As you look ahead at 2019, you may be thinking about (or have already thought about) what you might change for the upcoming year. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to be active and healthy. While there are many ways to do this, including running, participating in CrossFit, and getting a personal trainer, those options might be a bit daunting for beginners.
Fret not! There are many health benefits in something you already know how to do! It requires no additional learning, no supervision, and there’s no need to sign any waivers. Yes, you probably guessed right. The solution for you might be walking your way to good health. And bonus (from our podiatry perspective), it’s good for your foot health too!
What are the benefits of walking?
● While walking burns calories slowly, you can modify your normal walk to be more of a challenging workout. Add speed, intensity (with weights), and/or duration to get your heart pumping and your calories burning. Keep that weight off so that your feet don’t have to work so hard to keep you mobile!
● It’s a great low-impact activity to increase circulation. This is particularly helpful to those who might be suffering from arthritis joint pain or gout. Start walking at the first sign of symptoms to circulate and release the uric acid buildup.
● With each step, you can strengthen your bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Stay away, foot fractures and broken bones!
● It can improve or lighten your mood. Walking, like any other exercise, releases endorphins which can make you less prone to crankiness, depressed mood, and reduces painful symptoms.
● Walking increases your endurance. The more aerobic exercise you do, the more your body is able to accomplish.
● Increase flexibility and strength in your feet so that you are less prone to foot and ankle injuries.
What are some other tips for walking?
● Wear comfortable walking shoes. You’ll want great support for your arches and heels, as well as ample cushioning so that you reduce the impact on your joints. The more comfortable your shoes, the longer you’ll be able to walk.
● Find sneaky ways to increase your step count. Park far away from the entrance of wherever you’re going. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
● Recruit a walking buddy or two. You’re more likely to stay accountable and motivated if someone else is involved. You don’t want to leave a fellow walker hanging, do you?
● Challenge yourself to increase strength, duration, and/or speed, periodically. That way, you can keep going instead of feeling bored or burned out.
● Change up the scenery. Try to take different paths and even schedule some trail walking or hiking if you’re up to it!
Do you have concerns about your foot health? Felt some foot issues while you walk? Don’t worry, we can help! Make an appointment with our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group. Our team of dedicated foot doctors can perform a thorough assessment and prescribe treatments at our Jonesboro, AR office.