Taking steps to better health
It is amazing how an activity as simple as taking a walk can impact one’s life. A brisk walk requires no special equipment or training yet can make an enormous difference to your health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that a regular walking routine can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, breast and colon cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Walking can also delay the onset of dementia.
Here are the ways that walking improves health and therefore reduces the risk of developing more serious health issues.
When you walk, you use calories. A brisk 30-minute walk will burn about 150 calories. The longer you walk, the more calories are burned. The more challenging the terrain, the more calories are burned. Burning calories to control your weight will help reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Strengthens the heart
Walking 30 minutes a day lowers the risk of developing heart disease because it strengthens the heart. The stronger your heart is, the more efficient it is in delivering oxygen and nutrients to your organs.
Eases joint pain
When you walk, your body lubricates your joints and strengthens the muscles that support them. When the muscles are strong, they support the joints correctly. This proper alignment reduces some of the wear and tear that can lead to arthritis. If you have arthritis already, walking can help reduce the pain.
Powers up the immune system
When you walk, your heart pumps blood and white blood cells faster around the body. These white blood cells are an important part of the body’s immune system because they fight infection and disease. Therefore, walking increases the effectiveness of the immune system and fights disease.
The next time you are feeling tired or worn out, try taking a 10-minute walk instead of grabbing a cup of coffee. Walking gets your heart pumping blood around the body and supplies the muscles and brain with oxygen and nutrients, making them feel energized. Walking also can increase the amount of a protein in the brain that is responsible for thinking, learning and memorizing. The levels of several hormones that regulate energy levels are also increased during walking.
Walking is a great stress and anxiety reliever. Walking can decrease the production of certain stress hormones and help the body relax.
Walking in the winter
Taking a walk on a sunny spring day is appealing. But going on a walk on a cold, snowy winter day is not ideal. Whitehall of Deerfield, one of the North Shore’s premier centers for short-term and skilled nursing care, established a safe way to take a brisk walk regardless of the weather. Established about four years ago, the Whitehall of Deerfield Mile-Walk at Northbrook Court is a 1-mile course that winds through both floors of the Northbrook Court shopping center. Mile markers are in place to help guide walkers as they take a brisk walk in the sheltered indoor setting. Social distancing measures are in place to assure everyone’s safety. The course is open to all.
A few safety tips to remember when going on a walk include choosing to walk in well-lit areas with clear walking paths. Wear sturdy shoes with good heel and arch support and loose, comfortable clothing. Be sure to drink water before and after walking to remain hydrated. If you are outdoors, apply sunscreen to prevent sun damage to your skin.
A commitment to community health
The Whitehall of Deerfield Mile-Walk at Northbrook Court is one of the many ways that Whitehall of Deerfield is helping support community health. The short-term and skilled care facility has been offering top-notch care to guests seeking to recover from medical issues and surgery since 1973. Their dedication to offering the best care recovery journey possible in a beautiful, resort-like setting has shown that it’s possible to combine superb care and safety with comfort and luxury.
Whitehall of Deerfield has consistently received Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and post-hospital rehabilitation centers. Whitehall of Deerfield is also ranked among the top 1% of all Illinois post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers by Newsweek — and has consistently received both U.S. News & World Report’s and Medicare’s highest five-star rating. Learn more about the individualized, one-on-one therapy programs, world-class amenities and COVID-19 safety measures by visiting WhitehallofDeerfield.com or calling 847-945-4600.
— Judy Buchenot for Whitehall of Deerfield