How can I avoid injuries while walking for fitness?

Ways to avoid injury while walking for fitness

1. Be aware of your environment.  I know, it seems obvious, but many folks tune into their favorite music and forget about the outside world when they are exercising.  Stay aware of your suroundings.  If you are on roads or trails, keep an eye out for vehicles, uneven surfaces and any obstacles.  If you are walking at night, wear reflective clothing so you can easily be seen.

2.  Proper footwear.  While it's fine to walk/run on the beach barefoot, you probably don't want to do this in city streets.  Likewise, you wouldn't want to walk for miles in high heels either.  Keep track of the mileage on your exercise shoes and replace them often.  In my house we switch an athletic shoe to be an everyday shoe once its worn for a bit, and we don't use our exercise shoes for everyday errands.  It gives the shoes more life.

3. Walk with a buddy. 

Injuries with walking are fairly easy to avoid as long as you focus on proper flexibility, i.e. stretch before and after, and to make sure your body stays properly hydrated. In addition, have a pair of walking shoes that are comfortable and will give you the support that your body needs. Lastly, read your body. If you body is telling you to slow down or to rest then slow down or rest.

Shoes are a good place to start. Would spare no expense in identifying the right shoes for you. The wrong shoes puts you behind the 8 ball to start.

Understanding your gait mechanics and proper stretching program will be helpful in avoiding injuries as you go. 

If you are over 40 and have never exercised previously, check with your doctor before beginning a walking regimen. Be sure you have the proper walking shoes with arch support and lateral stability, and replace your shoes once they show wear in the heel. Don’t do too much too soon: The key to good fitness while walking is to increase your intensity and duration in a gradual, progressive manner, so don’t walk at too fast a pace early in your program. If you must stop for a few weeks, don’t expect to resume at the speed at which you stopped. Always remember to warm up and stretch and the start of your walk, and cool down and stretch at the end. Sore muscles are common when you first start a walking program, but any soreness should subside within 24 to 48 hours.

Continue Learning about Walking Safety

Walking Safety

Walking Safety

While walking isn't as intense as other forms of exercise, it's still important to use proper form to prevent injury and take precautions to ensure your health and safety. Consider the time of day you will be walking and the locat...

ion -- do you need reflective gear to be seen, or sun protection? Do you know how to match your gear to the weather and terrain? How can you avoid dehydration? Be prepared, whether you're walking on a treadmill at the gym or out on a running path. Learn more about staying safe while walking with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.