Walking helps prevent heart disease, increases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, improves collateral circulation in the legs, and improves overall foot health. It can help burn calories to maintain a healthy weight.
Thomas Jefferson believed that physical exercise ensured not only bodily health, but mental health as well. He was such a proponent of walking he was known to walk up to 12 miles a day.
“The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Podiatrists and most other health experts agree that walking and exercising your feet on a regular basis offers excellent benefits which includes improving overall foot health by strengthening foot and leg muscles both of which help reduce your risk for injury. Furthermore, walking has long been recommended for overall fitness and health. Simply put, walking is good for your heart health, foot health and even mental health.
Some podiatrists believe that walking is the best overall foot exercise you can do and its highly recommended for older folks who often don’t exercise enough. Since walking is low impact it is not as potentially damaging to joints as jogging or running and it’s an activity that will help you get more out of life. It may also help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls for seniors which is a major cause of injury in the elderly.
When you walk, you put your foot through its full range of motion, from the time your heel hits the ground until you lift off with your toes. This helps maintain your flexibility. If you can walk up and down hills you increase cardio and will help build stronger muscles in your ankles, legs and feet giving you more stability throughout your everyday life.
Walking also helps maintain your bone density. According to Wolff’s law, new bone is laid down along lines of stress. Walking and weight bearing creates the stress needed for your bones to make new bone and stay strong. This is the reason that people who are paralyzed and don’t walk or astronauts in space that aren’t subjected to weight bearing can rapidly lose bone density. This can in turn lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis and increase the risk of developing stress fractures. Just one more reason to get out there and take a walk.
A New Step Foot & Ankle Clinics is based in Colorado Springs which has a multitude of scenic outdoor parks, trails, and other places to go walking or hiking. Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the nation, so why not take advantage and get outside to exercise, invigorate, and get some fresh air.
If you are experiencing foot or ankle discomfort while walking, this is something that you should discuss with your podiatrist. Foot pain is not normal and should be evaluated. Most of us don’t really think about or appreciate our feet since they are literally the furthest parts of us from our mind. We can help get you back on track to that active lifestyle which is so important for your health.
Remember that most physicians and health experts recommend going for a daily walk or at least doing a walk several times a week to enjoy the health benefits.
Fun Fact: the Longest Walk
George Meegan – a British adventurer is known to have the longest known walk, going from the southern tip of South America to the northernmost part of Alaska at Prudhoe Bay. This walk totaled 19,019 miles (30,608 km) in 2,425 day and is documented in his book “The Longest Walk”.
* Quotes from Thomas Jefferson above are from:
Thomas Jefferson, Jerry Holmes (2002). “Thomas Jefferson: A Chronology of His Thoughts”, p.76, Rowman & Littlefield
Bernard Mayo, Thomas Jefferson (1988). “Jefferson Himself: The Personal Narrative of a Many-Sided American”, p.18, University of Virginia Press