Walking For Fitness – Part 2

Walking for fitness is a terrific way to exercise and get your heart rate up no matter what the season. Walking is highly underrated as exercise but, in fact, is much easier on your joints than running.

It is estimated that ground reaction, the forces that can damage your body, are up to 1 ½ times your body weight with walking, twice that for running. Also, if you walk for just 30 minutes 4-5 times a week, you will feel better and likely lose weight, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Remember that running shoes are for running. Although they are light and flexible, they may not give you the best support or protection. A good option is a trail runner, as it combines the best features of runners and hiking boots yet is still light in weight. Walking or hiking on uneven ground, winter roads or trails can be treacherous, especially if there is ice under the snow.

A fall can result in an ankle, knee, or hip injury. So be careful and reduce the risk! Using a hiking stick can increase your stability. Nordic walking, which is like cross-country skiing, has become extremely popular. You carry two poles for balance, and it gives an upper body workout, too.

Grab your favourite pair of sports socks and go to a reputable shoe store, sports outfitter, or foot clinic to be properly fitted for the width and length of your feet. Take the shoes home and wear them around the house for a while to determine if they feel as good as they did at the store. If they do not, it will not be a problem to exchange them for another size.

We like hiking boots because they support the ankle and have rocker soles with deep treads that provide traction. Some are lined with Gore-Tex waterproof material. Dress in layers for the weather to stay warm and wear reflective clothes if walking at night. Wear warm socks that will wick moisture away from the foot.

Finally, find a friend to walk with. It is always more fun to walk with someone you can talk to and help motivate each other. Start easy and build your endurance, but if you experience any joint or muscle pain, consult your family Physician.

Posted in , on October 30, 2023