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Planning to get outside for a walk

heel discomfort

By Alyssa Burke, LPTA

Walking is a great step to improve bone health and fitness. Springtime is a good time to get outside and be active. What better way to kick the winter blues and enjoy the beautiful spring weather than to go for a walk! Walking is one of the easiest ways to get a workout and it offers many physical and mental health benefits. It’s why the American Heart Association designates April as National Walking Day. So, lace up your shoes and go for a walk.

Walking is a low impact exercise, which means that it is gentle on your joints. Unlike running, the amount of stress placed on your joints is much less when walking making it a great exercise alternative for those with knee, hip or back problems. Walking can also help prevent the onset of osteoporosis since it is a weight bearing exercise that helps regenerate bone cells, which in turn creates stronger bones. Not only will walking strengthen your bones but it will also strengthen your muscles. A good walking routine will help strengthen your legs, core, and upper body. Not only can you gain muscle, but you can also lose weight with walking. A regular walking routine can kick-start your metabolism helping your body to burn more calories.

While you may notice physical results from walking, there are also health benefits you cannot see. Walking can decrease your risk of many cancers and diseases. A walking routine can help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also reduce blood pressure levels as well as blood sugar levels, helping to lower your blood pressure and risk of diabetes. As an added perk, walking also plays a role in your mental health. Making time in your day to walk will help you de-stress, fight fatigue, and boost your mood. Walking can help calm your nervous system lowering your feelings of anger or depression that you may be experiencing.

So how do you get started? Find a good pair of shoes that you feel comfortable wearing. It’s important to figure out what kind of surface you’ll be walking on whether it’s a treadmill, pavement or a trail. This will help you determine which tread is appropriate for your shoes. Once you’ve determined where you’ll be walking, it’s important to look at the flexibility and cushioning of the shoe. With walking, you’ll want a shoe that allows for movement at the ball of the foot so that it allows your foot to push off of the ground while you walk.  You’ll also want cushioning in the heel of the shoe as well as in the ball of the foot. Finally, you want to find a shoe that is comfortable and supportive to your foot so that you are not uncomfortable while you are moving. So get outside or find a treadmill and start walking. You’ll soon be able to see and feel the benefits that walking has to offer.

If you have questions about how to start a walking program, call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300. CLICK HERE for more information on how to prevent foot and ankle problems when you walk.

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