Health benefits of walking


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – After a long winter and cold start to spring now ended, more of us are getting outdoors and thinking about getting in shape. While any form of exercise is good for us, you might be surprised how just a little effort can lead to meaningful results.

While you could join a gym or hire a trainer, you don’t have to do that. Eyewitness News Heatlhbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains walking can give many of us the benefits we are seeking as long as we’re walking the right way.

After giving birth to her son Luke two months earlier, Ashley Majernick just couldn’t resist a little exercise on Tuesday. “I used to go to the gym and then I got pregnant and I want to get back into fitness and it’s gorgeous out.” The best way she and her newborn son can do that is to take a stroll. “I just feel great. It’s a great way to start your day is just to go for a walk.”

70-year-old retiree Dominic Keating of Waverly routinely walks several miles a day as an investment in his health. “It’s easier on the joints. It doesn’t involve, you know, high levels of stress at all and you can set your own pace.”

“Walking is a great form of exercise in and of itself,” said Geisinger Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician Justin Tunis, MD. He credits the low impact activity with providing plenty of health benefits. “It’s a great way to maintain a healthy weight and help to prevent some chronic diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure and even help to prevent diabetes and other things in that regard.” 

You do need to keep some things in mind. First, make sure you’re wearing the proper footwear that can take a pounding on walking trails and still provide your feet the proper support. Allison Casey of Dunmore considers herself an avid walker and said, “You have to have good sneakers. If you don’t have good sneakers, your feet will hurt and mine are starting to hurt now so it’s time to buy new sneakers.”

Also remember your walking posture matters to help prevent back or hip pain. “You want to make sure that your head is up and you’re not looking down at the ground. You want to make sure you’re looking out and ahead and not slouched over,” said Dr. Tunis.

And Dr. Tunis added that if you’re just starting to get active, make sure you take it slow “A lot of those overuse injuries happen when someone builds up too rapidly. So a nice gradual increase is very important,”

Geisinger is teaming up with Steamtown National Historic Site for an event called National ParkRX Day. The event promotes wellness by visiting national parks and will feature Geisinger demonstrations. It’s happening Sunday, April 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Scranton.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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