February is American Heart Month and we at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center want to encourage an activity that will benefit your heart as well as your feet: walking. According to the American Heart Association, brisk walking can lower your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol—three factors that greatly increase your risk of heart disease. All of these types of disorders can negatively impact your circulation. With your feet being the part of your body farthest from your heart, circulatory issues are particularly important to good podiatric health. In addition, walking helps you maintain a healthy weight—another plus for protecting your heart and your feet. So, what are you waiting for? Below are a few tips to help you get started.
- Start with good shoes. Walking is appealing because it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment and you can do it practically anywhere. The one thing you do need, however, is a good pair of shoes. It’s best to get your feet professionally measured at a shoe store that specializes in athletic footwear. If you have an existing foot disorder such as bunions or plantar fasciitis, talk to one of our podiatrists, Victoria Foley or Dr. Constance Omelas to learn about designs that will best accommodate your condition. The foot doctor may prescribe an orthotic device to improve comfort and function of your feet.
- Pace yourself. While 30 minutes a day is the goal, every step puts you on the path to better health. If you’ve been sedentary for a while it’s a good idea to start small and gradually increase the speed and length of your walks. Can’t find 30 consecutive minutes? Take two 15-minute walks. Look for ways to sneak in extra steps: walk while you talk on the phone, park farther away from the office or stores, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Make it enjoyable. Walk and talk with a friend, watch your favorite television series while on the treadmill or make walking a bonding opportunity with your teenager. You are much more likely to stick with an activity if you like it.
Within a short time, your walking program will begin to pay off. Not only will your heart and feet be healthier, you’ll sleep better and be more focused during the workday. If you have additional questions about walking and your feet, contact our Long Beach office by calling: 562-420-9800.