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Nova Scotia is known for its magnificent scenery, especially during the warmer months of the year. It’s no wonder that residents of Nova Scotia are so inspired to get out walking on the trails. Walking is an accessible and inexpensive form of exercise with many recognized physical and mental health benefits.  For these reasons, I really enjoy working with my clients in physiotherapy to help them achieve their walking goals.

In another article, Keep moving with these walking tips from Zoomers Physiotherapy, I reviewed some tips I use in physiotherapy for beginning a walking program.  In this article, I’ll provide some insight into how you might progress your program and ways in which you can help yourself stay on track with your plan and get out on the trails in Nova Scotia.

Progressing your Program

One of the simplest ways to progress your program is to increase the distance you walk.  Following physiotherapy principles of progression, I suggest limiting your weekly increase to 10% or less.  By slowly increasing the distance you walk, you allow your muscles and joints to adapt to the (healthy) stresses of walking and will reduce your risk of injury.

Hills are another great way to increase the work required in a walk. Luckily, there’s no shortage of these in Nova Scotia!  Choosing routes that have rolling hills that will cause you to breathe a little heavier and push a little harder as you make your way to the top are a great intensity burst within your walk.

If you live in an area of Nova Scotia where you do not have access to hilly terrain, find that hills are uncomfortable on your joints or you just don’t like them(!), you can also increase the difficulty of your walk by covering more distance in the same amount of time.  To cover more ground, you may increase your overall speed or include some short (1-2 minute) bursts of faster walking throughout your walk.

Staying on Track

Consistency is key to getting the health rewards that can come from a walking program.  A few simple strategies to staying on track with your program include:  setting a routine, involving a friend and setting goals. Physiotherapy in Nova Scotia is also a great option if you need guidance in any of these areas.

Making an “appointment” with yourself to go for a walk can be helpful.  Consider it like any other commitment and try not to let it be rescheduled.  A great add-on to this idea is to involve a friend. If you have committed to meeting a friend for a walk, you may be less likely to let it be “bumped” from your schedule.  In fact, there is an initiative across Nova Scotia called NS Walks.  This program organizes free walking weekly groups across Nova Scotia; find more information at

Setting goals can also be very motivating.  Take a few minutes to write down what you want to achieve with your walking program and use this as a reminder on days when your motivation is running low.  If you need help setting specific goals, physiotherapy can be great in helping you identify what makes the most sense for you.

We will all be occasionally side-lined by unpredictable weather (especially in Nova Scotia), health and social events.  However, to get the most out of your walking program, it is important to set yourself up for success, recognize when you’ve gotten away from your plan, take steps to get back into your routine as soon as possible and, possibly most importantly, enjoy it! Walking can be a great way to explore new areas of Nova Scotia or to find your new favourite trail. If you’re still having a hard time knowing where to start or staying motivated to continue your program, book an assessment with a member of the Zoomers physiotherapy team to help you achieve your goals!

Book an assessment with Zoomers

Use our online booking tool to find a time that works for you!