Why Equipment Is Essential to Your Walking Workout

By Erin Palinski-Wade

When it comes to walking off the weight, all you really need is to wear supportive footwear and put one foot in front of the other. However, depending on your health, your age, when you walk, where you walk, and how often you walk, certain products and equipment can help to reduce your risk of injury and therefore prevent you from becoming sidelined from your walking workout.

For instance, with the proper footwear, foot care, posture, and stretching, many of the most common walking injuries can be prevented. If you can only afford one walking product, choose a quality walking shoe. A good shoe can help to prevent pain, discomfort, and injury in the foot, knee, hip and even back.

Finding the right fit for footwear

Fit is always the number one factor when it comes to selecting your footwear, and it should come before all other considerations, including technology, reviews, or fashion. A proper fit keeps you from developing ingrown toenails, blisters, and irritation. When it comes to defining a properly fitting shoe, footwear should be snug everywhere, tight nowhere, and provide enough room for you to wiggle your toes.

Maintaining correct posture

Posture is essential when it comes to preventing injuries. Proper posture not only reduces slip‐and‐fall injuries, but it also strengthens your core to prevent and manage injuries. When walking, remember to keep your shoulders down and back, while gently pulling your abdominal muscles in.

If you forget posture often, you can wear full body braces or straps that keep your shoulders back or try a lower back support elastic wrap. Walgreens and specialty stores like The Brace Shop or CWI Medical have a wide selection.

Preparing your muscles

To make sure you can stay on track with your walking workout and avoid stiff muscles and discomfort, it’s important to care for your muscles before and after each workout through stretching, massage, and hot or cold therapy as needed.

When stretching, having an exercise mat that is easy to carry and store can be quite helpful. In addition, finds such as TriggerPoint and Moji that have great high‐tech, high‐fashion products for feet and foam rollers and massage balls can be quite helpful. If you have an actual injury, and your physician has cleared you for walking, you can find appropriate braces, wraps, and ointments at retailers such as Walgreens. You can also find these options and more at medical stores like The Brace Shop.

However, any time you have discomfort, pain, or an injury, make sure to see your healthcare provider first and always follow his recommendation for treatment. Don’t self‐diagnose or self‐treat an injury.