Walking is one of the easiest and most overlooked forms of exercise, it’s simple, free, and one of the best ways to get more active, become healthier, and lose weight without too much effort.
Since the start of summer, we have seen more and more people out walking, so we’ve created a list of tips to help protect your Calves and Achilles from extensive walking.
But first lets go over...
The benefits of walking!
Walking is easy to fit into your everyday routine, it also has some amazing benefits.
- Burns calories – Burning calories is essential for weight loss, which is what makes walking (especially brisk walking) such a great and easy way to get more active. Your calorie burn will depend on several factors, including walking speed, the distance you cover, your weight, and the terrain you’re walking on (uphill is better than flat if you want to exercise different muscle groups).
- Strengthen the heart – Walking for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week can help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 19%. This risk will reduce even more when you increase how long you walk for, and the distance you cover each day.
- Eases joint pain – Walking strengthens the muscles that support your vital joints, it also provides benefits to people who are particularly suffering from arthritis as it reduces pain through lubricating the joint through muscles.
- Boosts immune function and energy – Walking can help reduce your risk of developing a cold or flu as it helps to boost your immune system. People who walk, on average, have 43% fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections, and if you do get sick, your symptoms are often lessened. Going for a walk when you’re tired, rather than grabbing a cup of coffee, can be more effective in boosting your energy levels, as it increases oxygen flow throughout your body and increases ‘feel-good’ endorphins.
- Improves your mood – Walking is a great way to improve your mental health as it can reduce anxiety, depression, and overall negative outlook. It also helps boost your self-esteem, which is great for confidence and an overall great mood.
- Extends your life – Yes, that’s right! Walking at an average pace compared to a slower, pace, reduces the risk of early death by 20%. This is due to increased cardiovascular health as you’re keeping active.
Now, here are some ways to keep walking!
How to protect your Calves and Achilles…
Protecting your Calves and Achilles is essential to keep you walking, but they’re also some of the most common places for walking injuries to occur. Your best chances of reducing painful injuries in these areas are by:
- Warming up correctly for at least 20 minutes, you can do this by stretching.
- Following cool-down stretches correctly, this recovery period helps your muscles acclimate after exercise.
- Make sure you’re eating and drinking the correct amount, when your body is short of healthy fuel, fatigue can set in, which often causes cramps (which can lead to more drastic injuries!)
How to keep motivated with walking
Keeping motivated is something that many people struggle with, especially when other tasks take priority, such as jobs around the house or visiting friends and family. But remember you’re still walking while doing these activities. Try to aim for 10,000 steps a day to keep your body healthy.
The easiest way to make sure that you’re staying active is to turn walking into a healthy habit, and you can do this by thinking of how you can include walking in your daily routine. Here are some of our favorites:
- Walk part of your journey to work or to the shops.
- Try and use the stairs than the lift more often, whenever possible.
- Leave your car behind for short journeys.
- Walk the kids and grandkids to school, get them involved!
- Try and catch up with friends through exercise, suggest a walk rather than a trip to the coffee shop.
Tips on how to walk without causing injuries and prevent damage to your essential joints and muscles…
Aftercare is one of the most important things when it comes to keeping your vital joints and muscles healthier (and pain-free!) for longer. By following the correct care after a long walk, you can be preventing damage that could stop you from enjoying the outdoors AT ALL. Did you know that walking also decreases the risk of arthritis?
Here are just a few ways you can prevent knee and ankle injuries:
- Use ice – If you feel that nagging pain beginning, or notice slight swelling, make sure to apply ice wrapped in a towel for 20-minute intervals. This will reduce swelling and tenderness in the area, along with helping the muscles to cool down and return to their natural state.
- Take it easy – Remember that if you're just starting to exercise more, your body may not be use to being used so much. Make sure you take it easy and know your limits!
- Pick the right shoes – The problem is you’ll never know what’s happening until you see some swelling or feel the heat coming from your knee. I assure you, your knee is under much more added stress if your footwear isn’t protecting it by absorbing some of the shock from the pavement and keeping it in a steady position.
Even after all of these tips... if you find yourself having an ache or pain after walking, feel free to talk to us and have us give you some professional advise. Click here to sign up for a free phone consultation with one of our physical therapists!