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Walking: One Step at a Time

While some fitness enthusiasts relentlessly seek out the latest exercise trends, others—especially those who are avoiding gyms and health clubs because of COVID-19—are returning to good, old-fashioned walking to help them feel great and get into shape. Whether enjoying the wonder of nature or the company of a friend (at a safe distance), walking can be a healthy, invigorating experience. Thanks to its convenience and simplicity, walking just might be right for you, too. And except for a good pair of walking shoes, it requires virtually no equipment. But if you use Nordic Nations Walking Poles you’ll get even more benefit: 1) Improves posture and helps align your spine 2) Involves more than 90% of your body’s muscles 3) Lowers high blood pressure and sugars quickly 4) Burns 25-46% more calories than plain walking 5) Up to 26% less pressure on knees and hips 6) Provides more stability and balance while walking The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that a sedentary lifestyle has a debilitating effect on our health as we age, therefore physical activity is imperative. According to CDC, walking accomplishes all of the following and more:

  • Improves cardiovascular endurance

  • Tones muscles in the lower body

  • Burns calories

  • Reduces risk of heart disease

  • Reduces anxiety and enhances sleep

Selecting Shoes Too many people choose fashion over function when purchasing walking shoes, not realizing that ill-fitting shoes can do more than hurt their stride; they can also lead to pain throughout the body.

  • Make sure the shoes you purchase fit properly. The balls of your feet should rest exactly at the point where the toe end of the shoe bends during walking.

  • Shop for sneakers at the end of the day or after a workout when your feet are generally at their largest.

  • Wear the type of socks you usually wear during exercise. When trying on shoes, be sure to wear them for at least 10 minutes at the store.

Better yet, you may want to get customized orthotics or shoes based on a scan of your feet if you’re local. The scan is complimentary. Call for an appointment 415-847-3755. Once you have purchased a pair of shoes, don’t walk them into the ground. While estimates vary as to when the best time to replace old shoes is, podiatric experts suggest between 350 and 500 miles is a good benchmark. Getting Started CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity), and walking is a great option. The following tips can help you get started on your walking regimen

  • Move your arms freely, in coordination with the opposite leg.

  • Don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk. This will challenge the normal forward curve of your neck, which, in turn, will cause you to carry your weight improperly.

  • Don’t carry weights or dumbbells while walking. They’re better used as a separate part of your exercise regimen.

  • Expect a little soreness in the thighs and calves for the first week or two. If you experience more than soreness, consult your doctor of chiropractic.

  • Walk briskly, with “purpose.” Simply sauntering, while relaxing, is not an effective form of cardiovascular exercise.

  • Stay hydrated.

Pain and Injury While you may experience pain or injury in a particular area (such as a knee or a hip), the root of the problem may lie elsewhere. A problem in the foot or ankle can create an imbalance in every step, leading to discomfort or injury that moves to the knees, hips, low back or other regions of the body. If you suffer from pain beyond typical muscle soreness, your doctor of chiropractic can diagnose and treat your pain or injury and get you back on track. Your chiropractor can also customize a wellness program that is right for you and has the expertise to help keep you feeling and functioning your best.

FUN FACT: While walking at least part of the time, if you exhale longer than you inhale, you will also have the benefit of relaxing your muscles, clearing any emotional upset, and calming your nervous system.

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