Walking is one of the safest exercises around and has a very low injury risk. However, even with walking, injuries are possible and if you fail to take certain precautions, they become much more likely. Keep reading for some top tips on preventing walking injuries.
1 – Get A Good Pair Of Walking Shoes & Replace Them Regularly
A good pair of walking shoes provides your feet and ankles with additional support and help to prevent ankle sprains, ankle twists and blisters. They also improve your grip when walking on unstable surfaces and reduce your risk of falling and hurting yourself.
To maintain the protection that high quality walking shoes provide, you need to replace them regularly. For the best results, you should get a new set of walking shoes every 300 miles or every 6 months, depending on which comes first. Based on an average walking speed of 3mph this equates to 100 hours of walking, so you can use the following criteria to determine when you should replace your walking shoes:
- If you walk 1-4 hours per week, replace your walking shoes every 6 months
- Assuming that you walk 5 hours per week, replace your walking shoes every 5 months
- If you walk 6 hours per week, replace your walking shoes every 4 months
- If you walk 7 hours per week, replace your walking shoes every 3 months.
2 – Stretch Every Day
Walking for prolonged periods can lead to tight muscles and stiff joints. As these areas of your body become less flexible, they’re more susceptible to injury. Stretching for 5-10 minutes each day can help loosen up these areas of your body, boost their range of motion and help keep walking injuries at bay.
To get the most out of stretching, do some stretches in the morning and some more stretches in the evening. Also, make sure you include stretches that target your entire body, as your legs aren’t the only area that tighten up after walking.
3 – Do Some Strength Training
Strength training is a fantastic way to strengthen your muscles and make them less susceptible to walking injures. It also makes your muscles more powerful which has a positive effect on your walking performance.
For the best results, focus mainly on exercises that strengthen your legs, as these are the main muscles that get used when you walk. However, it’s still good practice to include a few other strength training exercises that target the rest of your body, as this will help improve your balance and posture while you’re out walking.
4 – Let Your Body Rest
One final way to lower your risk of walking injuries is to allow your body to rest when it needs to. Since walking is a gentle, low impact exercise, many people don’t think they need to take time off from walking. However, even light exercise can take its toll on your body. So make sure you take at least 1 full day off from walking each week and use this time to relax and let your body recuperate.
By following the suggestions above, you can avoid walking injuries and get the maximum benefit from this exercise. So if you’re not currently implementing these tips, start today and ensure that your walks are injury free.