The longer days and warmer weather are a perfect combination to take up regular exercise and even just walking more has a host of healthy benefits according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA).
Chiropractor and NZCA spokesperson Dr Hayden Thomas explains: ‘Walking benefits all aspects of your health – from increasing your levels of vitamin D, improving the efficiency of heart and lung function, reducing circulating stress hormones, assisting spinal function, and helping with weight-loss. And it’s something nearly everyone can do to increase their fitness and wellbeing. As part of the Just Start Walking initiative from the World Federation of Chiropractic, a global non-profit organisation, we’re encouraging New Zealanders to think about making more journeys on foot.’
'We know that for every 20 minutes you spend sitting, it takes your spine about 30 minutes of standing or 5 minutes of walking to recover.1,2 Walking regularly will also help improve your immune system, blood and lymph circulation, enhance mood and energy levels, and help maintain good levels of bone density.3 What’s more there’s no gym membership fee to pay, you can do it with friends and you can walk anywhere, at any time.’
The Just Start Walking programme is for everyone but the NZCA recommends getting a spinal check-up with your family chiropractor prior to starting any new exercise regime. An NZCA chiropractor will evaluate your spine for joint dysfunction and analyse your posture for imbalances, two conditions which may predispose you to walking related injuries.
Some Tips on How to Get Started
? Visit your local NZCA chiropractor for a spinal system check up
? Commit to a nine week walking programme
? Start slowly – set achievable targets to prevent injury and to motivate you
? Find a friend or work colleague to walk with
? Wear supportive footwear which is designed for walking
? Warm up with gentle stretching exercises at the start and end of your walk
? Drink plenty of water and have regular breaks and healthy snacks
? Mix it up – walking different routes, at different speeds with different inclines
? Log your goals/achievements on the ‘Personal Activity Calendar’
? Enjoy your walking!
Just Start Walking is an initiative from the World Federation of Chiropractic, a global non-profit association which was recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a non-governmental organisation in January 1997. For more information and to download Your Personal Activity Calendar go to Just Start Walking New Zealand – NZCA
Dr Thomas points out: ‘Chiropractors specialise in helping people achieve proper movement and spinal function but also recognise the importance of supplying your body with the right ingredients so it can express itself at its optimum. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is an essential part of many body processes and the evidence is that majority of people in our modern world are severely deficient. Just walking outside in nature a little more would go a long way to countering this issue and many other problems of our modern lifestyle and environment.’
1) Restaino RM, Holwerda SW, Credeur DP, Fadel PJ, Padilla J. Impact of prolonged sitting on lower and upper limb micro- and macrovascular dilator function. Experimental Physiology 2015;100(7):829-38.