Jennifer Beck, a physiotherapist who specializes in breast cancer rehab, has provided some excellent tips on getting ready for the BRIGHT Run. See part one this month; part two will follow in the next eNewsletter.

So, over to Jen:

  • Walking is one of the easiest, most accessible and affordable forms of exercise with great health benefits.
  • Spring can be a good time of the year to get started. The days are getting longer and people are out and about. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, which can be varied.
  • A walk is a great way to catch up with friends or loved ones, instead of sitting having coffee. Exercise time goes faster when the conversation is flowing. Sometimes solo walks can be a great way to find alone, thinking time.
  • If you have any health concerns or medical conditions, be sure to check with a physician before starting your walking training.
  • Walks can be broken into sections, for example, 5-10 minutes focussed walking, 2-minute stretch break, 5-10 minutes walking and gradually build duration.
  • The benefits of walking and exercise training can be accumulative. Shorter chunks of exercise can be added up to reach overall time goals ie: a short walk in the morning, or during your lunch break, and 2nd in the evening.
  • Build your endurance foundation (how long you can walk at a lighter pace) before intensity.
  • For overall health, prevention of disease and for some, recovery from cancer, we should all be aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. This can be achieved with 30 minutes of walking 5 days per week. Moderate intensity exercise is when your heart pumps at 50-70% of its maximal capacity – basically, you can talk but not sing.
  • If injuries or painful joints limit your walking tolerance, consider cross-training to help you reach your 5k walk goals. You could mix your walks with other activities such as biking, or swimming on some days.
  • There are many great gadgets these days to help with motivation, goal setting and monitoring progress and intensity. There are heart-rate monitors, Fit Bits, GPS watches and many apps that can be downloaded onto cell phones that will do things such as map routes and measure distances or steps walked.