It’s the oldest form of transportation. You use it on any kind of terrain, in almost any weather. It works and benefits a variety of the different systems in your body. Walking is one of the most natural forms of movements and exercise. We learn it as babies and spend our whole lives using this important skill. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that walking and the feet affect each other.
Most people take walking for granted, since we do it to some degree every day. For as long as humans have had legs, we have been walking. People used to travel great distances on foot. In the ancient world, they really didn’t have a choice. Now, people walk far less. For anyone looking for a simple, foot-safe way to boost his or her health, this is one of the best activities. The benefits of this exercise are excellent for your whole body, but especially for your lower limbs. It improves circulation, conditions foot structures, and helps you manage body weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
However, you have to pay attention to your lower limbs when you engage in this exercise. Failing to properly protect and take care of your feet can counteract the benefits from the activity and put you at risk for discomfort. Calluses, blisters, plantar fasciitis, and general wear and tear are the most common complications from not caring for your feet.
Stepping with Success
Before you begin walking intentionally, you need to check your shoes. The right shoes can make a significant difference in protecting and supporting your feet, so you’re more likely to avoid negative side effects. The best pair may not necessarily be the same as your running sneakers. Models that are designed specifically for walking tend to be somewhat stiffer to allow the toes to roll off the ground with less stress. Invest in a pair with cushioned soles and arch stabilization that matches your midfoot type. You may be able to tell what kind of support you’ll need by examining the wear patterns on your current shoes. Make sure the shoe is wide enough and you have plenty of room in the toe box for your digits to wiggle freely.
You should also invest in appropriate socks. Fitted hosiery with moisture-wicking properties are best. If your feet tend to sweat a lot when you’re active, you may need to change them after exercising. That way, your feet are able to dry out completely. The wrong socks may cause you to develop blisters.
When you begin a walking routine, don’t try to start with several miles every day. You need to work your feet up to the point that they can handle longer distances. Walk slowly and start with an easy route. Keep good posture as you move—head up, shoulders relaxed, arms swinging freely, feet rolling smoothly from heel to toe. As your feet and body adjust, you can increase to a more vigorous routine. Make sure you stretch regularly, warming up before your walk and cooling down afterwards.
Walking is a great addition to anyone’s regular activities. It helps you stay fit and works your feet without putting them under too much pressure. If you’re experiencing discomfort or have trouble finding the best shoes for your feet, don’t give up on being active. Contact Sierra Foot & Ankle for more information or to make an appointment. Call 888-608-8406 or use our contact form online to reach our Carson City or Gardnerville, NV, office.