Tips For Walking
Walking is often referred to as the "best" exercise. The human body is well designed for walking. However, as part of our daily activities we tend to do much less walking than even one or two generations ago. After all, when is the last time you walked to the grocery store or to work? Today children are bused to school even for short distances.
So we can try to exercise to make up for this lack of activity, but weight bearing and walking often can further aggravate back problems. Here are some tips to help you to increase your walking without pain:
1. Use a pedometer. A pedometer or step counter is an easy and inexpensive way to count the number of steps you take. Keep track of the steps you take while exercising and gradually increase.
2. Watch your step. Problem posture absolutely leads to pain. Examine how much your feet point out or in while walking. Is it the same on both sides? The foot should be turned out at a 15-20 degree angle. The foot should not point straight forward, and it should not turn out too far either. Try to step the same distance on both the left and right sides.
3. Look at the bottom of your shoes. Examining the wear pattern on the bottom of your shoes can also give clues to abnormalities in your gait. Is there more wear on the outside edge of one heel? This can give you and your doctor clues to help you walk in a balanced way.
4. Tie your shoes. Make sure your shoes are laced and tied tightly. Don't just slip you sneakers on. If the shoe is loose on your foot, it will not provide proper arch support for the foot.
5. Stand up straight when you walk. Don't slouch forward, but also don't force the shoulders up and back. Walking up hill causes the body to lean forward, so to minimize pain it's best to walk on a flat surface. Be relaxed, and swing the arms an even amount on both the left and right sides.
6. Stretch. Be sure to gently stretch, particularly the calf and hamstring muscles of the leg. You can stretch before, during, or after your walk, but be sure to include it.