Walking is an easy, safe activity for enjoyment, to keep physically fit, or to just to get around. It’s also an inexpensive way to exercise. You can walk outdoors in good weather; and you can walk indoors at malls or other public buildings during bad weather. You can vary your intensity depending upon your abilities and goals. Walking is beneficial to your health, providing you with many advantages.
If you’re thinking of beginning a walking routine for better health, you should consider the following tips to get you started and to reduce your risk of injury or foot pain.
Get a Checkup
Before you begin any exercise routine, you should consult with your doctor first, especially if you’re over 60 and have a disease or disability. Walking can be a good exercise to help control the progression of some diseases, like diabetes or cardiovascular disorders, but discuss this with your doctor. Also, if you have any foot conditions, like bunions, corns, arch or heel pain, that may cause you discomfort when walking, talk with your doctor to determine the course of action you should take to avoid unnecessary discomfort. A trip to the pedorthist may be advised to make sure you understand your individual feet and how to best fit and support your walking shoes.
Wear Walking Shoes and Socks
If your feet are sore, you’re certainly not going to walk very far. So invest in a good quality pair of walking shoes that provide proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick, flexible soles. Your shoes should fit well, cushion your feet, and absorb shock. They shouldn’t pinch, rub, or have any areas of pressure; otherwise you can develop blisters or calluses. When buying shoes, try on both shoes and walk around the store. Also, visit the store and try on shoes in the afternoon or evening when your feet are more likely to be slightly swollen.
You should wear socks with your shoes that are designed for the season – thicker in cooler weather and thinner in warmer weather. Socks made with moisture-wicking materials will pull moisture from your skin, so you avoid any dampness that breeds fungal infections like athlete’s foot. The WalkEzStore recommends the Thorlo brand of moisture-absorbing socks. These socks are top of line and will last for many years.
If you have any foot conditions, such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, or Morton’s neuroma, you should consider wearing a custom orthotic like the ezWalker® Performance Insole. The ezWalker® shoe insert is custom designed for each of your feet, ensuring that you get the maximum support for your longitudinal, transverse, and metatarsal arches. Your feet will be guided in a proper biomechanical position – aligning your body from the feet up to give you better balance, stability, and posture with every step you take during the gait cycle. Foot pain is not normal when walking; therefore, with the ezWalker® Performance insole, your feet will feel better at the end of your walk.
- Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes. Dress in layers, so you can adjust to the changing temperature. Also, if you’re walking outside, choose outer wear appropriate for the weather.
- Begin each walk by walking slowly for at least 5 minutes to warm up your muscles.
- Stretch your muscles after warming up – especially your calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and side muscles.
- If you’re out of shape, begin walking at a slower, easy pace. As you become a seasoned walker, you’ll be able to quicken your pace. Walking at 3 mph is considered strolling. Walking at 4 mph is an average speed. Walking 5 mph or faster is race speed.
- Set realistic goals. If you’re not used to walking, you should start out slowly, walking for 10 to 15 minutes and gradually increasing your time. For improved health and fitness, you should walk 30 to 60 minutes 5 or more days a week. You can walk in shorter 10- to 15-minute intervals during the day as long as your accumulated activity time is 30 or more minutes.
- Maintain a good walking posture with your head up, back straight, swinging your arms, and pointing your toes straight ahead. Take long, smooth strides letting your heel hit the ground first. Your foot should then roll from the heel to the ball of your foot. For more momentum, you should push off with the ball of your foot.
- Pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. You should be able to carry on a conversation while walking; if you can’t, you may need to slow down.
- Track your progress by recording how many miles you’ve walked, or consider wearing a pedometer.
- Carry and drink water during your walk, especially in hot weather or if you’re walking long distances.
- In the summer, wear a hat with a brim and apply sunscreen to exposed areas. During the winter, wear a knit cap.
- To keep from getting bored, vary your route and enjoy your surroundings. To increase your fitness level, add a route with some changes in terrain or hills.
- For support and motivation, walk with friends or family members.
- Cool down after each session by walking slowly for about 5 minutes and then stretching again.
By following these tips you’ll build strength and endurance while gaining health benefits. A walking program takes initiative and commitment, but it’s worth the effort. And by wearing ezWalker® Performance Insoles, you’ll never lose a step to foot pain.
For more information on ezWalker® Performance Insoles, visit our website. Order your ezWalkers today for maximum comfort while you walk. Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.