Milton Hospital Clinicians Discuss the Benefits of Walking
Did you know that walking can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many other life threatening illnesses? Walking has also been proven to improve mood, relieve stress, burn body fat, increase metabolism and improve self-esteem.
In anticipation of its upcoming Community Health Walk on Saturday, June 18, 2011, Milton Hospital reached out to resident experts in the areas of physical therapy, cardiology, gerontology and pulmonology to discuss how walking improves quality of life in all of these areas.
"Walking is a great way to maintain bone and joint health. Even moderate walking will strengthen the muscles and bones in the legs, hips and torso. Arthritis patients, in particular, benefit by shifting pressure from joints to newly developed strong muscles. A regular walking program can decrease joint stiffness and lessen joint pain and swelling. Since walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it helps maintain bone density, which is especially important for patients with osteoporosis. A regular walking program will also help to maintain or lower body weight, which will further reduce stress on feet, knees and hips."
"Remember to choose supportive, comfortable walking shoes or sneakers. Select a safe location to walk, and in the summer, try to avoid the mid-day heat. If possible, find a walking partner with a similar ability level, so you can encourage each other."
Rebecca Stetz, PT, MS, and Terese Robinson, PT, MHP, CLT
Staff Physical Therapists, Milton Hospital Rehabilitation Services
"A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as outlined by the American Heart Association (AHA). As many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity. It has been shown that individuals who participate in modest activity, such as brisk walking, tend to develop less coronary heart disease than their sedentary counterparts. Other benefits include reducing "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and increasing "good" cholesterol (HDL), potential reductions in blood pressure and weight, and increasing quality of life. These benefits will generally occur by engaging in 30 minutes of brisk walking five to seven days per week."
W. Kin Fung, MD, FACC, Cardiologist, South Shore Internal Medicine, Milton Hospital Medical Staff
"Walking is great exercise for seniors. In addition to its cardiovascular effects, walking (along with other types of exercise) helps to increase bone strength - a big issue for many seniors. Exercise is the ONLY thing that will actually BUILD bone strength. Medication only slows down the rate at which our bones become more fragile.
Furthermore, it has been shown in many studies that walking can improve depression and mood, and may reduce or eliminate the need for medications. This has health and financial benefits for seniors, who make up 18 percent of the population, but consume 40 percent of all prescription medications used yearly in the U.S."
Virginia Cummings, MD, Geriatrics Program Director
"Walking is one of the simplest and safest aerobic exercises you can do. By participating in a regular walking routine, you can condition and strengthen your lungs. Shorter and faster walks will increase your lung capacity, promoting longevity and quality of life. Once you can easily maintain your walking pace, try to increase your pace little by little over time. By doing this, you will increase blood flow and develop excellent lung capacity."
Kathy Rosenquist, RRT, Clinical Manager, Milton Hospital Respiratory Therapy