While walking is generally a safe and low impact form of exercise, it can sometimes result in injuries. Common injuries include leg strains and aches, and even inflammations like Plantar Fasciitis. Regardless of your fitness level, it’s important to always take precautions while exercising to prevent injuries.
Read on for 5 tips to help you when walking:
- WEAR PROPER WALKING SHOES
The right pair of comfortable walking shoes can take you a long way. Ensure that your walking shoes have an appropriate fit, stable support, and stability when you walk. Ill-fitting shoes will not only make your walk extremely uncomfortable, your knees may even overcompensate for the lack of support from your shoes – increasing soreness and risk of injury. They can also cause abrasions, blisters and conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis and Bunions.
- STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER WALKS
Take 5-10 minutes to do a thorough full body stretch before commencing your walk. This helps to loosen up your joints, get your blood flowing, and increase your flexibility and range of motion – all of which also improves your overall performance. Similarly, take time to cool down after your walk. Stretching after your walk eliminates lactic acid and helps your body to gradually slow down after a workout. It also reduces risk of injury as you loosen up your muscles.
- WATCH YOUR PACE
It’s easy to lose track of your pace as you walk, but faster doesn’t always necessarily mean it’s good for you. If you’re just starting out, gradually build up your walking speed and distance. Always remember to walk at a pace you’re comfortable with to keep your walks safe and enjoyable.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Avoid pushing yourself over the limit – always listen to your body and stop when it tells you to. Any time you feel pain or discomfort, stop and take a breather. Forcing your body to continue beyond its limits can aggravate any existing injury. If the pain persists even after your walk, visit a doctor to have it checked out!
- WALK WITH PROPER POSTURE
Having a proper walking posture is essential for preventing injuries in the long run. When you have good walking posture, you should not feel any strain in your neck and back or soreness in your joints.
Proper walking posture would look like this: walk with your chin parallel to the ground, shoulders drawn back slightly, and with your eyes facing forward. It may feel awkward at first if you’re adjusting your walking posture. You’ll feel much more comfortable over time, and can even walk longer distances without fatigue!