Get fit one step at a time with walking groups, events

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

BURNET — One of the simplest, yet effective, exercises that benefits your entire well-being just involves taking one step at a time.

“Walking is one of the many ways one can achieve health. Walking and exercise in general improves quality of life and balance,” said Dr. Erica Hughes, who specializes in pulmonary disease at the Seton Highland Lakes Specialty Clinic in Burnet. “Exercise reduces blood pressure and blood sugars. It also reduces depression and improves mood.”

Hughes is hosting Walk with a Doc on Aug. 16 at the Seton Highland Lakes’ clinic building 1-B, 200 CR 340-A. The walk starts at 8 a.m., and everybody is welcome to take part.

“The goal of Walk with A Doc is to promote a healthy lifestyle for the residents of Burnet County and to have some fun on one Saturday each month,” Hughes said.

While there are more strenuous forms of exercise, walking can serve as an entry point for those who are starting out.

The Llano Walking Club meets 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church, 800 Wright St. in Llano.

Registered nurse Vicki Krcha organized the event as a way to encourage people — especially older adults — to get out and get walking.

“Walking has some tremendous benefits,” Krcha said. “Walking is a way we can get aerobic exercise. It’s great for your heart. But walking offers so much more. Walking benefits your entire well-being.”

The Llano Walking Club walks inside the church, so the heat isn’t an issue. The group starts off with some warm-up exercises and balance drills. Then it’s off for the walk.

“We have some people who walk for five minutes, one mile and even two miles,” Krcha said. “It’s not a competition. It’s about getting active.”

Hughes pointed out it doesn’t take hours of exercise each day to make a difference in your health.

“It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of walking or exercise daily for optimum benefit, but any walking is good,” Hughes said. “Start by parking farther in the parking lot when shopping or taking the long way while walking to work.”

People can get in short 30-minute sessions at different parts of the day. One of the first things you should do is to schedule your walk. Then, when it’s time to go, put on your shoes and take that first step … then the next. And a person doesn’t have to set out for a cross-country stroll. Even a walk around the block is beneficial.

Group settings such as Walk with A Doc or the Llano Walking Club offer a nice social component. Unlike more intense forms of exercise, walking typically allows for conversation.

“We have a great social group,” Krcha said. “They check up on each other.”

Even if you’re out for a social walk, the benefits go beyond that.

“Regular exercise has so many benefits to your health,” Hughes said. Exercise reduces your risk of heart attack, osteoporosis, diabetes and stroke.”

It’s never too early or too late to start.

daniel@thepicayune.com

IF YOU WALK

Walk with a Doc

WHEN: 8 a.m. Aug. 16

WHERE: Starts at Seton Highland Lakes’ clinic building 1-B, 200 CR 340-A in Burnet

Llano Walking Club

WHEN: 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

WHERE: Starts at Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church, 800 Wright St. in Llano

FOR MORE: Call (325) 247-4009

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