He Said: Health Axiom #3: Walk Away From It

by Dr. B Healthy 18. May 2012 09:04

Leslie, I am disappointed that your pun ability has escaped you.  Your witty repartee is what keeps me going to respond to your missives.  Could it be that you have aches and pains in your brain from over use?  If that is so, I hope you have adequately rested your brain over the weekend and can bounce back with a little fun in your pun - get it, fun in your pun?

Now for aches and pains of walking or for that matter any form of exercise. First of all, pain is a warning sign of injury to muscles, joints and tendons.  I mention that because it is important to not equate pain with exercise benefit.  More pain is not better - it in fact can lead to longer term painful joints and increasing disability with age.  Many pro athletes experience significant problems with their hips, knees and ankles later in life and some require joint replacement in their 40's and 50's.  Exercising to the point of persistent pain is just not a good idea.  Now Leslie, don't take this to the extreme and avoid all pain by retiring to your couch and doing 12 ounce adult beverage lifts with your arms as you watch "As the Stomach Turns".  That is not what I mean either.

Two important pieces of advice - do a little warm up and stretching before you start your power walking and slowly build up your speed and distance over 6 - 8 weeks.  That will help you to not cause more harm than good.  I bet your friends Paige and Catherine did not start out walking a whole Flying Pig in the first place (what ever a Flying Pig is anyway).  By the way, you know you're getting too much pain when the aches and pains persist a day or two after the exercise and don't resolve with simple pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  If you get that much pain, rest your joints for a day and reduce your walking the next day and work your way up gradually.

Also worth mentioning is just doing more ordinary walking a day - from the car to your office or store if you are shopping.  A fairly painless exercise program can consist of buying a pedometer and setting a steps per day goal and slowly increasing it.  10,000 steps is a good starting point for the average person.  It is easier to work into your day to day schedule and usually does not cause the over doing it aches and pains.

So much for the walking stuff - it is starting to get a little boring. Throw me something a little more exciting for Axiom #4.

Dr. B. Healthy


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