n the “shoulder” season when there’s not enough snow to ski and the golf courses have covered the greens, a great way to get out there and exercise is to walk. Kelowna has some amazing walking routes. We have endless miles of pathways to choose from, the Mission Greenway has some amazingly scenic vistas and even through our community of south Pandosy where you can watch the progress in all that housing construction. Walking will be even more healthy and enjoyable if you follow these tips from your community physiotherapists.

Firstly get fit with the right gear.

Walking shoes, find a shoe that fits your needs and walking program. Replace your old shoes as they should only last 400-600 miles (600-800km). Clothes, layer your clothing so you can adjust to the weather in Kelowna. Start with a moisture wicking layer (avoid cotton), next add a middle layer that’s a little thicker and fits comfortably over the base layer and complete your outfit with a windbreaker shell. Also wear moisture wicking gloves and socks.

Walk with good form.

Posture, ensure your head, shoulders and hips are lined up over your feet.

Walking, keep your stride comfortable, too long a stride makes for an “over stride”. This means you won’t be walking efficiently and will tire your working muscles and cause you to tighten up before the end of your walk. Don’t use ankle or wrist weights as they will add too much stress to your joints.

Stay Motivated.

Keep it interesting. Change your routes from flat to hills, on the sidewalk to the grass of River Park. Walk with a friend or your family, for companionship and safety. Record how far and where you walked on your calendar. Progress; gradually increase the difficulty of your walk by adding in mini intervals. For example walk 30 seconds fast then walk 2 minutes at regular pace and repeat.

The most critical part to making walking an ingredient of your daily routine is doing it for at least three weeks. Most people will notice some benefits of walking right away but “stick with it” as this is only the beginning. And finally remember to listen to your body and watch for recurring persistent pain. If concerned seek professional help so that your walk is always enjoyable.