Tell Your Patients: Just Start Walking
New activity module of the Straighten Up spinal health initiative available for use.
By Ron Kirk, DC
Do you often feel foggy, achy, groggy and "blah" after hours of stationary work or inactivity? If you feel it, no doubt many of your patients feel it, too. There's a simple way to beat the fog, the aches, the grogs and the blahs: just start walking. Just Start Walking is the latest activity module of the Straighten Up spinal health initiative. An expert seed panel and global multidisciplinary Delphi panel created both health promotion programs.
Special thanks go to John Hyland, DC, MPH, who developed the original concept of Just Start Walking. Leaders from across the profession including Association of Chiropractic Colleges presidents, academic and clinical deans, researchers, organizations including the World Federation of Chiropractic, Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, American Chiropractic Association, International Chiropractors Association, American Public Health Association, World Health Organization, the Bone and Joint Decade, and many other partners also helped craft this critically needed activity program.
With increasing numbers of adults and children overweight or obese, walking and increased activity are needed as never before. Benefits of regular brisk walking include improved spinal, bone and joint health and increased mental clarity. Just Start Walking focuses on excellent upright posture and increased arm swing for enhanced neurological integration.
Many global health leaders are excited about Just Start Walking. Scott Haldeman, DC, PhD, MD, an ambassador for the Bone and Joint Decade, calls Just Start Walking "a great program."
Grace Lo Yuen Fong, RN, MPH, manager of the Community Health and Social Services Unit of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, states, "Somehow, when I was reading it, it seemed to say to me, 'Come on, walking is easy. You should do it more regularly to take care of your own health.' The point is one can start today, now, without too much planning or preparation."
And according to Jose Martines, MD, PhD, coordinator of the Children's Health and Development Cluster of the WHO, "Just Start Walking is a valuable initiative and I like the stepwise approach taken. I also like the [concept] of integrating the exercise into other daily activities and the promotion of practices that have benefits for mental health."
Just Start Walking may be translated and adapted as necessary to fit local/state/national cultural contexts. The program is cost-free and without copyright. For more information on the program, go to www.life.edu and click on the Community link; www.wfc.org (click on the Projects link); or www.cocsa.org.
Dr. Ron Kirk is a professor at Life University and the seed and Delphi panel facilitator for Just Start Walking. He serves in a similar capacity for the Straighten Up spinal health initiative. Contact Dr. Kirk with questions regarding the Just Start Walking program at