Whether they are 9 or 99, encouraging better patient health with regular walks has countless benefits, including improved circulation, stronger bones and muscles, better sleep and an overall better mood. While walking has a lot of advantages, it can also get boring. To help patients stay on the path to wellness, we’ve got 5 simple tips plus health promotional items to encourage them to keep walking.
Find time to socialize
While some might think of a walk as a solo endeavor, it can be a great time to focus on friends and family. A twenty- to thirty-minute stroll with no distractions is the perfect time to connect, either in person or by phone. Help them keep track of their steps with a fitness tracker so they can focus on the conversations.
Mix in meditation
Instead of just putting one foot in front of the other, encourage patients to use their walks to improve their minds—and moods. Have them focus on their surroundings to reduce stress. Doing some deep breathing, or listening to guided meditation, can also help reduce stress and improve blood flow. Offer them a set of ear buds to help them on their mindfulness journey.
Add additional exercise
Add interval training to their walking plan. Speeding up for 15-, 30- or 60-second bursts and then taking double that amount of time to slow down and recover can increase their fitness. A resistance band or hand grip can help them work different muscle groups while on the move.
Change the scenery
Looking at the same outdoor spaces can be a lot like looking at the same four walls—it can get repetitive. Hiking in the woods, trying out different walking trails in the area, or just picking a new route for every walk can make a big difference. Imprint a large magnet with locations of local walking trails and encourage patients to visit them. Reward those who go to every location with a travel-size first aid kit.
One reason so many people stop exercising is that it can be tough to see the results. Encourage them to use a pedometer and a notebook to track daily progress. Celebrate milestones, like when they move from 1,000 steps a day to 2,000 or from walking twice a week to four times a week. Have them share their weekly progress and hold a drawing for a fun prize like an infuser water bottle.
A step toward better patient health
A simple walking plan is step toward better patient health. Whether they take a daily stroll around the block or walk multiple miles a day, these tips and health promotional items will have them moving in the right direction.