“Walking is a mans best friend”

Hippocrates 460 – 370 BC

Walking is the original exercise. Before we could run, we walked. Before we invented the wheel and cycled we walked. Before we kicked or threw a ball we walked. Aside from the opposing thumb, humans are what they are because they can walk.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “walk”: as to move at a regular pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once.

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May is National Walking Month and the charity Living Streets is encouraging everyone to #TRY20. Their aim is for us all to pledge to walk 20 minutes a day during the month of May.

 

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and improve health. Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. Here’s a few titbits of research to back us up:

 

  • 15 minutes of walking after eating improves blood glucose control in older people with poor glucose tolerance.

 

  • Results from The National Walkers Health Study in 2013 found that mortality decreases in association with walking intensity, in other words those who naturally walk quicker live longer.

 

  • In a US study of English school children they found that those who walk and cycle to school are at reduced risk for developing chronic diseases in adulthood.

 

  • A 2014 study of Active Commuting and BMI in the UK by the British Medical Journal found that men and women who commuted to work actively had significantly lower body mass index and percentage body fat than those who used private transport.

 

  • A 16 week study of 202 men and women found that 45% of patients diagnosed with major depression no longer met the criteria for depression after exercising three times a week in a supervised group setting. This is only very slightly less than the 47% taking anti-depressants.

 

  • A meta-analysis of research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2007 looked at 18 robust studies involving nearly half a million people from seven countries, on three continents who were free from cardio-vascular disease when the studies began. They concluded that walking cut the risk of cardio-vascular events by 32% and cut the risk of dying during the study by 32%. This was equal with men and women. The benefit of walking was evident at just 5.5 miles per week at a steady pace of 2 miles an hour. Again, those who walked longer and faster enjoyed the greatest protection.

 

The average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day. A person aged 45 and weighing 70kg (about 11 stone) can burn around 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps briskly (3-5mph).

This Government initiative may seem daunting but can easily be done with a bit of planning. Rather than just going out for 20 minutes or worrying about your 10000 steps, try to be more active within your daily routine.

 

  • if possible, walk to work or walk the kids to school.
  • if you work in an office, aim to get up and walk every 20 minutes.
  • most of you are not paid to have lunch, so get out for your 20 minute walk then.
  • aim to walk 30-60 minutes  both Saturday and Sunday.
  • every time you get on a vehicle, be it a bus, car, train or taxi, think of ways to walk more within your journey. 

 

Whenever you try to implement change in your life there is room for injury. The body doesn’t like quick changes of habit, it prefers the low and slow method , where you start with a low intensity and a slow pace. This gives the body time to adapt, which it is the master of. Needless to say some of you will get it wrong and that is why we are there. Osteopaths are to the body like mechanics are to the car. We know your component parts, we know how your put together and we know how to mend you when you break down. Below are a couple of examples of what can go wrong when you walk.

 

1. ACHILLES TENDONITIS

The trend is to call this Achilles’ Tendinopathy which encompasses a broader range of Achilles injuries than simply inflammation.

The Achilles’ tendon anchors the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to the heel bone.

Tendons are less elastic than muscles, so when the muscle is overloaded or not sufficiently warmed up the tendon is forced to help and can’t cope. This results in injury to the tendon from micro trauma.

There are many reasons why people injure their Achilles’ tendon. Here are some of the most common: 

 

  • a sudden increase in training, such as increasing speed, walking longer distances or changing terrain such as walking cross country.
  • a change of footwear.
  • a tight posterior chain, this is something we see a lot, where people have a chronic low back problem with tight hamstrings and calf muscles.
  • over pronation, this is where the foot rolls inward as it makes contact with the ground.
  • high heels, it’s well known that women who wear higher heeled shoes tend to have shorter tighter calf muscles.

 

2. PLANTER FASCIITIS

This is very common amongst runners and walkers, often known as Joggers Heel.

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs under the foot from the heel to the toes.

The pain usually starts gradually as a discomfort under the heel, worse first thing in the morning or after prolonged rest.

Risk factors include:

  • tight calf muscles
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • overpronation
  • overuse from sudden increases in training

If you any problems as you embark on your walk, give us a call at froc

Call us on 01342 823722 or email admin@froc.co.uk