Walking is a wonderful form of exercise, with many health and fitness benefits. To get the most out of walking, you will need to move at a pretty good clip, at least three times a week. As you build strength and endurance, steadily increase your distance and pace.
The comparative risk of accident or injury from walking is remarkably low. You can greatly reduce the chances of an accident simply by looking where you are going. Keep away from cars by staying safely on the trail, path or sidewalk.
About Good Walking Shoes
Some people develop problems in the feet and legs. These can usually be avoided with proper walking technique and good shoes. You can buy specially designed walking shoes or running shoes, but they are not mandatory. Good shoes have several important features:
- Sturdy and supportive, with good arch supports and strong rubber or crepe soles.
- Breathable. Uppers should be leather or mesh.
- Cushioning under the heel should raise the heel about half an inch higher than the toe.
- Ample room in the toe box.
- You should be able to insert new insoles, heel pads or other orthotics.
- Shoes should wide enough across the forefoot. Many women’s feet are wide in front but narrow at the heel. Dr. Glenn Pfeffer, a foot and ankle surgeon in San Francisco, has a clever solution for this. Use two shoelaces in each shoe. Start in the middle of the eyelets, and run one lace toward your ankle, tying it the normal way at the top of the tongue. Lace the other toward the toes, tying it at the toe-end of the eyelets. The two bows may look a little funny, but it allows you to adjust the front and back of your shoes separately.
- A firm, but flexible sole. Replace your shoes when they start to wear out, or if the soles become too pliable. The construction of the sole may change the performance with the season. If this seems to be a problem, look for shoes that are designed for warm or cold weather.
- As with all shoes, shop late in the day when your feet are swollen and at their largest. Spend some time walking around the store in the shoes. Popular brands include New Balance, Nike, Brooks, and Reebok. If they are not completely comfortable, don’t buy them … even if they are on sale!