Walking appears to have become very popular recently and for good reason too. Walking is one of the easiest and often most overlooked forms of exercise with endless health benefits to help you get more active and improve your wellbeing. Exercise is a natural antidepressant and can help decrease effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the colder months. Walking in the sunshine any time of year increases levels of serotonin, a hormone that influences mood as well as boosting your immune system to help protect against infections and disease, and improve your quality of sleep.
See our great tips below:
Our healthy tips below are great for everyone but are essential reading for anyone looking to get more active. Using these tips will not only prevent injuries and niggles creeping in but also to get the most out of your walking whilst you are getting outside and enjoying the fresh air.
Footwear & Clothing – Ensure that you wear supportive and comfortable shoes designed for walking distances and appropriate layered clothing, depending on the climate. Apply sunscreen and wear a hat, if necessary and wear or layers of clothing in the colder weather.
Posture – Standing upright, with your head up, chin slightly tucked, and shoulders relaxed, down and back as you walk. This is especially important if you have been sitting for much of the day.
Stretching and Strengthening – 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 which can be done by stretching. This also applies to cooling down – this recovery period helps your muscles acclimate after exercise.
Stay hydrated and fuelled – Walking can be hard work particularly in the warmer weather. As you start to get dehydrated or fatigued you will start to compromise your posture and how you walk, putting added demand on your muscles and joints that may easily lead to injury. Make sure that you are staying hydrated with plenty of water and maintaining a healthy diet.
Use ice – If you feel that nagging pain beginning, or notice slight swelling, make sure to apply ice wrapped in a tea 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.
If you’re in pain or would like to talk to us about getting some help or some specialist advice about walking, our Physiotherapists at Home Physio Group can create a personalised program for you.
For more information please contact us on 0330 335 1016 or alternatively please fill out our contact sheet and we will get back to you.