Walking is a wonderful and easy way to get and stay healthy. You can do it almost anywhere, anytime, all year round.
We can incorporate walking into our daily lives by walking to the shops, walking to work or getting off the bus a few stops early.
It's not a big and expensive project to take on like for example, joining a gym.
Sometimes health experts call walking a 'lifestyle exercise' because you can usually make time for it without too much of a change to your daily routine.
Because it's so easy to fit into life - people who walk tend to keep it up.
Let's look at the health benefits of being on the move
- 6- 12 miles per week reduces the risk of premature death by 20 - 30 %
- helps to protect against cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and stroke).
- reduces health risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol
- reduces the risk of cancer (especially bowel; also breast cancer in post menopausal women)
- reduces your chance of becoming a type 2 diabetic
- is a good way to fight weight gain and obesity
- can benefit musculoskeletal health (e.g. osteoarthritis, low back pain)
- can improve mental health, happiness and wellbeing
Before you start
A pair of shoes or trainers is all the gear you need; any that are comfortable and supportive and don't cause blisters will be perfect.
Here are some tips for buying a pair of good walking shoes/ trainers
- Shop at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen, this ensures a good fit.
- Have your feet measured standing up and fit your shoes to the larger foot if one is slightly bigger.
- Be sure there is enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes.
- There should be about 1/2 an inch between your toes and the end of the shoe.
- Look for lightweight, breathable materials for greater comfort.
- Make sure there are no seams inside the shoe to irritate your foot.
- Choose lacing shoes for better foot stability and control.
- Make sure your heel fits snugly, not slipping out of the shoe.
- Consider buying two pairs of walking shoes and rotating them to give each pair time to air between walks.
Other things that really help
Wear loose fitting clothing that allows you to move freely.
If you're walking to work you can just wear your usual work clothes with a comfy pair of walking shoes, changing, if necessary to more formal work shoes when you arrive.
For long walks you may wish to take some water, health snacks, sunscreen and a sun hat
And how can we help?
Of course, as you embark on your new adventures in walking you may want to address some of those niggly foot problems such as:
- thick, ingrown nails
- callus/ hard skin
- heel cracks
These are uncomfortable nuisances which can diminish your enjoyment of walking.
So, make an appointment at our clinic and we can help make sure you enjoy all the wonderful benefits walking offers.
Have a look at this College of Podiatry 'Keep on Walking' video for further information ...