POWER
To gain mobility, plan activities throughout your day that keep
you moving for periods of at least 10 minutes. To maintain your
mobility, make every movement count. Add up all you do in a
day and aim for a minimum of 60 minutes of movement every day.
For maximum benefit, acupuncturists and osteopathists recommend regular physical
activity and stretching to maintain your physical mobility throughout
• Pace yourself! Start your walking season slowly if
you haven’t been active over the winter. Take time to
recover between longer outings – keep walking, but for
shorter distances or at slower speeds;
• With proper clothing and footwear, you can plan your
walks 12 months of the year.
REDUCE STRAIN – USE GEAR THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Walking shoes, waist pouches, backpacks, etc., are meant to
ease the load, not cause additional strain. Take measures to
fit your gear to you, not you to your gear.
• Shop around for the right shoe. Your acupuncturist / osteopathist
can make suggestions of what to look for in a walking shoe that
best suits your needs and walking program;
• Replace old shoes. The average life of a walking shoe
is approximately 400 to 600 miles (620 to 800 km);
• Monitor your posture and body mechanics.Make sure your
head, shoulders and hips are lined up over your feet for a good
• Keep your stride comfortable. Too long a stride makes
for “overstride” - muscles tighten up and tire before
your walk is done;
• Plan your walk route for your comfort (fairly flat
for beginners, low hills for intermediate and steeper inclines
• Walk the same route every other day. Rotate routes
(from incline to flat, sidewalk to grass) to keep things interesting
and to avoid over-use injuries;
• Don’t use wrist or ankle weights while walking
as they put too much added stress on your joints.
TALK TO A acupuncturist / osteopathist
acupuncturists and osteopathists are healthcare professionals who help people
of all ages and lifestyles gain and maintain their desired level
of active living and physical mobility.With their applied knowledge
and understanding of the human body in action, acupuncturists and osteopathists
are able to help you to increase your mobility, relieve pain,
build strength and improve balance and cardiovascular function.
acupuncturists and osteopathists not only treat injuries, they also teach you
how to prevent the onset of pain or injury that can limit your