Walking is probably the easiest and cheapest form of exercise available to us. The 702 Walk the Talk takes place on 25 July and 50,000 entrants are expected to hit the streets of Johannesburg.
Podiatry students from the University of Johannesburg will be walking aswell as offering foot care advice and screening at their Caravan Clinic. Some podiatrists will also be joining them. Some to walk and others – like me – to talk!
There are many benefits of walking; improved circulation, increased energy, longer life, being happier and stronger bones, are just a few.
30 minutes a day and 3 times a week is recommended! Where to find the time? You may ask. Well it doesn’t have to be all at once. Just think about your day and see if you aren’t already doing some walking.
The important thing is – BRISK – not strolling to check out the neighbours new extension!
Brisk means just that and starts by moving around more quickly with everything you do. Start by taking the stairs when possible. Obviously it’s a bit silly to walk up 15 floors, but you can work up to it. I used to work in a building where I gradually worked up to 7 floors. When I was in there again recently, I could still do it, but slowly! I need to walk more.
Start slowly by putting in say 10 minutes [distance doesn’t matter] every day. Set targets and slowly increase. If you rush out and do 30 minutes or try to get kilometres in under a specific time, I look forward to treating you for shin splints, plantar fasciitis, blisters etc.
Become familiar with your normal speed and pace and maintain it. Sudden rushes and surges only increase the risk of injury.
Try to walk with someone. especially someone you can talk to. As you get better, one of the tests of improvement is being able to hold a converstaion with your walking partner.
You must wear a decent tekkie/trainer. After a few weeks if you do develop pains that won’t go away, look at whether the shoes are deforming in any way. That could suggest a biomechanical problem. Then you need to see a podiatrist for advice.
Sometimes, starting a walking programme reveals an underlying condition. Specifically there is a condition called intermittent claudication which is felt as a cramping or tightening of the muscles at the back of the lower leg. It occurs every time an afflicated person walks a specific distance at their regular pace OR when they walk up a slope or incline. The distance will vary with individual physical status, but it occurs regularly at the same distance.
Basically, what is happening is that the muscles are starved of oxygen because the arteries are hardened and narrowed – usually by cholesterol plaques. If this does happen, then beware, it could also be happening to another muscle your heart! Pay your doctor a visit for a check up.
So if you want to:
Start walking. No excuses! We’ve had a month sitting watching football.
Now fight the winter chills, improve your health and WALK.