Walk This Way: Tips for Healthy Fitness Walking
Most of us have at least one New Year’s resolution related to increasing our fitness and health routines.
Here are 10 reasons why good old-fashioned walking can help you reach your goals:
- Walking is easy, free and sustainable, with no learning curve.
- There is little risk of injury, and it has less impact on the hips, knees and lower back than running.
- A brisk 20-minute daily walk can help you live longer, and potentially lower the chance of early death by 16 to 30 percent, according to a 2015 study from the University of Cambridge.
- Walking is a natural stress-buster and mood lifter—plus it’s fun and easy to do alone or with others.
- Research shows that walking can improve blood pressure and cholesterol, aid weight loss and reduce the risk of other illness including heart disease and dementia.
- You’re more likely to stick to walking than any other exercise, according to the American Heart Association.
- Walking works for all ages and fitness levels including those who are older, new to exercise, overweight or sedentary.
- It also helps to lower blood sugar levels and build cardiovascular strength.
- Walking provides time to unwind, take a mental break and reflect on life.
- Once you’re in the habit of walking, it’s easy to find new ways to incorporate more of it into your daily life—by taking the stairs, parking farther from your destination, and using walks to hold meetings and / or socialize with friends.
- Always warm up first by walking in place, or walking at a slower-than-normal rate for the first 3 – 5 minutes.
- Use 5 to 10 minutes to stretch after your warm up.
- Straight up—maintain good posture, looking forward with your head up and chin level rather than looking down at the ground.
- Drink fluids throughout the day, especially before your walk, to stay hydrated.
- Wear shoes made specifically for walking or exercise to provide foot support and prevent injuries.
Speaking of Shoes…
Wearing the wrong shoes can undo some of the health benefits of walking and cause temporary or permanent health issues or injuries in the feet, ankles, legs, hips and lower back. Shoes should be replaced every 350 to 400 miles, or about twice a year.
Get shoes that fit well, from heel to toe. They should feel snug but not tight, secure around your instep, and comfortable in the upper part of the shoe.
Room at the toe: make sure you have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Make sure you can wiggle your toes up and down, and from side to side in the front of the shoe.
Look for a flexible shoe that bends and creases with your feet, especially in the toe area. Inflexible shoes can cause arch pain.
Test the shoes in the store: put them on (with your orthotics if you wear them) and walk around the store or down a nearby hallway. You should feel natural support under your arch—and if the arch cramps, get another shoe. You want your feet to feel comfortable during all of your walks. Take your time and try on different shoes to find the one that fits well, feels stable and is most comfortable on your feet.
Foot Solutions can help you find the right walking shoes in styles that are stylish, comfortable and supportive. Come in for your free holistic foot analysis today, and we’ll help you walk into a healthier, happier tomorrow!