Student Wellness Services

Walking to Wellness

Join the movement at Southeastern in “Taking the First Step” towards wellness! This site was designed to motivate and educate people who want to improve their health one step at a time. Take the first step today!

Start Stepping Safely

To ensure that you are getting the most out of your workout without compromising your health, it is essential that the suggested precautions be yielded to.

Before you start your walking routine, you should make an appointment with your family physician to have a physical performed. A physical is a series of tests performed by a doctor in order to examine your physical well-being. These tests can provide crucial health information that may limit your activities.

Once you have been given the green light by your physician you can begin planning a routine that is comfortable and fits your physical ability. Everyone should start with a light routine to ease the body into your new activity.  Try walking 5 minutes for your first week. Expect soreness in your leg muscles for about 2 weeks. If this time is too much, decrease time to 3 minutes. From the second week until you feel comfortable with your walking, walk for 8 minutes. When you decide to step up your routine at any point, increase walking time by 3 minutes or simply walk faster.

As with everything we do in life, safety should be your first concern when walking. It is always a good idea to walk with a partner or in groups. With that, it’s also a good idea to walk during sunlight instead of at night. However, if you live in a region where the heat is unbearable until dusk, it is advised that you wear a reflective vest or brightly colored clothing when walking in the dark. Here are a few additional safety tips when walking: 1) Do not wear jewelry 2) do not wear headphones 3) beware of your surroundings 4) notify local police of your groups walking time and route.

Tips for Walking:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes that have a lot of support and are flexible
  • Wear proper attire: athletic shorts/pants, loose shirt, comfortable undergarments (sports bras, tights to prevent chaffing), cold weather gear if needed
  • Walk with a friend or pet in places you are comfortable and safe.
  • Walk in 3 parts: Warm-up (slow for 5 minutes), Workout (faster speed for X time), Cool Down (slow for 5 minutes)
  • Set goals and rewards for yourself (walk one extra block a week, buy new walking attire, etc.)
  • Have fun!!

*Stretching is necessary to do after your warm-up and and after your walking workout. Stretch your legs out well by touching your toes, pulling your foot to your rear, etc. Don’t neglect stretching your upper body as well. Use this website to aid you in your stretches http://www.thewalkingsite.com/stretching.html.

Benefits of Walking

Feeling stressed or anxious? Want to manage your weight? Take charge by “Taking the First Step” towards wellness. Walking is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to exercise. If you want to improve your health at a low expense, start walking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that individuals take 10,000+ steps a day. Check out this website to read more about what the government suggest people to to stay physically fit http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/index.html. Experts suggest that individuals partake in 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity 4 to 5 times a week.  Conveniently enough, brisk walking qualifies as moderate-level physical activity. Below are quality benefits received from walking:

  • It lowers blood pressure and the risk of heart disease
  • It helps you sleep better and gain more energy
  • It may protect against certain types of cancer
  • It helps control anxiety and depression
  • It helps with bone, joint, and muscle strengthening
  • It increases calories burned which helps control your weight

Ways to Walk

As you advance in your walking program, it is important to vary your workout routine so that your body doesn’t become complacent with your movements. Once your body adjust to your workout, you will see a plateau in your progress. Muscle confusion is key to top results when working out. Instead of staying with the same walking routine and pace, try something new every few weeks. Listed are 5 different ways to walk:

  1. Strolling walk– walking in a relaxed way, but with a good posture, shoulders down, arms swinging naturally as you walk.
  2. Brisk walk– fitness, pace or aerobic walking: all mean pretty much the same thing, stepping up your pace and pumping your arms as you walk.
  3. Power walk– for a very fit, experienced walker, usually working with a personal trainer. Walking with weights, carrying them in your hands and/or strapping them on your waist and ankles.
  4. Water walk– walking (wading) through water, either in a pool or in the sea. Walking hip-to waist-high in water is a very good low-stress, high-intensity exercise. For higher intensity, run in the water, but you will need a vest or floatation belt to keep you in an upright position.
  5. Treadmill walk– most gyms have treadmills, but many people are getting home versions that chart distance and speed and they also time the walk.

Walking is a great way to stay fit and healthy. New research suggest walking is the best exercise for the brain, as it doesn’t call on blood sugar for energy like aerobic exercise. Remember, standing is better than sitting and walking is better and standing. Make your move and “Take the First Step” towards wellness!