Top 4 Tips for Walking Long Distances Safely

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Walking is great for your health, and Houston is a great city for walking. The city is packed with trails and parks like the beautiful Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, which is only a few miles from downtown and next to Memorial Park. Hitting the trails in these open parks may inspire you to walk pretty far so you can see more. Keep in mind, though, that walking long distances does affect your body, especially your feet. You need to protect and take care of your lower limbs when you walk.

Walking in general does a lot for your body. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your balance and coordination, and condition your feet for other activities. Walking long distances provides all these benefits, but puts additional strain on your lower limbs. The repetitive pressure and impacts, though soft, do build up and can take a toll on your feet unless you prepare your body to handle them.

Here are a few tips to help you go the distance and still protect your feet:

  • Use the Right Footwear – Wear walking shoes that fit well, allow air to circulate, and aren’t too worn down. Choose fitted, moisture-wicking socks to help prevent blisters, too.

  • Stay Hydrated – Water is vital for your body functions, and it’s easy to sweat it away and dehydrate. Bring along water and something to replenish your electrolytes while you walk.

  • Avoid Over-Striding – Taking steps that are too big can strain your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Shrink your steps and take them more frequently to help your biomechanics.

  • Use Good Technique – Keep your head up, your arms swinging with a bend at the elbows, and your stomach muscles tightened. This maintains your body’s alignment so you’re moving correctly as you walk.

Walking long distances is a great way to stay active and healthy. Just make sure you take good care of your feet when you do so. If you notice foot pain when walking, or are concerned about your lower limb health when exercising, let us know at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX. Just call (281) 497-2850 or use the online request form to reach us for an appointment.

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