Walking is Wonderful Exercise

Before I went for my yearly physical, I knew I had gained a little weight due to inactivity after my back surgery (and truth be told, partly because I was testing new baking recipes).  Most of my clothes were tight and my bloated midsection looked slightly pregnant.  I even had to go buy some “fat pants” that were all elastic waist to wear until my belly went down (still swollen from surgery I told myself).  I was hoping the big belly would go away after I stopped all the pain medications, but it did not.  I would not accept it as “real” weight gain since I was eating less than I did before the surgery.

However at my physical, the doctor informed me I had gained over 15 pounds since the previous year.  I also remembered he recommended I lose 5-10 pounds the prior year to be in the suggested weight for my frame.  He said my weight gain was understandable after all the stress (my surgery plus health and death of family members) I had experienced especially in the last year.  He suggested I watch what I eat and begin to exercise more.  More! I was already walking over half an hour as back recovery and doing flexibility exercises each day as recommended by my back surgeon.  Which I told my primary physician, who agreed walking is good exercise.  He suggested I ramp my walking up to 1 hour!  He said once I was comfortable with an hour, to walk a little faster or further each week. 

So to bump of my walking exercise, I added 10 minutes to my walk time every two days until I got up to 1 hour.  I have bad feet, so this little bit more walking took some time and determination to get used to. Plus the extra weight made my knees hurt if I went too fast too long.  I was up to an hour per day before I started working on a diet plan.  I was also doing the flexibility exercises the back surgeon gave me for my back that took around 10 minutes each day.

When I walk, my fingers often get stiff and swollen.  To prevent this, I do finger flexing as I walk a lap alternating that with making a fist or hands resting on another lap. It may look weird to those seeing me walking, but it does keep my fingers from swelling or hurting later in the day.  I learned to do this from my mom’s physical therapist who told me how important it was to keep the fingers working to prevent the stiffness and cramping Mom had due to RA in her hands.

Walking has gotten easier for me and I do feel better.  I did not lose any weight that I could tell in the first month just walking though. So to help with weight by watching what I eat, I found a 21-day diet to try - results in another post.

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