September is Self-Care Month and North Hill Fitness Manager Linda Riley has some tips for good self-care!
Linda Says: Our bodies are designed for motion, and there’s no more natural way for us to move than to simply take a walk. Just 12 minutes of brisk walking can elevate mood and spark creativity. A longer walk has even greater benefits for self-care. First, your heart and lungs will thank you. Walking strengthens cardio and pulmonary function, and pumps life-sustaining oxygen through our system. The result is improved circulation, stronger bones and muscles, greater stamina and improved balance. Increased oxygen to joints through walking alleviates pain and increases metabolism. Heart disease, diabetes, arthritis. obesity and a host of other disorders can be alleviated or staved off completely by the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.
Walking in nature offers extra special health benefits, so much so, that many doctors now prescribe walking in nature to offset depression, diabetes, obesity and other health risks. Natural wooded settings give us the chance to breathe in healthy chemicals that lower blood pressure and heart rate and reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Nature’s grandeur also gives us multi-sensory rewards, resulting in an automatic mindfulness that mimics meditation and offers the same benefits.
So, be like the North Hill residents pictured here and walk to your health for self-care month!
Here are some easy steps to a self-care walking program:
- Wear shoes with good arch support, a firm heel and a flexible sole
- Dress comfortably
- Find a path that pleases you, with few obstructions so you can avoid tripping or falling
- Set your first goal, it could be 10 minutes at lunchtime for a start, increase gradually
- Hold your head up, relax your neck and shoulders, straighten your back, tighten your tummy
- You’re ready to go!
- Start slowly: warm up for 5 or 10 minutes before increasing speed
- Bring water along with you to stay hydrated
- Stretch gently at the end of your walk
- FInish your walk, go home, pat yourself on the back and put your feet up! You’re a self-care pro!