up and cool down.
improves circulation and decreases build-up of lactic
acid - the chemical by-product that causes muscles to
ache. It also helps alleviate any muscle stiffness and
prevents future muscle strain. As a result, you can
walk further, longer and injury free.
and after walking allow ample time to perform a few
simple movements, stretching the hamstrings, calves,
achilles tendons and shins.
shoes is the only real expenditure necessary for walking,
so don't cut corners on your shoe budget; treat your
you experience swelling in your feet, try on athletic
shoes in the afternoon - when your feet are most swollen
- to ensure an accurate fit. Look for a shoe that is
stable from side to side; well-cushioned; enables you
to walk smoothly and comfortably; and gives you enough
room to wiggle your toes, yet be snug in the heel. Also,
look for shoes that carry the American Podiatric Medical
Association's Seal of Approval.
attention to your feet.
and/or pain in the feet and ankles are not normal and
could indicate a serious foot ailment or circulatory
problem. Warning: Self-treatment can turn a minor problem
into a major one, making fitness more difficult.
familiar with your feet and ankles by examining them
- before and after - walking. If you notice red spots,
swelling, or other abnormalities, including numbness,
tingling or burning, consult a podiatric physician as
soon as possible.
on soft ground.
age, the natural shock absorbers (or "fat padding")
in your feet deteriorate, as does bone density, particularly
in women. These factors combined make seniors prone
to stress fractures. Softer ground is more foot-friendly,
producing less shock than harder surfaces
possible, walk on grass or dirt paths that are flat,
even and well manicured.
walking in cold weather.
weather causes numbness, limiting your ability to detect
trauma or wounds to the feet. It also makes surfaces
harder, exerting undue shock on the feet and ankles.
to the local mall or walk at an indoor track or exercise
you have diabetes, use extra precaution
you suffer from diabetes, you are prone to infection
from even minor injuries. Many people with diabetes
experience a loss of sensation in the feet, making it
difficult to detect injury. Untreated or improper self-treatment
of ailments could lead to serious, permanent damage
or possible amputation.
your feet daily for redness, blisters or injury. If
you experience any numbness, tingling or have wounds
or abnormalities of any kind, see a podiatric physician
an exercise program is a huge undertaking, and even
the most minimal injury could "sideline" you for days
- even months. Knowing your limit and exercising with
caution can ward off injuries and frustration.
appropriate and realistic goals. Pace yourself, choose
an activity you like, increase your exercise program
gradually, and pay attention to what your body, including
your feet, tells you. Drink fluids on hot days or during
very strenuous activities, to avoid heat stroke and