Shortly after New Year’s we at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC find that many of our patients are thinking about starting a new fitness routine. Perhaps you overdid it bit with festive feasting over the holidays or maybe you’ve just decided it’s time to get in shape. One exercise that can be done by almost everyone is walking.
Walking offers significant health benefits. If done briskly it is an aerobic activity and can burn up to 300 calories per hour. This helps improve heart function and burns calories to help you take off pounds or maintain a healthy weight. Walking has also been shown to lower cholesterol, blood sugar and high blood pressure. Finally it’s a great stress reliever.
As a fitness activity there is much to recommend walking as well. It doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment and can be done alone or with others nearly anyplace—even when you’re away on a business trip or on vacation. If the weather is bad, you can even walk inside on a treadmill.
Even though walking is a low impact activity it can still cause significant injury to toes, feet and ankles if you fail to observe the proper precautions. Walking injuries generally are caused by the following:
Shoe choice—you should have footwear that is designed for walking and it should be in good condition. Walking and running shoes wear out after approximately 500 hours of use. Have your foot measured professionally and talk to a salesperson who is knowledgeable about fitness shoes to find out the best style for your feet.
Improper conditioning—stretching and doing appropriate warm up and cool down exercises are necessary to prevent injury.
Existing gait or foot disorders—if you have a bunion or hammertoe you will need a walking shoe that accommodates the deformity. Some patients tend to overpronate (roll inward at the ankles) and others may have flat feet or plantar fasciitis—all of these require specific modifications to footwear to ensure the safety of your feet and ankles. If you are currently experiencing a foot problem it’s important to have it checked out by one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko. The foot doctor can make recommendations to help get your walking program off to a good start. Contact our Valley Stream or Lake Success office by calling: (516) 825-4070 or (516) 327-0074.