The experts at Summit have brought together easy tips to prevent walking injuries in this QUICKGuide.
Avoid too much, too soon. Walking, as with other exercise, should be staged in terms of intensity, distance, and frequency. A good test for determining if you are working too hard early on is the talk test. You should be able to hold a conversation while walking without getting out of breath.
One size does not fit all for walking gait
Each person’s walking mechanics are a little different and for the most part, that is okay. What’s most important for everyone is to maintain a straight spine, hold your head high, and relax your ankles, knees, hips and arms. For your feet, a rolling motion from heel to toe as weight shifts is best. Walking flat footed equates to injury later on.
Cushion or stability?
Your feet carry all the load of walking, and they deserve a good shoe. For most people, a balance between cushion and stability, and just plain comfort are good factors for deciding on a well-constructed shoe. If you have had joint problems in the past, go with more cushion in the shoe. For those whose feet roll inward when walking (your other shoes will show wear by the outer side of the heel and inside near the big toe) consider a shoe with more stability and shock absorption.
Are your shoes worn in or worn out?
After time and based on the frequency of use, shoes wear out. This is no real surprise, but it’s important that once shoes no longer provide good support for your feet, it’s time to toss them.
More resources for you
While this guide provides the basics to prevent walking injuries, we have more in-depth information for fellow walkers.
Exercise is one of the best preventative measures we can take to maintain good health. Generally, exercise increases physical strength and improves longevity. Specific exercises can also address and improve many types of spine pain.
Organizing a walking group to stay fit: it’s easier than you think.
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