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Monday, April 13, 2015

Tips to Prevent Walking Injuries

Going for a walk? You'll be surprised to know that even though walking seems a mild exercise, you can injure yourself in more ways than you can imagine. Read on for some tips on walking smart, and walking safe.  
Footwear
Shoes are important. Don't wear shoes that are too tight, too loose, too old or uncomfortable. Get shoes that fit perfectly and are comfortable. Wear shoes that are made for the specific purpose of running or walking. If your shoes are too old, bin them and get yourself a new pair. After all, it's cheaper than footing your doctor's bill!

Stretches
  • Don't hit the track and start walking immediately, without first warming up a bit. Do a few stretching exercises first.
  • Bend down and slowly touch your toes without bending your knees.
  • With your hands on your hips and legs shoulder width apart, bend as far back as possible.
  • Swing your arms.
  • Stretch your legs by bending one knee, and throwing out the other leg straight behind you. Rest your hands on the bent knee. Alternate legs.
  • Vitamins
  • Eat your vitamins! If you don't eat well, exercising will not be of any benefit. Eating well doesn't mean eating a lot; it means eating nutritionally. So get your daily doze of iron, proteins and vitamins, and follow up with a multivitamin.

Posture
  • The correct posture is very important. It helps with your breathing, and walking will be more beneficial then.  
  • Keep your back straight, stick your chest out and throw your shoulders back.
  • Push yourself forward with your toes.
  • Keep your arms bent at 90 degrees, in front of your chest.
  • Look forward, not down.
  • Shin Pain
  • Walk with short strides, and take it easy the first day. If you walk too fast with long strides, you may develop a pain in your legs. This is different from the pain you experience after working out after a long time. The pain starts the minute you stop walking, or even if you slow down - a sure sign that you're overdoing it and injuring tissues. Slow down immediately, and walk with shorter strides.  


Heel Spurs / Plantar Fasciitis
  • Sometimes you may develop an injury on the heel of your foot. This is known as plantar fasciitis. You feel the injury after some time, when you stand up. The minute you apply the pressure of your body's weight on your heel, you will feel a pain.
  • Here's what you should do in case of a walking injury. The golden rule is RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
  • Rest the injured part. Get off it at once, and lie down. Better yet, sleep. Only when your body is rested, will muscle build. So sleep for a bit longer than usual and help your body repair the damage by building muscle.
  • Ice, ice baby! Apply ice to the injured part. Ice will prevent inflammation, which would otherwise destroy the surrounding tissue. Wrap up a few cubes in a damp towel to allow the chill to soak through without freezing your fingers, and apply it to the injury.
  • Compress the injury by wrapping it securely in a bandage. Crepe bandages are best, and should be available at the pharmacy. A crepe bandage, once used, needn't be discarded. Simply wash the bandage, and store it in your cupboard or first aid box. These bandages are best for all kinds of internal injuries, muscle or ligament tears etc.
  • Elevate the injured area so it is placed above your heart. For example, if you've injured your heel, lie on your bed and prop up the heel with the help of a few cushions and pillow. If the heel is propped up by about one foot, it would be above the level of your heart.
  • Take a Combiflam or any other anti-inflammatory medicine to combat swelling and inflation. Keep re-applying ice as often as possible.
  • Call your doctor if the pain refuses to go away or the swelling seems to be significant.

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