Walking is an excellent form of exercise enjoyed by many people of all ages, both indoors on a treadmill and outdoors in just about any setting or season. Its benefits include weight loss, stress relief, cardiovascular fitness, improved circulation, and lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Walking is also a gentle enough form of exercise for beginners as well as those recovering from a health issue or injury. Walking is a great way to get or stay in shape.
Although walking is beneficial for the legs and feet, problems and injuries can arise due to inappropriate footwear, improper stretching, and an irregular gait. Common results of these can be the formation of corns, calluses, blisters, and even plantar fasciitis.
When walking, it is important to protect the feet with appropriate footwear that addresses your foot inclination and gait. Overpronation occurs when the ankles roll inward more so than usual when walking; this condition benefits from shoes that offer motion control and mid-foot support, along with less cushioning, a rigid sole, and a reinforced heel counter. Underpronation places pressure on the outside of the feet, which requires shoes that provide stability, extra shock absorption, additional cushioning at the forefoot, and reinforcement around the heel and ankle. Those classified as having a normal foot inclination can wear just about any type of shoe without issue.
The motion of walking rolls the foot from the heel to the toe; the foot then bends at the ball to complete the step. Therefore, appropriate walking sneakers must have flexibility at the ball of the foot, and the heel should rise when the forefoot presses down. The shoe’s heel should be low and slightly undercut; make sure the heel stays snugly in the shoe without slipping out. Footwear made of a lightweight, breathable material is most comfortable when walking.