UK College of Podiatry - Keep on Walking
Look after your feet they will walk you to great health If you are looking to get fitter and healthier, why not undertake an activity that comes naturally to us all. Walking is good for you, free and can fit around even the busiest lifestyle. We have collated a number of resources to inspire and guide you to greater fitness through walking.
We show you why walking is so good for you, give examples of fitness programs, the equipment required, where & who to walk with and how walking impacts on your feet.
Your feet are for life so it is vital that you care for your feet and take preventative measures to ensure they remain healthy. Here you will find tips on foot problems associated with walking and why, when and how you should seek the advice of a podiatrist.
Benefits of walking
Walking is good for you and if done at a brisk pace for regular exercise it helps condition your body and improve overall cardiovascular health in the same way running and jogging do. But compared with running, walking carries a significantly lower risk of injury, it reduces stress and gives you time to clear your head and aids better sleep. It's the nearest thing to 'perfect' exercise in terms of a safe, all-round workout and it doesn't cost a penny or need any special equipment.
- If you walk an extra 20 minutes a day, you'll burn off more than 3kg of body fat a year
- A single step uses up to 200 muscles. So you're not only doing a little cardio, but toning your muscles too and walking is easy on your joints
- Walking can halve your risk of coronary heart disease and help prevent some cancers and cuts cholesterol
- Walking may slow cognitive decline in adults, especially those with existing conditions such as Alzheimer's
- Walking can help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes
- Walking requires little equipment can be done almost anywhere and is entirely free.
- Can help improve circulation in your feet by stimulating the development of tiny new blood vessels.
What walking does to your feet?
In an average lifetime, we walk about 100,000 miles, which is tough on our feet. Yet our bodies were designed for moving not standing still, so walking is good exercise. Walking helps the muscles and ligaments in our feet to work more efficiently, and helps keep them supple and flexible.
So even if you have to sit around a lot in your job or at home, try to get up and walk briskly for at least 30 minutes every day. Feet are adaptable and can withstand a lot of pressure before they rebel. If you walk a lot, it’s important to wear the right footwear (link to footwear section) which won’t damage your feet.
Foot Problems associated with walking
How a podiatrist can help you keep walking
Consult your podiatrist if you start to develop pain when walking, or consider a visit before embarking on your new walking programme.
The main role of the podiatrist is to help you maintain normal mobility and function in the feet and lower limbs. Podiatrists provide the basis for the ideal walking style and posture and identify any conditions that may require further referral and management. They also relieve pain, treat infections and skin, nail, soft tissue and connective tissue problems. This is achieved in conjunction with other members of a multi-disciplinary health care team. Podiatrists can also give expert advice on footwear, so it is a good idea to take your walking shoes with you when you go to see your podiatrist.
How to contact a podiatrist
To find a local podiatrist, you can either approach your GP practice for an NHS referral, (in some areas you can self-refer) or if you decide to see a private practice podiatrist visit our Find a Podiatrist section.